Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley offers a little sympathy for cake-less Cub fans.
Among the things my father ingrained in me was my fondness for baseball, specifically that played by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Considering that as a youngster on most summer nights I was exposed to the play-by-play accounts of Harry Cary, it’s no wonder I grew up a Cardinals fan.
While the Cardinals are my favorite team, I won’t for a minute pretend to be their most avid fan. You won’t find me taking the day off to go watch their home opener, dying my hair red, having a redbird tattooed anywhere on my person, wearing Cardinals apparel more than once a week, or listening from start to finish to a 12-2 loss. Consequently, to many fans who bleed Cardinals red, I would be considered little more than a fair-weather follower.
Although not the most ardent of Cardinals fans, neither am I the biggest tormentor of Cubs fans. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t periodically verbally sharpen my claws when I encounter a Cubs fan who is cockier than he or she has any business being, considering their team’s lack of World Series success since 1908. The year when the Model T was seen for the first time, a passenger flight aboard an airplane was offered for the first time, Mother’s Day was observed for the first time and a Gideon Bible was placed in a hotel room for the first time, marks the Cubbies’ last World Series title. That’s over 100 years in case anyone, aside from me, is keeping track.
I can’t say I’ve never rooted for the Cubs, although the last time was probably Oct. 2, 1974, the last day of the regular season. Had the Cubs won that day over Pittsburgh, it would have opened the door for the Cardinals to finish in a first-place tie in their division. The Cubs had a 4-3 lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Rick Reuschel struck out Bob Robertson with runners on first and third, which should have ended the game... except the ball got past Swisher, for a passed ball. The tying run scored and the Pirates won in extra innings - clinching the division title.
That day gave me a brief, albeit bitter taste of what it must be to be a Cubs fan. Consequently, I view Cubs fans with more pity than disdain.
An incident which to some degree symbolizes the fate of long-suffering Cubs fans occurred last month when the team was celebrating the 100th anniversary of its beloved Wrigley Field.
For the occasion the Cubs commissioned a 5-foot by 5-foot, 400-pound cake replica of the park from a bakery in Hoboken, N.J. After being showcased at Wrigley during the anniversary celebration it was then taken to the Field Museum for a charity event. Later that day a photographer captured photos of the massive vanilla-and-chocolate cake being hauled out of the museum and either being placed in or beside a dumpster.
Cubs spokesperson Julian Green issued the following statement: "The Chicago Cubs are disappointed in how our Wrigley Field display cake was disposed of by the Field Museum following our successful charity event last night. The team made a decision not to serve the edible portion after the cake was on display outside Wrigley Field for most of the day. Though the cake was mostly made up of non-edible material, it certainly does not excuse how a celebratory display cake … was handled."
While I am no great student of history, the cake incident brought to mind the famous statement – “Let them eat cake” – that is attributed to French royalty after hearing that peasants were complaining there wasn't enough bread to go around.
For the thousands of “peasants” who continue to “hunger” for Cubs success season after season, having a piece of Wrigley Field cake wasn’t even an option.