Kalamazoo College Offends Me: The Cubs/Sox Debate

kalamazoo.college.jpg“All hail to Kazoo all hail,
to our school we will e’er be true.
Let us make the air resound,
let our hearts with joy abound
as we give a cheer to old Kazoo…”

Yeah, sure.  Sounds good. 

Believe me.  I love my alma mater, Kalamazoo College.  Kzoo gave me real world experience.  Kzoo gave me friendships that have survived over a decade now.  Kzoo taught me Chinese, which is the sole skill that ensures I will eat from day to day.  Verily, because of Kalamazoo College, I can gorge and not worry about where my next meal or Old Style is coming from.

Apparently those attributes come at a loss.  Apparently my donations aren’t enough, my participation in “the world is my campus” campaign has not reached enough galaxies.  Apparently the good folks at Kalamzoo College don’t read Red State Blue State.

But they should.

They should know.  How could they not know?  The whole baseball world knows, and since the whole baseball world is perfectly representative of US American life as a whole, one could reasonably assume that Kalamazoo College would have their s**t together.

Obviously not, because they sent me a request to support the Cubbies:

Kalamazoo College.jpgIs it not a careless act to assume that a Kalamazoo College graduate living in Chicago is a Cubs fan?  Is it not presumptuous to automatically characterize a Kalamazoo College graduate living in Chicago as a Cubs fan?  Is it not counterintuitive to the Kalamazoo College creed of “diversity, diversity, diversity” to label me — a Kalamazoo College graduate — as a Cubs fan, simply because I live in Chicago?

Apparently Kzoo — my dear alma mater — has been victimized by the very seedy stereotyping it strives to eschew. 

Look, I get it.  Kalamazoo College ain’t cheap and its typically affluent graduates who move to Chicago tend to move into neighborhoods known for their gentrification and ideal aspirations of the ‘good life’.  Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Wrigleyville… sure, these are cool, fun neighborhoods where one may oft find me actually enjoying the views; they’re also cool, fun neighborhoods where I don’t live, for I prefer the working-class US American-esque mix of Irish, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and African-American neighborhoods on the Southside. 

drunkcubsfan.jpgAgain, I get it.  It’s cool to be a Cubs fan.  Though I’m not completely sure how this phenomenon developed over a hundred years of tumultuous baseball, I am quite certain that it at least stems from the ballpark’s proximity to meat-market bars full of trust fund college kids; and said trust fund college kids’ ongoing tradition of getting completely obliterated before, during and after the game has somehow led Chicago newbies to embrace the imagery of being a perennial loser.  It’s a party!  Who cares who wins or loses, right?  Getcho drink on!

Do I sound jaded?  You bet your ^ss I am.  Perhaps this is because I have been assaulted by these raucous rowdies on more than one occasion: once in a Wrigley Field restroom, surrounded by meat-heads who did not find my 2006 World Series title patched Yadier Molina jersey acceptable attire for a Cubs/Cardinals game; and once for wearing a pink shirt on my way to a gig near the ballpark (I look good in a pink shirt).  Of course, I am not counting the time I had to walk down Sheffield wearing a blazer (after a game) to meet a friend on the way to the opera because in that instance, the drunken idiot merely threw his beer on me and shouted “don’t you f***ing come around here (*burp*)  dressed… like… that (*puke*)” and I suffered no bruises nor physical injuries — just a brewing dislike for allowing open containers and bumbling idiots on the street.

So yeah.  I’m jaded.  No way around it.  And until I see Wrigleyville clean up its act, I will continue to be.  Believe me dear readers, I know that not all Cub fans are like my “biggest fan” and not all Cub fans are like the socially sterile individuals mentioned above.  Believe me, I know a lot of wonderful, intelligent, successful people who just happen to love the Cubs.  That’s great and they’re wonderful people and I cherish them for that.

But I am sincerely bothered by Chicago outsiders assuming that baseball in Chicago only exists in Wrigleyville, that anything and everything south of Madison Street is equivalent to that found in a war-torn third world country, that if you’re educated and have a decent job there’s no way you can live on the Southside nor support the White Sox. 

Well, I’m sick of it.  The Southside is just as much a part of this city’s baseball culture and metropolitan grandeur as the good folks up north, and if you want to hate me, go ahead, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

obamasox2.jpgAnd I’m not alone.  I just happen to be backed up by a modern day messiah who assures me that, Yes, I can.

Let us make the air resound,
let our hearts with joy abound

How’s that for diversity, Kalamazoo?





  1. mlb33333

    When I first got into baseball this was the impression I got of the two Chicago teams-
    Cubs- popular, traditional, great fans, great place to watch baseball.
    White Sox- not many fans, bad part of town, one to be avoided.
    Obviously I know better now, but based on what has happened with soccer clubs with similar histories to the Cubs, if they ever do win the World Series then some of their fans will be even more unBEARable than they are now (did you see what I did there?).


  2. neal07

    People love teams that win, and people love teams for long losing streaks. The Red Sox and Cubs come to mind. But why did the White Sox not get to be a team that it was “cool” to be a fan of? Because they were hard-working and honest kind of teams, not a team with two big stars (Manny and Papi) with one inspiring story (Schilling’s bloody sock) that won the World Series, they really kind of won as a team. My Yankees side, which is the larger side (of course), loves all the talent on the teams, but my other side loves the White Sox for the whole no-stars, completely team effort concept.

  3. redstatebluestate

    Russell — that was a splendid use of the English language. How do you do it? You speak British, Canadian AND English? Wow. Such skill! How much influence was your “staff” on that pun?
    NMYF — I agree. There are some very talented “no-namers” on the Southside: Dye, Quentin, AJ, Alexei Ramirez… it’s a shame they get no press outside of my neighborhood. And they’ve been in first place virtually all season!

  4. PAUL

    I’m not exactly sure what makes it “cool” to be a Cubs fan. To me they get secondary gratification from losing so consistently—that way their expectations are never dashed (or are fulfilled BY the losing, if you want to look at it that way). That you were actually attacked by these imbeciles shines some light on the strangely civil, though intense, back-and-forth in New York. During any New York championship season, there’s never been any out of control behaviors like starting fires or flipping cars, just people celebrating. Even our own most misanthropic idiots rarely resort to violence even when they’re in the same ballpark.
    I wouldn’t be too offended about the Kalamazoo entreaty for a donation. It was probably written by a similar baseball neophyte a la Ted Kennedy who used the 1998 home run chase to reference those great home run hitters Mike McGwire and Sammy Soosa in a speech. Just don’t give ’em any more money.

  5. redstatebluestate

    Paul — It’s comforting to know that New York fans aren’t as wild as those in the Second City. I guess that’s why we’re the Second City. Always and forever… just a little bit out of line. The Kennedy speech… priceless. Ha!

  6. prescora

    America loves the underdog and sees the Cubs as the ultimate underdog, having not won the big one for a full century. And people love them even more when they are winning. Everyone wants to jump on that bandwagon before they finally do win a World Series so that they can say that they too were persecuted and wronged with so many years of losing, but now they been redeemed and their fateful team has made it. That they have cheered for America’s underdog and were a part of history when that historic curse was broken.

    But here’s one problem: the Cubs aren’t underdogs.

    They haven’t been for some time now. Losing doesn’t make you an underdog and I think America forgets that sometimes. The Tampa Bay Rays are underdogs. The Colorado Rockies are underdogs. The Florida Marlins are under dogs are they have won as many World Series in their 15 years of existence (1997, 2003) as the Cubs have in their 132 years of existence (1907, 1908).

    No an underdog is the team that doesn’t have the money to buy the top players the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, etc. can afford. I’m sorry, but when you spend $300 million in an offseason, you are not an underdog. I don’t care if you still lose and don’t make the WS, it just makes you losers, not underdogs.


  7. redstatebluestate

    You’re right, Bob. Definitely not underdogs. Absolutely no way they qualify as underdogs. Well said.

  8. Nava_0412@hotmail.com

    Ofcourse when your the team who THREW a WS away you’re always going to be hated by some fans.

    And throwing a WS away isn’t the “complete team no-names concept”

  9. seth_motel@brown.edu

    White Sox baseball not “as much a part” of the culture. It’s a part, sure, but a much smaller one than Cubs baseball. You’re just incorrect.

  10. russ99@sbcglobal.net

    Don’t feel bad. As a Sox fan living in enemy territory (btw – cubs fans, there’s lots of us here up on the north side!) I get exposed to the special brand of kool-aid the Cubs are selling almost on a daily basis. Worst of all, my bank is “Ryno’s Bank”, and I absolutely can’t stand Sandberg.

    A lot of this insanity is due to the so-called “anniversary” year, so when the Cubs blow it as they always do, the hype will cool and the losers won’t be so lovable. They’ll just be a loser with no special centennial bandwagon to jump onto.

    Also, it’s always the Cubs fan’s last defense to mention 1919 as a dig when they’re wrong. We paid for that. Ask my grandfather who sat through 30+ years of losing baseball and didn’t blame it on a goat, a fan or some other convenient excuse… 😉

  11. redstatebluestate

    Good comments, All. Yes, the 1919 dig is quite old, tired. I’d consider winning a championship just 3 years ago enough (on its own) to make Sox baseball a HUGE part of Chicago baseball culture. Winning — winning it ALL — is absolutely HUGE. Do you feel me, Seth? Pretty huge. Big deal. Recognize… that’s all I ask.

  12. mikeh6289@sbcglobal.net

    This could all be summed up it one simple sentence. the cubs are more popular than the sox. thats it, the sox could win 100 world series and still get no coverage because everybody knows the cubs and there fans.
    me I am a CUBS FAN

  13. okcray@aol.com

    What cracks me up about everyone who throws the Black Sox scandal into White Sox fans’ faces is that many of them are also the ones who tell Sox fans to “quit living in the past” regarding the 2005 World Series championship. Sorry folks, you can’t have it both ways.

    Besides, if anyone is going to have issues about “throwing a World Series away”, why not be upset with Major League Baseball for throwing the 1994 World Series away because of that nasty players’ strike?

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