ESPN Radio: Cubs Mania
The following article was posted ESPN Radio on October 15, 2015. A link to the article can be found here.
Rick Klein: It’s good to see the country talking about baseball, including politicians talking about baseball. We’re going to check in with Congressman Mike Quigley who is from Chicago and is a die-hard Cubs fan about what might be instore for his city if the Cubs go all the way.
RK: We are pleased to be joined on the program by Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, more importantly for our purposes, a die-hard Cubs fan. Mr. Quigley, welcome.
Mike Quigley: Welcome, thanks for having me on.
RK: So first, this is a national security question; Is Chicago prepared, is the nation prepared for what would happen if the Cubs win the World Series?
MQ: It’s hard to tell I think the most difficult part is the psychological impact that it will have on Cubs fans. I can’t say I speak for all Cubs fans, but when we’re in a home playoff game, and we’re winning, I think the dirty secret is, we’re waiting for something bad to happen.
RK: So does productivity in Chicago just rock with what everyone’s watching, just totally nervous the whole time? Is that what happens?
MQ: It’s extraordinary. It is very quiet in most of the streets. You know, you can get around. We go another series, this place will be a ghost town, except for indoors and of course at Clark and Addison.
RK: Exactly, talk to me about what it means to Cubs fan and what it means to Chicago to have the Cubs. How much of that identity is tied to being loveable losers? I mean, if the Cubs won, would being a Cubs fan be as cool as it is right now?
MQ: I don’t know I mean it’s so involved and people understand it. When I talk to Nancy Pelosi about an issue, she’ll say, “Well, you’re the one who should be optimistic, you’re the Cubs fan.”
RK: Easy for her to say, the Giants have won 3 World Series in the last 5 years.
MQ: Right, every other year. So yeah, I hear this constantly. People immediately recognize it that way, and it starts early. Look, I grew up listening to Steve Goodman. 1969, I happen to turn on the Cubs game, I’m a young kid and Willie Smith wins a game on opening day, with a home run in the bottom of the 10th. Jack Brickhouse goes nuts. I’m thinking, this is the way it is for all the time, this is how it is to be a Cubs fan. It’s fun, they always win. Then, you know, things happen. Just to show you how extreme things can be, and I’m supposed to be a rational person. Just remember the whole black cat thing, at chase stadium. How’s a cat get into a stadium? The other day, I’m thinking –this is how Cubs fans think. There’s a black cat, I’m walking the dog after Tuesday night. A black cat tries to cross our path. My dog chases it away. Immediately I start thinking, “End of the jinx!” since this is normal. But I was 20ft away from the Bartman incident. I blame our shortstop, not him. When you’re born and raised in this, and you’re a season ticket holder, I used to go out and sit in the bleachers, get there when the doors opened with my mitt and catch batting practice home runs against the Big Red Machine or the Pittsburg Pirates or these guys. You know, if you love baseball, and you live and with die this. As George Will said, we’re 90% scar tissue. So to answer your question, I just don’t know. As I’ve walked through this scenario a few times. But at some point you can’t figure it out or you don’t let yourself think about it because you feel like you’re going to jinx it. This is what, 2003 the last time we were here? And we were counting the outs down to each other. You know, 6 outs to go, 5 outs to go and then, you know, whoops.
RK: Whoops indeed. Andy, do you want to jump in?
Andy Katz: Yes, Congressman, I’m curious. The White Sox have won a World Series recently, and yet that doesn’t seem to have the same unifying force that the Cubs do. Why is that?
MQ: It’s hard to explain. I think the Sox popularity wasn’t as strong as strong as the Cubs for a variety of reasons. First they went on paid TV for no particularly good reason. The Cubs were on WGN nationally for the longest time so more people were exposed to them. I know Sox fans have a chip on their shoulder for that, but it just doesn’t faze me. They won a World Series, so get over it. The fact is most people are either Sox fans or Cubs fans. For those who say, “oh o like them both” a few and far in between, and I’m not for sure real baseball fans. I didn’t mind that. I was happy for the Sox fans who had been through all the pain since the World series with the Dodgers in the late 50’s. Those who actually knew who Minnie Minosa and Luke Appling, who those guys were, real baseball fans. The fact is most Sox fans prefer to see the Cubs lose because of this chip on their shoulder and I don’t understand that either. The only thing that unifies us is the Blackhawks.
RK: Congressman, a lot was made over the fact that President Obama, a White Sox fan, never followed the Cubs on Twitter for a long, long time, he finally is now is following the Cubs on Twitter. Do you accept him turning over and becoming a Cubs fan right now? Is that okay?
RK: Do you want Sox fans to be on your side?
MQ: Look, I don’t mind people being neutral or whatever. You are what you are, and you don’t flip. The worst thing for anybody to do is to show up and they’re half into it. Dave that seat, save that enthusiasm for somebody who has been through ‘69, ‘70, ‘84, ‘89, ‘98, 2003 and all the June swoons and all the pain and comes with. I appreciate the president showing support. I don’t think he means he’s really a Cubs fan. I think he just wants to see all his Cubs fan friends, like David Axelrod, be happy for a change.
RK: Oh sure, yeah. So finally, Congressman, Wrigley Field, I believe, is in your district, correct?
RK: What has Wrigley meant to the city of Chicago, to your part of the city? What does the future hold for Wrigley? Do you feel secure in knowing that is where the Cubs are whenever they win a World Series, whether it’s now or a hundred years from now?
MQ: Yeah, I think the rickets families commitment to putting what, half a billion dollars into the stadium means we’re hoping to have it there for a long time. It is not what some people think. It is not that it’s the economic boom to the neighborhood because with night baseball we probably lost other businesses that were important for the neighborhood you know, theaters and some retail. It’s not that. That is the fact that people come from all over the country to take pictures of the ball park. You’ve got this magnificent museum to the great game of baseball sitting in your backyard. That you can open up your windows and hear Take Me Out to the Ball game or have them sing at the end of a game when there’s a win. That’s special. It’s nice that we can walk to the ball park and watch out favorite team. That what special. Baseball in an era filled with still too much glass and chrome and shiny new stadiums but we’ll still have Wrigley Field for the next hundred years for our efforts, hopefully ending this year to watch the Cubs win a World Series.
RK: Congressman before we let you go, look all the problems that are happening in Chicago, they’re not going to be wiped out by word series win or a NLDS, LCS win but what can the Cubs’ success in October do for the psyche of a city beaten down because of so much crime?
MQ: Well, I think Chicago is on an upswing for a lot of reasons from an economic point of view. We still have a lot of challenges but I think we’re going to get there. What sports does is, sports in it of itself is you know, not particularly important, but there are times when it transcends itself and it does something very important for the collective psyche of the community. You saw with the Blackhawks and the Bulls. This would be something very, very different. I think it’s a positive shot in the arm that encourages everyone and makes everyone happy. When you’re on the train and you hear people talking about Schwarber’s home run, where the heck did it land? It takes their mind of their troubles for a little while and gives them something collectively to talk about that is positive. This particular team, I suspect, accentuates because they’re so young and so much fun to watch. You know, we’ve had good teams in Chicago that weren’t always popular or fun, no matter what happens, these guys have been a blast to watch, and it gives us hope for the future. In the end, sports is about hope.
RK: Congressman Mike Quigley, Democrat from Illinois and Cubs fan, good luck with this seizes, good luck moving forward. Thanks for being here on Capital Games.
MQ: Glad to be here, thank you. Take care.