The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Clark to the Rescue

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A collective groan emanated from the north side of Chicago and most of the northern suburbs last week.  It wasn’t because of the wicked weather we’ve been having–it was from the announcement that for the first time in almost a century, the Cubs have adopted a mascot.  True to the team’s name, they selected a cub, and true to the team’s style of play, he appears to be a life-sized plush doll.  This was enough for Chicago sportswriters and any crack-headed blogger (say my name!) to flood the internet with their opinions.  I haven’t read any of the vitriol or logic because I knew where I stood the moment Clark was announced:  Good job, Cubs.  This is a wise decision.

But first, the naysayers.  Those who have spiritually fought the Cubs on every change over the last few  years have no doubt thrown their hands up and screamed to the baseball gods:  “What have they done to my beloved franchise?!”  As if the overhaul of the Wrigley Field grounds and surrounding areas isn’t enough, now they’ve gone too far.  Now they’re relying on soft-peddling baseball to little kids and families.  Have the Ricketts no shame?  These naysayers would have dynamited the light stands in 1988.  They would have kept the bleachers sealed off from the rest of the stadium.  They would have let the rooftop owners double or triple the sizes of their buildings because the rooftops are an integral part of the party experience in Wrigleyville.  They still want Gracey and Sandburg on the roster, and would probably dig up Ron Santos’ bones and prop them up in the broadcast booth.  All told, it’s a strangely conservative stance for one of the most liberal pockets of population in the Midwest.

These are the same people who are blind to everything but nostalgia—Dammit, Wrigley Field should be all about the party in the bleachers and how it bleeds out into the rest of the stadium and neighborhood.  We’ll pull on our Lovable Losers t-shirts and blame The Curse for the 95% of the time the team isn’t producing.  Nostalgia is all that matters, and we’ll fight everything that gets in the way of that—despite nostalgia being the thing that has kept the Cubs from being even a respectable mid-level franchise.  My life scheme oft times affords me the opportunity to reflect upon literature to explain or find parallels to unexpected occurrences in life.  In this regard, the Nostalgic Cubs Fans are no different than Dave, the aging sled dog in The Call of the  Wild.  The beast has known nothing but his labor and his position on the sled team.  He does all he can to preserve it, even as he is obviously dying:

Dave resented being taken out, grunting and growling while the traces were unfastened, and whimpering broken-heartedly when he saw Sol-leks in the position he had held and served so long. For the pride of trace and trail was his, and, sick unto death, he could not bear that another dog should do his work…  he floundered in the soft snow alongside the beaten trail, attacking Sol-leks with his teeth, rushing against him and trying to thrust him off into the soft snow on the other side, striving to leap inside his traces and get between him and the sled, and all the while whining and yelping and crying with grief and pain…

Later, the dog even sabotages the sled rigging to maintain his familiarity:

Dave had bitten through both of Sol-lek’s traces, and was standing directly in front of the sled in his proper place.  He pleaded with his eyes to remain there…  a dog could break its heart through being denied the work that killed it…

Dave is eventually left behind, too weak to even walk.  He howls mournfully until the team travels out of sight.  One of the drivers returns to take care of him:  “A revolver-shot rang out.”

I can only hope that things don’t have to go so far with the nostalgia-bent fans who have been raising a stink about Clark and all the other changes underway.  Introducing Clark is a nice step towards changing the culture of the franchise.  The Cubs are respecting a key demographic for every sports franchise, and the one that will do them the most good in the long run.  Making the field and the franchise more family-friendly will pay great dividends because the game will be less about the party and more about Baseball.  People will start expecting things.  Fans will have some push-back.  For the first time in decades, the Cubs will have to produce.  That’s a novel thought to far too many people in the Wrigleyville neighborhood and other doubters in Cubs nation, but they are mistaken if they think the Cubs can ascend to legitimacy without steps like these.  Nostalgia kills.  You only need to look at the Cubs over the last sixty-nine years for proof.

The next step for the Ricketts?  Get rid of the troughs.


Written by seeker70

January 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] that before in posts about the death of nostalgia at Wrigley Field and attempts to make the stadium more fan-friendly.  I’m glad to see the Cubs making the right steps and understanding what it takes to be […]

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