Open letter to Cubs fans: You're hateable winners now

ByMatt Marrone ESPN logo
Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear Cubs fans,

Welcome to the winner's circle. Speaking for the Yankees and Red Sox fans among us, we're uniquely suited to help you get settled in for a possibly long and definitely tedious run of being loathed by the general sporting public.

Lovable losers no longer, your team's success last year was embraced, just as the Yankees were embraced before they changed their name from the Highlanders, won 27 World Series championships and started using the rest of baseball as their farm system. And just as the Red Sox were celebrated after finally breaking their 86-year curse in 2004. But all good things must come to an end -- and now, well, you're just like the rest of us: hateable winners.

Get used to it.

Still, it's not all bad. Here are just some of the perks -- and perils -- of rooting for a winning franchise:

PERK: Your team won, which means everyone else's lost. Other fans can moan all they want about how much money your owners have (your co-owner will likely be deputy commerce secretary, for goodness' sake), but none of that matters because you have the commissioner's trophy and a ring ceremony in April.

PERIL: Winning again (and again?) doesn't have the same joy to it. Sure, sweeping the poor Rockies in 2007 was great for Boston, but it wasn't nearly as sweet as 2004. Neither was 2013. In the Bronx, beating the Braves in 1996 was pretty special, after a relatively long drought, but by the time our team had three-peated its way out of the 20th century, winning titles was more like a pleasant inevitability.

PERK: You finally have an anniversary to celebrate that isn't more than 100 years old.

PERIL: You'd better hope it doesn't remain the only live ball era anniversary you have, though. Mets fans, for example, have been milking 1969 and 1986 for years, and it's warped their minds into thinking those are the two best baseball teams of all time. Don't let that happen to you. Once you've won a bunch -- and we think you will, or else your membership in our club will be revoked -- you'll have plenty more anniversaries to choose from.

PERK: You can now chant the year your opposing team last won a World Series. Feel free to call out "Twen-ty El-even!" whenever the Cardinals are in town.

PERIL: Again, you better keep winning. Yankees fans got to cheer "Nine-teen Eight-een!" for decades until Boston beat us. Losing that was hard. You'll now be expected to always have a more recent title than the teams you hate.

PERK: Everywhere you go, you'll see Cubs hats. Feel free to share a knowing wink. Soon, we'll teach you the secret winner's handshake.

PERIL: Everywhere you go, you'll see Cubs hats. Casual fans are annoying, and they are fickle. They will give you a bad name (completely undeserved, of course).

PERK: You now have actual stars worthy of rocking a jersey with pride. Forget those Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome threads; you can now wear the likes of Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo.

PERIL: You can expect sideways glances and the need to prove you're not a bandwagon fan every time you leave home wearing something with your favorite team's logo on it (see previous peril).

PERK: People forget there's another team in your city.

PERIL: Fans of that other team remember, and they will try to undermine all of your achievements. Our advice? Try to beat the White Sox in a Subway World Series. Watching Mets fans openly weep on local television in 2000 was exquisite.

PERK: It's so much easier to win barroom arguments with fans of losing teams. Or to simply brush them off as inferiors and go back to your craft beer flight.

PERIL: Fans of losing teams, especially when facing off with fans of winning teams, are bitter and volatile, and therefore dangerously unpredictable. For example: Before, during and after their Subway Series loss, they may tell you Timo Perez or Edgardo Alfonzo is a better player than Derek Jeter. Or, in your case, that Guaranteed Rate Field has its charms (for the uninitiated, that's the new name of the White Sox's ballpark). Laugh on the outside, even as you cringe on the inside.

PERK: You get to root for a winner.

PERIL: Which means, again, that you're just like us Yankees and Red Sox fans now. Embrace it, or find another club.