Baseball fandom a tale of 2 cities

first_imgI’ll admit it — I am a Chicago Cubs fan.But I’m also a Milwaukee Brewers fan.What… what? How is that possible? You’re probably thinking to yourself “Is this bitch crazy?”Let me assure you — I’m not (that) crazy. It is very possible. It’s just that not everyone is willing to admit it. I’m probably not the first person you’ve met who likes both, and I can all but assure youI’m not the last.I can’t help it. Growing up, I was allowed to like both teams. The year I was born (1985 to clarify — and yes, I’m still in college at age 24) Milwaukee finished in 6th place in the American League Central, while Chicago finished 4th in the NL Central.What a way to start my life-long curse.My father grew up in Illinois, and while I managed to fend off his love for the Bears — minus Walter Payton of course — there was something about the Cubs. Perhaps it was their pretty colors (I am a girl of course, so pretty colors draw me in), or maybe it was because of a few guys named Greg Maddux, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg.Ah Ryne Sandberg. That name alone makes me smile. Even if you are a die-hard Cubs hater, you can’t help but give respect to a guy who was a 10-time All-Star, a nine-time Gold Glove winner and carries a career fielding percentage of .989.And then there is their home ballpark. Wrigley Field. Ah Wrigley. Some consider it a dump. It is old. It is falling apart. There is no high-tech video board, no fireworks. But that’s just fine for the Cubs faithful. If you haven’t been to Wrigley and consider yourself a true baseball fan — go. There is a sort of aura and mystique that takes over your body the minute you walk in and see the field. The history, the curse, the good games and the bad (I don’t blame you Steve Bartman, I blame Alex Gonzalez) — the past hits you the minute you walk in.But being born and bred a Wisconsin girl, I also loved rooting for the likes of Rollie Fingers, Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.Although I was never lucky enough to see a game at County Stadium — the one time I was supposed to go I got the chicken pox three days prior —I do get to Miller Park usually four or five times a year. And I love it. I love the tailgating. You can’t do that at Wrigley. I love firing up the grill hours before first pitch, busting out the bags board and just having a good time with good friends. Tailgating is probably one of my favorite activities, and I don’t get that on the north side of Chicago.If I had to curse myself by liking two teams, why couldn’t I pick at least one successful team? Since 1998, when they became division rivals, Milwaukee is 889-1053 while Chicago is 964-979. Yet I still put myself through the pain of loving both teams.I was able to love them both freely and without persecution for the first 12 years of my life. Those were a great 12 years. And though I didn’t get my first glimpse of live baseball until I was in high school — Miller Park when I was 16 and Wrigley Field at age 17 — I was hooked nonetheless to both teams.Those early years of your life are the most impressionable. You follow your older siblings around, trying to do everything like them and be as much like them as you can. My eldest brother, one of the biggest Brewer fans I know, was enlisted in the Army, so I didn’t have his Milwaukee influence in my life. My father turned my older sister toward his version of the Good Side right away, so between the two of them I had no other influence growing up. The Cubs soon became my favorite team.When the two play each other, I do choose my Derrek Lee jersey over my Rickie Weeks shirt every time. If the two teams ever face off in the NLCS, however unlikely it may be in my lifetime, it would be hell on earth for me — I caught a break in 2008 when they both lost. I would ultimately choose Chicago, as I do every day. But there is that small part of me hoping for a bomb to right from Prince (Fielder) and an ugly strikeout from (Alfonso) Soriano (which currently occurs on a daily basis).So as I did last week Wednesday from my rooftop seat on Sheffield and as I will do Sunday at Miller Park, I will sport the big “C.” Just don’t look too close, or you might see bright blue and yellow underneath.I can’t help it — I’m just as cursed as the Cubs.Cassie is a former Wrestling and Track & Field beat writer for The Badger Herald. She is (finally) graduating in May with her degree in journalism. Feel the need to send her hate mail and tell her she has to choose a side? E-mail her at cpaulsen@wisc.edu.last_img

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