This weekend in Chicago, Lollapalooza happened. Yearly, Lollapalooza is one of Chicago’s largest events, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people to a beer soaked environment with one purpose — to entertain the hell out of the fans. It usually goes off year after year without a hitch, though certainly that doesn’t mean it is without incident. For instance, this year, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was harassed by a drunk man behind him who kept squeezing a ball of frizzy, trademark Joakim Noah hair.
Noah would have beaten this asshole, rightfully so, straight into the ground had his friends not come in between the two sides. Another man, clearly intoxicated, ripped the sunglasses off of a woman’s face for no reason, and when a man standing nearby ordered him to return the glasses, the drunk man refused. The man standing nearby knocked him the fuck out. One punch. The man was down.
These were just two incidents I heard of from the three day weekend at the music festival, but obviously there are hundreds more that could probably be told from thousands of different people.
“So what, Andy? It’s Lollapalooza, incidents are to be expected. What’s you point?”
This week in Chicago, a Cubs home game happened. Yearly, Cubs home games are one of Chicago’s largest events, drawing in millions of people to a beer soaked environment with one purpose — to entertain the hell out of the fans. It usually goes off year after year without a hitch, though certainly that doesn’t mean it is without incident. For instance, this year, some drunk idiot poured an entire beer on Shane Victorino while he was trying to catch a routine fly ball.
I am a lifelong Cubs fan. When I see things like this happen in a stadium where I remember watching Andre Dawson play, it hurts my soul. The guy who threw the beer is a huge jackass, no doubt. I agree with what this Sun-Times writer said.
But the major problems with what happened last night is that nobody thinks isolated incidents at a music festival indict the entire audience, but the bleacher bum’s actions are only going to add fuel to the fire of those who claim Cubs fans are some of the worst fans in baseball.
“Wrigley Field is the world’s largest gay bar.” It’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan’s shirt that he wears into Wrigley, a “clever” (read: stupid) take on a common song sung by baseball fans across the country, “Wrigley Field is the world’s largest bar.”
And you know, I’m not going to argue with that. When you look at the atmosphere that surrounds Wrigley, specifically the bleachers, it takes on a persona that looks more like Saturdays at a Big Ten campus than a baseball stadium at times. At times. And when it does, that’s when the Cubs fans haters come out in droves, calling us fair weather fans, yuppies that don’t care about the game and drunks. And I understand why they say it, there certainly have been incidents warranting those responses.
But look closer, or rather at a broader spectrum. There is no other team in baseball, except for the New York Yankees, that has a larger, more active fan base than the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs fans routinely outnumber rival fan bases — at away games. The New York Yankees have 27 championships, the Chicago Cubs are considered the epitome of losers and every other baseball team falls in between that spectrum. So tell me, fans of other teams, where are you when your team goes on that 14-game road trip? Because Cubs fans are in the visitor ballpark, and they sure aren’t going there for the Wrigley experience.
Cubs fans are great fans, this I promise you. They live and die with that team, they ride the roller coaster to failure every year and every years they come back for more. I can’t tell you why, it’s just something we do. We aren’t idiots, we aren’t crazy, we just love the Cubs. Not all of us pack Wrigley year after year, even when the team is about as useful as a hatrack for a moose, to get shit faced and embarrass ourselves.
Lollapalooza will be back next year, and I’m sure it will be a success, as it has for years past. And I promise you, there will be some idiots who drink a little too much and will do stupid things to ruin the experience for a number of innocent bystanders. But by and large, Lollapalooza goers — just like Cubs fans — are really mostly fans who love the people that entertain them. Hopefully this year, the next time a Cubs fan decides to be a total jackass, a man standing nearby will knock him the fuck out.