With Marlins Swept, Time To Ship Up To Boston!

For the first time since 1918, the Chicago Cubs will be visiting historic Fenway Park.

At that time, the two teams were facing each other in the World Series. A time before curses. A long time before blogs, MLB Network and 24 hour sports radio/television. What was at stake may have been greater back then, but there will definitely be more people watching this time around.

Back in 1918, players weren’t paid more than about $5,000/year and World Series championship bonus could run up to 20% of that total. With no guarantee of winning, there are rumors that players were willing to throw away a shot at a title and bonus money for the guaranteed payday that came along with throwing the Series. The Red Sox won the World Series and lately, people have questioned whether the Cubs handed it to them on a silver slugger plate.

I like to think that they didn’t. I like to think the corruption started in 1919 with the White Sox and the Black Sox scandal. The book/film, Eight Men Out fascinated me when I first came across them and the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson, made famous in the film ‘Field of Dreams’ was one I was infatuated with for a while (still am today). How could anyone throw away the opportunity to win the World Series? I suppose now that I have a family of my own, I can understand the pressure to provide. I also know what it is to feel unfairly treated by an employer who is making millions. Considering the way owners treated players back then, as much as I’d like to believe it wasn’t the case, it’s hard to say the Cubs didn’t possibly contribute to the Red Sox success that Series.

This upcoming weekend series at Fenway, it’s just that. A series. Not a Series.

Nonetheless, the fact that it’s been nearly 100 years since the Cubs played at Fenway against the Red Sox (the Sox have visited Wrigley in a regular season inter-league game since) is a big deal and all eyes will be on Fenway Fri-Sun night. I wanted to get tickets and drive up to the old ballpark but it wasn’t in the cards. Regardless, I can’t wait to see this showdown.

You think a stretch against the Reds, Cardinals and Giants is a true test of where the team stands? Try facing the Boston Red Sox. After a slow start they are starting to fire on all cylinders. The favorite selected by many to win it all in the pre-season, individually and as a team are now hitting their stride. Once buried in the depths of talent in the AL East, the Sox are scratching their way back to the top of the standings, an effort I’d like to see come from the Cubs after their own slow start this season.

Two games against the Marlins in Miami is a great appetizer and a wonderful opportunity to finally get some sun and warm up a bit. However, the Marlins are no Red Sox and their ballpark is no Fenway. As excited as we are as Cubs fans for this weekend, you’d have to imagine the Sox fans are looking forward to it just as much. To experience the historic match-up and possibly to cheer their team on to victory and spoil the visit once again for the Chicago Cubs 93 years later.

Interleague play has opened up the opportunity for these types of match-ups, these types of tests for the club during the regular season. Considering I picked the Cubs over the Red Sox this year, this is one three game set I am very much in particular interested in seeing play out. Hopefully, it does so in the Cubs favor.

What happened in 1918 has no bearing on what will happen this weekend. It was merely a blip on the radar throughout the century-plus long title drought by the Cubs. However, if in fact something dirty did go down 93 years ago in that Series now being questioned by fans across the baseball landscape…then this series would be a great opportunity to redirect the focus where it needs to be and where it deserves to be.

All eyes will be on Fenway Park this weekend. Fenway Park is no Wrigley Field. Let’s ship up to Boston and show those Red Sox that they in fact are no Chicago Cubs. Get ready Bah-ston. We’re looking to sweep. Go Cubs Go!

Prosecard from Cubs Nation – Christin Haws

One of my favorite Prose features is the Cubs fan interview series I do called “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”. It’s always fun to hear more about why different fans root for the Cubs and how they would react in hypothetical situations regarding their favorite baseball team. Whether it’s someone I meet at a game, or someone I meet on Twitter or some other social media site…it’s always fun to have a chance to learn more about a fellow Cubs fan.

Today’s Prosecard is with Christin Haws, otherwise known as @kikiwrites on Twitter. Check out what she has to say about loving the Cubs and the fight they are showing this season. If you want to be interviewed for a feature Prosecard, simply email me at proseandivy@cubsmvp.com and I’ll send you some questions!

And now…Cubs fan extraordinaire, Christin Haws!

Name: Christin Haws, KikiWrites if you’re on Twitter.

PROSE AND IVY: Why are the Cubs your favorite baseball team?
CHRISTIN HAWS: It’s because of my mother. She shook off her Cardinal fan upbringing and switched sides in a fit of rebellion and chose to raise her children in Cubbie blue.

Actually, it was less deliberate than that. Mom watched/listened to Cubs games (she was brought up in a Cardinals household, but was never much of a fan) and I watched/listened with her. And so, at that impressionable young age, the seeds of love were planted. Now, twenty-some years later, I can’t imagine NOT rooting for the Cubs. They’re my home base.

P&I: Who is your favorite Cub of all-time?
CH: I hate the “favorite” questions because I’m always changing my mind, but in this case I can say with a fair amount of certainty that it’s Andre Dawson. I think the fact that we both played right field and wore number 8 at the same time during my youth sealed the deal. However, Doug Dascenzo will always be my favorite position player pitcher.

P&I: Who is your favorite Cub on the current roster?
CH: Ryan Dempster now that Ted Lilly is gone. Not that I mean to have Demp play second fiddle to Teddy. I love Demp as a pitcher and a person. He makes no excuses when he does poorly and gives away all the credit when he does well. I like watching him pitch because when he has it, it’s awesome, and when he doesn’t have it, he’ll do whatever it takes to find it. Lilly had the upperhand in my favoritism when he was on the team because he’s left-handed. I’m curiously biased like that.

P&I: What is your favorite thing about Wrigley Field and what would be the first thing you would change?
CH: My favorite thing about Wrigley is the feeling I get when I first see the field. It’s the warm, fuzzy, excited rush of YAY CUBS! No other field can do it to me like that. Oh, baby.

As for changes, aside from moving it closer to my house (that’s more my problem than Wrigley’s; six hour round trips make for long days) and upgrading the player facilities so they can be more comfortable and competitive, I’d like a designated section of the bleachers for the frat party. If you’re just there to drink, you sit there so you don’t bother the people who are there to watch the game. And any home run hit into that section is immediately recovered and given to a fan who knows the inning, score, and/or name of the opposing team.

P&I: What former Cub deserves a statue on Wrigley the most out of all the Cubs that either don’t have one or don’t have one planned already? Why?
CH: Unless there’s something in the works that I haven’t heard about, I say Fergie Jenkins. Ernie Banks and Billy Williams have theirs and Ron Santo is getting his, all rightfully so, but I include Fergie in that group of guys. I’d like the complete set.

P&I: If someone asked you ‘what is it like to be a Cubs fan?’ what would your reply be?
CH: I’d tell them that it’s just like being a fan of any other team except that the insult bullseye on your back is bigger, the World Series drought jokes are staler, and the fan base is so polarized between delusional optimists and suicidal pessimists that you sometimes feel like there’s no happy medium. Other than that, it’s totally typical.

P&I: The Cardinals call and ask for a trade of Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Carlos Pena and Carlos Marmol for Albert Pujols. Do you make the deal? Why or why not?
CH: No deal. Pujols is a fantastic player, of this there is no doubt. But I’ve always been big on TEAMS, not just one star guy. I’d rather take my chances with the four than pin all of my hopes on one.

P&I: Which Cubs player would you most like to join Twitter so you could hear their random thoughts on a 24 hour basis?
CH: Koyie Hill. Last season the guy said he had one more home run than a dead man. Clearly, he needs to be sharing thoughts like this on a regular basis.

P&I: Ronnie Woo-Woo approaches you and reveals his biggest secret. He can make a World Series championship happen for the Cubs (he knows a guy) but in order for him to do so, the Cubs would have to give up Wrigley Field the season prior. The WS championship would happen in the first year of the new stadium. Deal, or no deal?
CH: No deal. First of all, the romantic in me wants the World Series won in Wrigley. Second of all, I’m not selling my soul (or any part of me) to Ronnie Woo-Woo. Lastly, it’s Ronnie Woo-Woo. There’s no guarantee I’d hang around long enough to hear his whole spiel.

P&I: How do you plan on celebrating the Cubs next World Series title?
CH: Ideally, I’d celebrate in Chicago, living it up and partying down with my fellow Cubs fans. It’s been a long time coming. That party promises to be epic. I’d take my mom so we could celebrate, at least a little bit, together. She is the reason I’m a Cubs fan, after all.

Realistically, however, I’ll probably have to work the next day, so whatever celebrating I could manage would be delayed until my day off. Or I’d call in sick. For several days.
 
P&I: What was your first impression when they announced the BP Crosstown Cup?
CH: I had a moment of cynacism and thought, “Great. Another way for White Sox fans to be insufferable.”

P&I: What is your prediction for the 2011 Cubs?
CH: I think because everyone has set the bar so low, they’re going to do better than anticipated. They’re going to have a good year. Maybe not a championship year, but it’ll be good. I think they’re going to end up being a fun team to watch. Not because they’ll win all the time (though I do hope they win a lot), but because they’re actually playing like a team. They’ve got fight this year. I love that.