On the Born Chicago Cubs Fan

I’ve thought for a long time that I was born to be Beatles fan. The reason? The number one song on the charts the day I was born was George Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” which followed (or was followed by) two weeks of Paul McCartney’s “My Love.”

Between you and me, I’m glad I was born under the Harrison song, not the McCartney song. I don’t like “My Love” that much. It is, to borrow a friend’s favorite phrase, “meh.”

Today, I wondered if I was born to be, not just a baseball fan, but a Chicago Cubs :cubs: fan as well.

Consider!

I’ve been reading recently The Complete Peanuts: 1973-4.

In June 1973, Charles Schulz had a storyline in which Charlie Brown, obsessed with baseball, developed a rash that made his head resemble a giant baseball. There’s some question in the course of the storyline whether or not his head really had a baseball-stitch-like rash or it was just a psychosomatic reaction to Charlie Brown’s baseball obsession.

In any event, Charlie Brown went off to camp (as he does every summer), and he wore a brown paper bag over his head, so that people wouldn’t see the rash and he wouldn’t scratch at it. Charlie Brown’s fellow campers took to calling him “Mr. Sack,” he was elected Camp President, and he was considered one of the most popular campers. Naturally, Charlie Brown’s newfound popularity and joy go down the drain when he takes off his brown paper bag and another camper sees him.

During this storyline, there’s a semi-related Sunday strip that fell on the date of my birth. Charlie Brown wakes up to a sunrise — in which he sees the sun as a giant glowing baseball — and he muses, “Another game today… if we win, we’ll only be ten games out of seventh place.”

Isn’t that a refrain that comes naturally to the Chicago Cubs fan? As Jack Brickhouse said so famously of the Northsiders, “Anyone can have a bad century.” And the Cubs have.

Oh, the Cubs have their moments. Hope springs eternal in the breast of the Cubs fan. Just as hope springs eternal in Charlie Brown, that for his beloved baseball team this might be the game, this might be the season, this might be the campaign that lead to victory.

The rest of that Sunday strip is classic. It deals with ballplayers and their superstitions:

Sally: Why do you always put your left show on first, big brother?

Charlie Brown: Well, actually, I don’t… I only put it on first on days when we have a baseball game… I guess it’s kind of a superstition… baseball players have lots of superstitions..

No, I don’t quite understand Schulz’ punctuation, either. But that’s how it’s written.

That’s beside my point.

Ballplayers have superstitions. Some writers have routines as well, to put them in their “zone.” Some drink from the same coffee mug. Some wear funny hats. Some listen to particular music. I have a dingy, beat-up baseball cap I like to wear when I write. It’s my style. 🙂

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that, on the day I was born, Charlie Brown ruminated on losing baseball teams and the superstitions of players. Or maybe Charles Schulz was onto something. 😉

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