Jeff Lipschultz’s Blog

I Think, Therefore I Blog

It’s a Good Time for Fanatics: Could Cubs Fans Have the Edge in a Down Economy?

cubsI’m a Cubs Fan.  There, I said it.  Yes, I know I have a problem and it’s not one that can be cured with a 12-step program or a patch.  It’s in my blood and tends to be genetic.  If there’s one thing you know about the Chicago Cubs, it’s likely to be the ongoing streak of 100 years without winning a World Series.  Sure, there have been close calls, but so-called “curses” have kept the “Lovable Losers” in check.

In our new world economy of bailout packages and buyouts, one organization stands tall with very little wavering in customer loyalty and a strong consistency in revenue–the Chicago Cubs.  And yet, why is this?  When our long-time bank fails us, we move on.  When the local chain for electronics closes its door, we shop next store at the other.   How is it an organization with an overall losing record for the last several decades can be filling seats (not so cheaply anymore either), while most restaurants are less crowded?

The answer is hidden in the definition of fanaticism.  According to Wikipedia, the definition is as follows:

Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. The difference between a fan and a fanatic is that while both have an overwhelming liking or interest in a given subject, behavior of a fanatic will be viewed as violating prevailing social norms, while that of a fan will not violate those norms (although the person may be considered unusual).

Cubs fans are fanatics.  They violate all kinds of social norms.  “Normal” people do not torture themselves.  Like Pavlov’s dogs, we all learn from past experiences.  Well, most people learn.  Cubs fans have a saying, “Wait ’til next year.”  They jump right back on the bus for another ride after being driven to the county dump.

But maybe, just maybe, Cubs fans are the answer to our nation’s economic crisis.  We need to take a lesson from these eternal optimists, and cheer for another underdog:  the United States of America.  Our country needs a fanbase that believes that each year can bring hope and new destiny.  That with the rites of spring, come new reasons to believe that we can prevail. 

I’m sure we all want this, but perhaps we just don’t know how.  Take a quick lesson from a Cubs Fan to join the cause:

  • Cubs fans use the smallest of improvements to justify big change…”hey we got a new center fielder who hits left-handed and took the AL by storm last year–just what we needed (nevermind the fact that he’s injury prone).
  • Cubs fans use any kind of data they can to track improvement…”we picked up a back-up infielder with a lifetime .275 average (nevermind that he hasn’t played since 2006).
  • Cubs fans believe in their leaders…”Piniella knows what he is doing and has led us to the playoffs the last two years (only to lose every single post-season game in those years)

The point is, Cubs fans BELIEVE.  They are the glass-half-full types who don’t care what it’s full of.  Let’s all take a page out of their playbook and believe in America.  Let’s search for data, small hints of recovery, and dare I say it, believe in our leaders. 

Maybe with a little blind optimism in spring, we’ll be winning big in October.  And who knows what the next 100 years will be like.


March 15, 2009 - Posted by | General Musings


  1. It’s good that you’re trying to find somthing nice to say about Cubs fans. As a lifelong Cards fan, I must admit that I’ve never really found anything good to say about them. Although I have been told that Cubs fans are highly sought after by the military when it comes time to storm beaches or take hilltops since they often display a wanton disregard of reality and any opposing facts. I believe the military acronym is “CF” for “Cub fan.” Or maybe that’s “cannon fodder.”

    Great post.

    Comment by James Wester | March 20, 2009 | Reply

  2. Jeff, like I told you on Twitter, I’m not a Cubs fan, but I’m definitely a fan of Cubs fans! After reading this post, I finally know why. This is it exactly.

    I really think this is going to be the Cubs’ year. Really.

    Comment by Conrad | March 27, 2009 | Reply

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