We Travel Well...They Don't
"Take back Miller Park!"
The cry is enjoined once again this week as hoards of Cubs fans snarf up the best local baseball tickets and boo the home team Brewers. Worse, Chicago seems to have a knack of doing something in Milwaukee that they don't seem to do very much of away from here:
I was talking with a buddy of mine today who just happens to work for the local major league baseball concern--who he is doesn't matter, but what he said spoke volumes.
To paraphrase, he points out how Packers fans prided themselves on making the annual trek to Tampa to literally take over the Buccaneers' home sombrero each NFL season, turning the stadium into Lambeau South. No one derided us snowbirds--in fact, we were lauded in most circles for "travelling well"--the sports euphemism for "having nothing else to do and nowhere else to spend our cash other than the local team."
Badgers fans were legendary for filling charters destined for Las Vegas, Hawaii and other exotic ports of call to watch the beloved Big Red. If memory serves, we're renown for drinking downtown Vegas CLEAN OUT OF BEER during one such road trip. UNLV actually added seats to accommodate the legions of snow birds making the trip west.
So why, then, do we give Cubs fans such a hard time for doing what we used to do, my buddy asked.
My answer was simple: Chicago fans are jerks.
And, in the interest of full disclosure, I used to be one.
Before the Brewers hopped leagues, my friends and I would make the drive to Wrigley, buy a couple of bleacher tickets ($5, if memory serves, and you could only buy them day-of-game) and build nice tans while destroying our livers with Old Style. We'd follow the Cubs to St. Louis, our passions fueled by the 1984 post-season near-miss.
Maybe it's old age, or the ravages of liquor on my memory banks but I don't remember anyone in our group being a tenth as obnoxious as today's Cubs fans are. They act like they own the place, boo the Brewers, and generally treat we locals as interlopers crashing THEIR party.
No other group earns such ire--Twins fans came here a few weeks ago without incident, and Cardinals fans dot the stands with nary a punch being thrown.
So what is it about Chicago?
They'll keep coming, though, because being a Cubs fan is one small part booster-dom and a heaping dose of entitlement brought on by decades of ineptitude and a feeling that "we can do what we want because we're fans of one of America's all-time sports train wrecks and, gosh, don't you just love us for being so loyal?"
No, we don't.
That said, there's only one way Chicago fans outnumber us at our own ballpark--we don't buy enough tickets, or those of us who do flip them to Cubs buyers for a price. It's supply and demand, people, and there are simply more of them buying and way too many of us selling.
They may be crude, rude and socially unacceptable but Cubs fans are nothing if not determined. We shouldn't fuel the fire by turning our tickets into cash.
And, don't think losing with stem the Chicago demand--their fans seem to have an insatiable appetite for that, and the Cubs keep feeding them.
Until, of course, the come to Milwaukee.