Chicago Sun-Times BASEBALL Wednesday, September 24, 1997


Worshiping Cubs is a tough habit to break

Somewhere along the way, I must have missed something. The last-place Cubs play -their final home game of an abysmal season, and the 30,000 fans in attendance give the team a -standing ovation?
I could understand a few whoops and hollers, or a shout or two of "Wait till next year!"
But a standing ovation? For what, exactly?
For ensuring they won't lose 100 games this season? For all the belly laughs they provided throughout the season?
For putting an end to the misery?
If the ovation was to give Ryne Sandberg a final curtain call, it would be understandable. But the entire Cubs team returned to the field. And what did the fans do? They cheered with a madness that only can be indicative of their state of mind. They must be crazy. All of them.
Only in Chicago could this insanity occur, and only at Wrigley Field, and only for the woebegone Cubs.
Luckily, however, help is on the way. Ladies and gentleman, say hello to Ed from Skokie.
After 50 years as a suffering Cubs fan, Ed's making the break. No more staying up late to watch West Coast games. No more watching Cubs batting averages fall faster than Newt Gingrich's approval rating. No more tracking Cubs earned-run averages that rise faster than the Dow.
"I finally realized I can't take it anymore," Ed said. 'I need help."
You've heard of 12-step programs, haven't you? Well, Ed's formed one for himself and his fellow soon-to-be-former Cubs fans. He's determined to fight his affliction but knows he stands a better chance of success with a group effort.
"And maybe it also will make management aware that you have to give fans a better product," Ed said.

"You shouldn't be able to show a profit with a horrible product."
Amen, Ed. Amen.
"I have this feeling," Ed said. "It's like, a player puts on a Yankees uniform, and he becomes good. That same player puts on a Cubs uniform, and he becomes bad. Then he takes off his Cubs uniform, and he becomes good again."
I hear you, my brother.
"It's like the Cubs' organization has a country-club atmosphere," he said. "Wrigley Field is a great place. They make their money, and there's no pressure to perform. Fans in other cities won't tolerate this kind of baseball. In Philly, they don't take it. But in Chicago, people take it."
Tell it like it is, Ed.
"I just don't want to deal with this Cubs addiction anymore," he said.
Can you feel his pain?
Ed understands he'll have to take this day by day. He's facing long odds. He knows he'll be in recovery for the rest of his life.
I, for one, fervently hope Ed is granted the serenity to accept the things he cannot change, the courage to change the things he can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Ed's 12-step group, Cubs Anonymous, needs members to fulfill its mission. No Cubs fan can go it alone and expect to make a clean break of it. Without a support system, relapse is likely.
It's time to look in the mirror, Cubs fans. Ask yourself if you or someone you love needs help. Perhaps you and your spouse are co-dependents. Perhaps you're an en-abler to someone in your life. Think about it.
While you're at it, consider Cubs Anonymous' 12 Steps to Happiness, authored by Ed

(The parenthetical explanations, not authored by Ed, are provided as a public service.)

1. Admit that we are powerless over the Cubs and that our lives have become unmanageable. (You need help.)

2. Believe that giving up the Cubs can restore us to sanity. (For some of you, that’s a qualified maybe.)

3. Make a decision to stop following the Cubs as they exist today. (Get a life.)

4. Make a list of all the reasons we must give up the Cubs. (No.1, they're stealing your money. No.2, they’re stealing your money . .

5. Admit to ourselves and others that following the Cubs must be wrong. (If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you.)

6. We are entirely ready to stop being Cubs fans. (Next on our agenda: world peace.)

7. Humbly ask for help to give up on the Cubs. (Wrigleyville bartenders will be happy to oblige you.)

8. Make a list of all the reasons to "lose" the Cubs. (Start with their won-lost record.)

9. Make amends to remaining Cub fans and wish them well. (Think how superior to them you'll feel.)

10. Continue to reinforce our decision to forget the Cubs. (By any means necessary.)

11. Seek other entertainment to replace the Cubs. (Watch a Bears game! No, wait, I take that back.)

12. Spread the word that smiles have returned to our faces. (Double bonus: Cubs management finally will get a clue.)

Remember. Cubs fans, admitting you have a problem is half the battle.

For more information, cull Cubs Anonymous at (847) 568-0670 or visit their website at


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