BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Cubs, Indians Series not fun for Bucs fans

I must admit, this World Series has me in between a rock and a hard place. As a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan living in Northeastern Ohio and having to tolerate Cleveland Indians fans, plus, seeing one of Pittsburgh’s hated National League Central Division rivals, the Chicago Cubs, both in the World Series has my head spinning.

Needless to say, I hope they both find a way to lose. The common theme that’s been shared by these two franchises is all about curses and hard luck. All I hear everyday is, ‘1948 this, 1908 that.’

But what about Buccos fans? Our team set an all-time North American professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons with 20, from 1993-2012. I’ve grown up a diehard fan all my life, attending my first game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1993.

I was there when Mark McGwire hit his 52nd home run of his magical 70-home run season in 1998. I attended the final two home games at Three Rivers in 2000 (against the Cubs, ironically), plus the first-ever game at PNC Park (an exhibition game versus the New York Mets).

I should probably mention that I was born in 1989, meaning that I’ve experienced almost nothing but futility from the Pirates since then. I was too young to remember the great Barry Bonds/Andy Van Slyke/Bobby Bonilla Bucs teams of 1990-92, and the Willie Stargell “We Are Family Pirates” team of 1979, or the Bill Mazeroski game-winning walk-off grand slam against the Yankees in 1960.

Instead, I grew up hearing about the 1995 and ’97 Indians, and all of the other successful years that Cleveland has had since. I had to witness two NL Central sluggers in McGwire and Sammy Sosa (Cubs) duke it out for the single-season home run record in ’98, while the best Pirates hitters were lucky to have 20 homers in a season.

I recently joked on my Facebook about Cleveland’s poor attendance in recent years and how the unseasonably warm weather in Cleveland for Game 6 and 7 would be “fair,” if you catch my drift. Even Cleveland sports personality Les Levine referred to the Indians fans of the late 1990s as the “cafe latte” crowd, implying that many of them were just there because it was the trendy thing to do.

To be fair, however, while my social media sites have been flooded with bandwagon Cleveland fans, there still are a few diehards out there. In fact, I work alongside three of them at the Tribune.

As for Cubs fans, while they’ve been as loyal as any fan base in sports, they’re also just as obnoxious as any I’ve seen. If you want to know how bizarre they get, just refer to a recent yahoo.com article that talked about how some dedicated Cubs fans want their team to lose this World Series because it brings the fan base closer together when they continue to suffer through losing. Strange, to say the very least.

I must admit, I took great pleasure in Jose Mesa’s blown save against the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series, and the Tribe’s collapse against Boston in the 2007 American League Championship Series, when they blew a three games to one lead. I also laughed when national media pundits picked the Cubs to win the World Series just about every year, but instead, they failed miserably and typically missed the postseason altogether.

So while I’ll be unhappy about the result of this year’s World Series either way, fellow Jolly Roger raisers can take comfort in knowing that the Pirates will still have won more World Series’ since 1948 (three), than the Cubs and Indians combined (soon-to-be one).

OK, I’ll go crawl back under my rock for the next few days now.

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