Spite ‘n’ Schadenfreude

A couple years ago I told my colleague (and San Francisco Giants fan) Endo that a perfect day for me as a baseball fan would go like this: A’s win, Cubs win, Giants lose. Yeah, that’s the bitterly unhappy level to which my rooting interest in baseball has fallen: I take what passes for glee when a team loses (for now at least I won’t go into the twisted psychohistory behind my dark feelings for the San Francisco nine).

Given my leanings, this week has been special: The A’s started it on an epic roll. The aspiring-to-mediocrity Cubs entertained the mediocrity-would-be-an-improvement Giants for three games at the cute little loser’s paradise at Clark and Addison. The results for the first part of the week: Ecstasy. Agony. Ecstasy again. (Translation: On Monday, the A’s won and the Cubs beat the Giants — which is actually a little spite bonus on my definition of perfection; on Tuesday, the results were reversed; on Wednesday, they swung back the other way).

Now the Giants have left Chicago, and their losses will bring only a normal helping of sour satisfaction (though the way the Giants’ division is going, they could win it if they can get back to .500). The Cubs — well, they’ll dance around the .500 mark for the rest of the season and pack the house all the way to the end; neither wins nor losses will surprise or disappoint much; only three years till the centennial of their last World Series championship — it would be a shame to wipe out that streak before it hits 100. And the A’s: Hey, they’re actually fun to follow, especially after their horrible start this year, and anything they can do from here on in will be both pleasing and surprising.

5 Replies to “Spite ‘n’ Schadenfreude”

  1. Ah, the Cubbies. As a third-generation Red Sox fan, I feel their pain. At least the Sox broke their streak at 86 years. Can the Cubs really be that far behind? Yeah, maybe they can.

  2. I’ll let that pass. This time. But please don’t say “Cubbies.” It’s like saying “Beantown” or “Frisco” or calling Chicago “that toddlin’ town.” It makes the natives’ skin crawl. Not that I’m a native of anywhere.
    Our third-generation claim to fame is that my dad’s dad lived on the site of Wrigley Field; he was studying to be a minister, and a Lutheran seminary stood on the eastern half of the site, along Sheffield Avenue.
    That’s the story I’ve been telling, anyway.

  3. Watching the A’s win is fun, even in Chicago! All the more so as they seem to be the only AL team to totally have the White Sox number. Which brings me to my really twisted version of cheering, hopes for a post season that includes both Oakland and Chicago, with the final series played on the west coast.
    And for Kate. I miss the old two division line up in the majors. To the days when the Cubs had more opportunity to beat the Mets.

  4. When you see a division going through what the NL West is seeing this year, I always remember the NL East in 1973. Not just that the Mets took the title with 82 wins (before going on to beat the Big Red Machine, which won 99 games that year), but that the win totals for the rest of the division were: St. Louis, 81; Pittsburgh, 80; Montreal, 79; Cubs, 77; and Philadelphia, 71. It was thrilling waiting to see which team would finally shrug its collective shoulders and resign itself to finishing first.

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