Monday, June 18, 2012

Short History of Cubs Cheers at Wrigley Field

I went to the Cubs-Red Sox game on Saturday which reminded me of the history of cheers at Wrigley Field. That's how my mind works, let's not try to explain it.

When I was a kid, or more importantly, when Billy was relegated to spending every game he attended watching that burr-head pitch and waiting for his dad to get so frustrated with the play on the field that he ripped up his scorecard, cheers at Wrigley Field were different than they are today. And not because the fans were more sober. While you had many more people yelling "Charge!" after prompting from the organist, the most commonly heard cheers were actually demands. They were, when the Cubs were batting, "We want a hit!" and, when the Cubs were in the field, "We want an out!" It took the form of "We waant ahit!" or "We waant anout!" Mr. Google tells me that those were popular chants at most ball parks at that time. At Wrigley, it always sounded like kids were chanting these which made sense as games were fairly sparsely attended and a lot of the fans during weekday afternoon games were kids, contrary to what Lee Elia might have you believe. So the effect sounded like spoiled kids making demands. As most parents know, this always works.

At some point the dominant rally demanding cheer at Cubs games became "Let's go Cubs!" Very succinct. Very staccato. Can still be heard at other stadiums around Chicago in the form of "Let's go Bears!", "Let's go Bulls!" and "Let's go Hawks!" "Let's go Cubs!" in the form of "One Two Three!" Both "Let's go Cubs!" and the "We want..." cheers listed above were accompanied with claps on each syllable. If you watch any of the 2003 playoff games, you'll hear the "Let's go Cubs!" cheer in the background.

Then, on June 10, 2005, the Red Sox came to Wrigley for the first time in 87 years. As is frequently noted, their fans travel well and they traveled into Wrigley. As they worked to rally their team they started chanting, "Let's go Red Sox (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)!" In response, and to drown them out, Cubs fans starting chanting, "Let's go Cubbies (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)!" And ever since then, that's been the cheer used to rally the Cubs at Wrigley.

And, I really dislike it. While I don't miss the "We want..." chants except for nostalgic reasons, I am much happier with "Let's go Cubs!" than "Let's go Cubbies." The main reason is that I hate the term "Cubbies." No other team's fans refer to their team by making the nickname more familiar. The Yankees are the Yankees so they don't count. You won't hear anyone saying "Metties", "Cardies" or "Soxies."*

*Although I sometimes like to refer to the San Diego team as the "Padees" (pronounced "Pottys.")

To me, it sounds like a diminutive. It makes a thing that's already small, a Cub, and makes it sound smaller! I almost named this blog "Kill The Cubbies" because I want this nickname to go away. "How 'bout them Cubbies?" How 'bout you shut up?

Another reason to dislike this cheer is that every cheer now has that cadence. For example, if Jody Davis were playing today, Cubs fans wouldn't chant "JO-DEE!" "JO-DEE" "JO-DEE" like they used to (and I loved!) Instead they would chant, "Let's go Jody (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)." BORING! It's a little league cheer, let's leave it there (no comments on the quality of baseball being observed, please).

So, no, I'm not a fan of "Let's go Cubbies." Just gives me another reason to hate the Red Sox.

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