Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or outside of the greater Chicago and New York City areas), you know that the Cubs and Mets are meeting in the National League Championship Series, which starts tonight. Probably on TBS, but check your local listings.
If you’re reading this, you may already be a huge fan and have plans to be in front of a TV tonight watching Game 1 of the series. Or, you may be a huge fan but you’ll be at a wedding of another Cubs fan, and you’ll be streaming it on your phone (just kidding, friends who are getting married tonight! Your friends would never do that to you!).
If not, we’re worried about you. Because you’re missing out. Sports fan or not, watching a home team go through a playoff run is so much fun, so don’t let yourself be shamed by those fun-killers who condescendingly call you bandwagon fans. The bandwagon is fun, and that’s why people get on it, and we’re here to tell you why you should:
Chicago vs. NYC
- Lauren: Both Chicago and NYC fans always hear smaller-market cities complain about us, so this is a chance for everyone else in the country to complain about us, but neither of us will care. Also, yet another chance to hear everyone argue about whose pizza is better. I say Chicago, hands-down, obviously. Laura may disagree…
- Laura: Don’t make this about pizza, Lauren. Because obviously New York has better pizza, how is that even in question?! But a city is about more than pizza! (Shocking opinion, I know.) I am not a native Chicagoan, but I’ve lived here long enough now to know that there is something of a rivalry between these two cities, but one of those one-sided rivalries where Chicagoans feel the need to prove that their city is just as good as NYC, and second to no one, but I don’t think New Yorkers really care or even notice. If anything, they’re too busy being in a rivalry with LA. So I think this series will definitely have an element of Chicagoans wanting to prove how Chicago is a superior city (I actually think it is, pizza notwithstanding) and New Yorkers being like, whatever, if we lose we’ll just go eat some pizza and it’ll be all good. And that will make Chicagoans even MORE mad.
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon
- Lauren: Throughout the course of the season, he has shown himself to be not just a great manager, but also a quirky delight. He made the team dress up in onesie pajamas for a flight home from a game, and he’s kept his team entertained (and terrified?) by bringing special guests like magicians and wild animals to team meetings. What will he do next? Below is the team in onesies, and also one of the best players in the National League holding a tiger. That’s fine, right?
- Laura: I know literally nothing about Joe Maddon. This onesie pajama and magician thing is news to me but that’s all I need to hear. He’s so whimsical! If baseball needs to be more of anything, it’s definitely whimsical.
Battle of the Rookies
- Lauren: Both teams feature young rookies who play key roles in their teams , like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. I read that Schwarber was a high school junior in 2010, and thought, oh that must be a typo. But it’s not. They’re just very young. And very good.
- Laura: This is one of the best actual-baseball reasons to watch this series. I am a lifelong Phillies fan, and even the IDEA of rooting for another team has always made me uncomfortable, but because I live here and I can’t resist a high-stakes sporting event, I watched the Cubs’ wild card game and, despite my best efforts, found myself falling for this team. Why? Because they’re a bunch of young guys proving themselves on baseball’s biggest stage! Maybe I’m just too used to rosters full of overpaid stars (remember, I said I’m a Phillies fan), but this is refreshing and just plain fun.
The potential for Lauren’s husband to get another Cubs tattoo
- Lauren: By this point in the post, you may have gathered that Dave is a die-hard Cubs fan. He currently has a tattoo of the team’s logo, and when they someday win a World Series, he will add to his collection. Maybe Rizzo’s face over the skyline of Chicago? We’ll see.
- Laura: One of my earliest memories of Dave is of him promising me that when the Cubs win the World Series, he would get a full back tattoo, of Wrigley Field and possibly also the team photo. He was very insistent that he was not joking and not exaggerating. We’ll see. (I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that our friend Chris also promised this.)
Back to the Future 2
- Laura: This is absolutely the most compelling reason to root for the Cubs, and the thing that even opened my heart to the possibility of cheering for a non-Philly team. I want to live in a world where Back to the Future 2 correctly predicted when the Cubs would win the World Series. Don’t you??
- Lauren: Who knew that a Michael J. Fox movie might turn into the closest thing we have to a modern-day prophesy?
Kyle Shwarber was a show choir nerd
- Laura: Imma just drop the video here. Schwarber, who hit a MONSTER homerun in the last series (more on this later) is the dude in the front center. For those of you who don’t have an intimate knowledge of show choir culture, let me explain something to you: that means he’s the best one. The one they’re showcasing. The one who is leading everyone else. So he was not just IN show choir, he was a show choir STAR.
- Lauren: This guy’s got something for everyone! Just watch this big ol’ jock dancing around on stage, and tell me he’s not endearing.
So many home runs
- Lauren: So many! I admit – I’ve been one to call baseball “boring” in the past. Because, you guys… sometimes it is. Most games are slow burns, and they can be not-so-exciting for sports fan like myself who prefer the fast-paced nature of basketball. I mean, seriously, one of the highest achievements for a pitcher is to pitch a no-hitter, where, for three hours, one whole team literally does not get on base. Which then is only exciting at the very end, but for those prior three hours… yikes. But, there are some big hitters in this series, and we’re bound to see a bunch of exciting home runs (aka the best part of the game).
- Laura: One of the reasons we love sports (“we” here meaning “humans”) is because it pushes back against the idea of physical limits. When athletes make incredible feats look easy, and natural, they allow us to forget, if only for a moment, about the realities that our bodies present limits. I think the reason we keep coming back to sports, even though more often than not they bring us heartbreak and misery, is because they offer the hope of that moment where what we long to happen will actually happen. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to hit a home run right now,” we think. And then, every great once in awhile, it actually happens. And the joy and wonder of it when it does–it makes all the disappointment worth it.
An opportunity to see which NYC-based celebrities act like they’re Mets fans rather than Yankees fans
- Lauren: We saw it happen in LA, when the Clippers got a lot better than the Lakers, and I’m sure we’ll see it happen in NYC, too. Just admit that somebody gave you free box seats and you took them. But don’t act like we didn’t see you in box seats at Yankees games when they were the better team…
- Laura: Plus, Chicago has WAY better celebrity fans. Eddie Vedder, John Cusack, Nick Offerman, BILL MURRAY. Although, I have to say, I really hope President Obama doesn’t try to pretend he’s a Cubs fan.
Chicago might burn to the ground again.
- Lauren: It’s probably time for this to happen again, right?
- Laura: Can we improve even further upon the grid system?! Seriously, I want the Cubs to win if for no other reason than I want to see how nuts Chicago can get. I promise you, there is nothing that will wake up this city (including an apocalyptic event) more than the Cubs winning the Series.
Jake Arrieta, Cubs pitcher
Daniel Murphy, Mets second baseman