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I am a Cubs fan in exile. I am a Cubs fan who lives in St. Louis.
I have to defend my insane loyalty a lot around here. After all, this is where a storied franchise of its own plays - one that has amassed 11 World Series championships, including two in the last six years.
Jesus! How is that even possible?
I was born, raised, and educated in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Ten years ago, my wife's job brought us to Missouri, and my job (firefighter) specifically landed us in St. Louis. I'm not likely to leave for, oh, another 13 year at minimum, given retirement rules. I don't know how I'm going to make it, considering what I've endured so far:
In 2003, the Cubs looked like they were on their way to the World Series when, well, you know what happened.
In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series - the last two games right here in St. Louis - to break their curse.
In 2005, the White Sox won the World Series.
In 2006, the Cardinals won the World Series.
In 2007 and 2008, the Cubs won the NL Central but failed to win a single post-season game.
In 2009, the Cardinals returned to division champs, though they failed to advance to the Series.
In 2010, former Cubs manager Dusty Baker led the Reds to the division title.
In 2011, the Cardinals won the World Series again.
And in 2012, Baker and Reds won the division while the Cardinals, as a wild-card team, made it to the NLCS. The Cubs lost 101 games.
When I tell people here that I'm a Cubs fan, the reactions generally range from pity to, well, more pity.
I do what I can around here. Unless the Cubs are playing the Cardinals, I only see my homies on WGN-TV or the occasional ESPN appearance. And WGN is no longer the ol' stand-by; I'm pissed at the Cubs for ever even thinking about negotiating with Comcast Sports Net, much less throwing a fair number of games over there.
My experience in exile manifests itself in other ways, too. For example, wearing a Cubs to the local watering hole is nothing compared to wearing it to pick up my
kids from school!
But this is the year it all starts to turn around. I finally received The Letter.
I put my name on the season tickets waiting list about 10 years ago. I never thought anything would come of it. Ever.
But last season, I had an epiphany. I realized that every miserable loss put me closer to getting my name called because every loss - theoretically, given the nature of Cubs fans - chased people out of the ballpark and off the waiting list.
And sure enough, my number came up.
Now my story is a little different. I am a Cubs season-ticket holder, and I live in St. Louis.
Jesus! How is that even possible?
We'll see. I do not share a ticket package; I own 81 all pairs of tickets by my lonesome. They literally arrived hours before I left for Phoenix on Thursday for a little spring training R&R.
I'm ecstatic about it. If that makes me an idiot, then I'm obviously cheering for the right team.
Obviously I can't use them all, but friends, family and StubHub will hopefully get me through. My goal is 10 games in person at Wrigley, to make up for the 10 seasons since I was last there.
Better would be getting another couple dozen games or so in to also make up for the 13-plus seasons I still have to go until I can live in Chicago again.
After all, I'm just a St. Louisan temporarily, but I'm a Cubs season-ticket holder until the day I die, even if it most likely will be the Cubs that put me in my grave.
* Letter From St. Louis: Stan Was Truly The Man
Dan Sheahan is our man in St. Louis. He welcomes your comments.