The 2016 World Series kicks off tonight and in case you’ve been living under a rock or have been dangerously consumed by the 2016 Presidential election (I’m sorry, that’s terrible) the series features the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. It’s a battle between two incredibly tortured and long-suffering fan bases, so there will be no shortage of interest and appeal, which is good if you happen to not be a fan of either team. Now because something like the World Series is generally more interesting and entertaining if you have a horse in the race, if you don’t have a team, sometimes you need some coaxing when it comes to picking one. If it comes naturally to you, if you find yourself just naturally drawn to one of the team for one reason or another, well then good on you.
But if you haven’t? Well guess what, Giddy Up America is here to help. I’m not going to attempt to steer you towards one team or the other. Nope. I’m just going to present some facts and let you decide for yourself. #journalism
Last World Series Win
The Cubbies last won in 1908, something that may or may not have been reported once or twice since they punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday. They beat the Detroit Tigers. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians last won in 1948 when they beat the Boston Braves, now known as the Atlanta Braves. My dad was born in 1948. I don’t know anyone who was born in 1908.
Last World Series Appearance
The Indians have a slight edge here, as they played in the World Series in 1997, losing to the Florida Marlins. You have to go all the way back to 1945 to find the last time the Cubs made it to the Series. The Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers. So if you’re keeping track, it’s been a while for Cubs’ fans. Does that make them technically more tortured? I guess so. Although to be fair, actual Indians have had a significantly harder go of it than actual cubs so take that for what you will.
Last Playoff Appearance
Okay, so if a non-sports fan were to read this statement: the Cubs made the playoffs last year, losing to the Mets in the NLCS, an argument could be made that hey, it really hasn’t been that long since they were successful. To which I would reply, you shut your mouth. Getting close only makes things harder, especially given the Cubs’ history. One of my worst sports-related memories was the Red Sox losing to the Yankees in the playoffs in 2003 because we were so effin’ close and it was yet another time the Sox came up short. If you’re in the middle of a drought, it’s almost easier to stay in the dumps than get a taste of the good life. Misery is easier if you don’t know what you’re missing.
It’s not as if the Tribe has been MIA from the postseason either. They last played in October in 2013, losing the Wild Card game to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Great Baseball Names
A great baseball name is a great baseball name for a couple reasons. The name sounds fantastically Americana or sounds wonderfully weird. Given the steady infusion of Latin-born baseball players, an amendment to this would be that name has a wicked Spanish twist to it. Most importantly, a great baseball name sound exactly like the name of a person who would only a be a professional baseball player. Both the Cubs and the Indians have some top notch baseball names on their teams.
Cubs: Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, John Lackey, Jake Arrieta, Aroldis Chapman
Hold up, how is their not a cop show out there that features two lead characters name Detective John Lackey and Detective Jake Arrieta. Damn it, television! Stop making Kevin James’ shows and do something that makes sense.
Indians: Mike Napoli, Francisco Lindor, Lonnie Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, Coco Crisp
In related news, Lonnie Chisenhall would also be included on a list of great plumber’s names.
Best Fictional Pitcher
If you can find a way to pick one of these guys over the other, then you are truly an American hero. The Cubs have Henry Rowengartner from Rookie of the Year, the lovable young buck who tweaked his shoulder and upon recovery, had himself a hell of a gun. I tweaked my shoulder and all I have is some occasional limited range of motion. Life isn’t fair.
The Indians of course have Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn from Major League. Charlie Sheen, who played Vaughn, made some waves recently when he responded to a social media call to action, saying he should throw out the first pitch at one of the Indians’ home games. Major League Baseball politely declined because Major League Baseball wouldn’t know a good time if it threw a high heater right at their head.
Ball Park Name
The Cubs play at Wrigley Field, which is how God intended the name of baseball stadiums/fields to be named. The Indians used to play at Jacobs Field, nicknamed the Jake, and that made sense. Of course the field was renamed Progressive Field in 2008 because it’s all about raking in that sweet, sweet cheddar son.
The Cubs are stacked in this department. There’s Bill Murray, Eddie Veddar, Vince Vaughn, John Cusack, Jake Johnson of New Girl, Billy Corgan and Wheel of Fortune’s own Pat Effin’ Sajack. Meanwhile, the Indians have…uh…Drew Carey. Of course LeBron James has been showing up at a lot of Indians’ games lately and sure, that’s cool. Nice to see he chose the right hat this time. Although, don’t get to pumped Tribe fans. James’ Indians’ fandom is like his hair line, receding. He’s reportedly still a Yankees’ fan first and foremost. You know, because LeBron James is still kind of a dork.
Voice of the Team
Let’s take more of a quasi-fictional turn here. The Cubs
have had Harry Caray in real life, but to most people, they have Harry Caray played by Will Ferrell.
Of course the Indians have Bob Uecker, who in real life, calls Milwaukee Brewers’ games, but more importantly, in Major League, called Indians’ games.
Yeah, tough call there.
Final Thoughts (as a Red Sox fan)
Truth be told, I for one am kind of torn when it comes to picking a team to root for and it’s due in large part to being a Red Sox fan. We generally make decisions on arbitrary subjects based on personal experiences and beliefs and picking between the Cubs and the Indians is no different for me. As a lifelong Sox fan, I know where Cubs’ fans heads are at and how they are feeling. Decades and decades of losing is not something a person can get over, nor is it something a person can ignore when they see someone else going through some serious sports pain and sports sadness. Cubs’ fans, I watched you in the NLCS and identified with your demeanor and the way you clasped your hands together and tugged into the brim of your well-worn baseball hat. The old people in the stands? Yeah, I saw my grandfather. I also love Cubs’ pitcher Jon Lester and have always appreciated a baseball jersey that prominently features pinstripes.
With that being said, I ride or die with Indians’ manager Terry Francona. He was at the helm when the Sox won in 2004 and 2007 and should have been there when the Sox won in 2013. Hell, he should still be there. But he’s not. He’s with the Indians. That makes me want to root for the Indians. The Tribe also has Mike Napoli, a driving force for the 2013 Red Sox and owner of one of the best beards in professional sports. And dude, Coco Crisp is on the Indians. That dude was a member of the 2004 Red Sox, my favorite baseball team of all time. Shit, this whole World Series is a parade of Ghosts of Red Sox Glory Past.
Kind of a win/win I guess.
In the end, I’ll simply root for the letter “C.”
Can’t go wrong with that.