By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Does this bother you?
Then this probably bothers you, right?
And, oh boy, this has to rankle the holy heck out outta ya, huh?
So you hate fun. That’s quite all right, mostly because you’re a dying breed of sport curmudgeon and fascist purist of repressed emotion. History will mock you like your “devil’s music” rock-and-roll critic and “Parental Advisory” rap critic forefathers.
While a team sport, baseball is the most individual of them all. To expect players young or old to curb reflexive bursts of positivity in a moment of personal success, to immediately shut off the spigot of adrenaline without giving themselves a stroke, is both unrealistic and uncool.
Now, again, that check-your-emotion approach could be all fine and dandy for you as you rage against the dying of the light of antiquated tradition, you dusty sports person. But if that’s the case, you’re going to need to take a pass on hitching the wagon to the trip that is the 2015 Chicago Cubs, who at 72-51 are on track for their first postseason berth since 2008.
Because the Cubs are super fun. They’re a bunch of unique, goofy, independent individuals who just so happen to function together as a successful team fun. There’s little stoicism when good things happen. During and after games, good vibes are emitted by players instead of balled up and pushed way down in the pit of their guts. Baseball on the North Side isn’t played “the right way,” unless that means winning and enjoying yourself while doing so.
Like when reliever Pedro Strop, he of the cocked cap and Bob Costas wrath, dares to inject himself in a teammate’s walk-off homer moment.https://twitter.com/_MarcusD_/status/635922993009455105
Now that’s fun and spontaneous and an affront to delicate sensibilities everywhere. Which means it’s great.
Or how about when the much-maligned Starlin Castro dares to imitate a throwing motion on a ground ball fielded by rookie teammate Kris Bryant.
Doesn’t Castro know it’s not right to make light of fielding when he’s had so many lapses out there? Jeez. Luckily, his benching should minimize much of the potential for anything but his rightful shame instead of expression.
“I’ve seen a lot go on in a clubhouse, but it’s pretty fun in here,” veteran catcher and resident old guy David Ross said back in April. “We have a manager that encourages it, and we have a bunch of young guys that like to act like a fool.”
Catchers are supposed to be the stabilizers of decorum, aren’t they?
Guess not in Ross’ case. Just think of how he made the other team feel in his moment of exultation? Or don’t, which is incredibly easy to do.
At least there’s another old sat of a backstop like Miguel Montero.
Oh and I did kick Castro hahaha— Miguel Montero (@miggymont26) April 18, 2015
Montero’s social media presence has made him a cult hero of the 2015 season. He exudes goofiness and genuineness on Twitter and is nothing short of a delight.
Did you guys see how I ran to first in my walk lol— Miguel Montero (@miggymont26) April 22, 2015
While the players haven’t shied away from unabashed fun, neither has the team’s official Twitter account. Every day and every game involves the sentient online being tweeting out emoji- and GIF-filled pleasure. It has become one of sports’ most unstuffy accounts.
And @Cubs is nearly unmatched in its jovial interaction with fans.
@TimBaffoe Thanks for checking. It will be in the middle of the 3rd.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 16, 2015
Even sometimes the haters.
Best road record in baseball.https://t.co/P93qNAISzv— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 23, 2015
So the Cubs are not for the faint-of-fun-hearted. Run far away if you’re looking for anal-retentive, purse-lipped baseball on the North Side. Nope, not these guys. They enjoy winning too much to be stoic about it. They’re really the perfect team for fun.
Although, come to think of it, the Cubs are severely lacking in cool bat flips. Joe Maddon needs to get on the guys about that.
Well, except Montero.
That was a really good bat flip lol— Miguel Montero (@miggymont26) May 13, 2015
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.