Have you heard the story about the house cat looking at itself in the mirror and seeing a lion? Or the one about our perennial narcissist, Kanye West, insisting that he is in fact God? But my favorite is the one about the 285-pound, 42-year-old Mets pitcher who, I think, can be a dangerous batter. Just two days ago, the Mets pitcher, former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, hit a monster home run during a spring training batting practice session — Mets beat reporter Marc Craig claims it “took out a tree branch.” After setting his season high in hits last season — with eight — I can see a batting title in Colon’s near future. It’s no coincidence that Bartolo’s new contract has an incentive clause worth $50,000 if he wins the Silver Slugger Award.
It is widely assumed that professional athletes live glamorous lives and make excessive amounts of money. This is especially true within baseball, where major league players have inflated salaries because of their strong union representation, guaranteed contracts and that major league teams will have no salary caps. The average salary for a major league baseball player is just north of $4 million a season. At any time, there are 750 players in the major leagues, making a minimum of $500,000. To put that in perspective, the worst major league baseball player makes almost ten times the median family income in the United States.
So coincidentally this year I have written articles about the Mets and the Cubs, and here they are in a match-up against each other in the National League Championship Series fighting to make it to the World Series. The Mets last won the World Series in 1986 and the Cubs in 1908 (slight difference). Over recent years, fans of both teams have gained a sort of pity from fans of basically any other team in the league, but for different reasons. It’s time to play “Who’s had it harder, Mets or Cubs fans?”
On having to continuously maintain optimism for a team that doesn’t quite perform up to their fan base’s enthusiasm, I would say the Cubs have had that market cornered for a solid 108 years. Just the sheer amount of time that has passed since they have won a World Series would be enough for an average fan to lose hope.
Earlier this year, I wrote a column on how the Mets have been having a record breaking and whirlwind year. Today, I am writing about another team that is poised to have another landmark year, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are my hometown team and though I have not followed them religiously, it is almost impossible to ignore the reputation the Cubs have in the Major Leagues. Their miserable luck for the past 100-plus years is infamous. The TV show Scrubs had a killer line in illustrating the agony of being a Cubs fan with, “How depressing is it being you?
There is a rumor going on around the Daily Sun that I don’t show my face around the office as much as I probably should. And this is absolutely true. I have missed like ten billion meetings I was supposed to be at. But I did happen to go one Sun sports meeting this past week (to which my fellow editors exclaimed, “Shane’s here?!”) and I learned that I am allowed to use expletives in my column. This has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m writing about today, but fuck it.
It all started with a Wheaties box. One of my housemates is fond of the “Breakfast of Champions,” and I soon became intrigued by the box’s side panel. On it, Wheaties tried to inform their customers about the coverage of the MLB playoffs split between TBS and FOX. The side panel included a very confusing diagram, which had two intersecting lines, one for each network. The diagram tried to show that TBS had broadcasting rights for the Division Series and the NLCS and FOX had the rights for the ALCS and the World Series, but it ended up just confusing my housemates and I. The fact that it took us about two months to figure the diagram out was an ominous sign.