Traditions Stupider than Losing 101 Straight Years

It recently came to my attention that Wrigley Field had a successful demonstration of “The Wave.” I, of course, did not see this live because I am poor and do not have cable and Tom Ricketts reduced the Cubs WGN broadcast schedule. This reduces me to assuming the posture of the predictable sabermetrician: I must watch games via live Pitch F/X data or Win Probability Charts. Nerdy.

Anyway, news of the Wave intrigued me. Growing up in Florida and becoming a fan of the Cubs via WGN and my Indiana heritage, I really did not know of Wrigley’s unified hatred of the Wave. Upon discovering it later in life, I tried to unearth its causes. To my chagrin, very few people truly understand its source.

Many wrongly say: “We must not Wave lest we miss the action of our Glorious Sport!” If these people really cared about the baseball, I think they would rather do the Wave than witness the Cubs’ tragic play. More importantly, baseball is a slow and boring game. It is much like golf, but with momentum and more things to hit. Baseball has many slow points punctuated with several fast, exciting points.

The core of the matter: I hate when people advocate a policy they do not understand.

From my research, I have ascertained that disdain for the Wave began in the 1984 playoff series against the San Diego Padres. In that series, many superstitious Cubs fans blamed the Padres fans’ use of the wave for defeating the Cubs.

Yes. Cubs fans actually believed the Padres fans beat their team. And they believed this, effectively banning the Wave for nearly 15 years. That’s as dumb as, oh, running into a brick wall covered in ivy (yet another dumb tradition).

Who resists the Wave now? Uninformed fans or old and crotchety fans. People cut from the same fabric as those who threw beers at Steve Bartman for being human – people drunk on their own mightiness and delusional enough to believe baseball in Wrigley is a sacred rite and not a business opportunity.

I like the Wave. It’s great for pitching changes and commercial breaks and for lying to yourself that you might influence the game. It also provides a handy means for keeping kids from being tired or generally annoying. More kids means more attendance. More attendance means more payrolls, which means better chances of winning.

Moreover, the Wave feels somewhat magical and exciting. Its very premise – several thousand strangers acting in spontaneous cooperation – inspires. Simply put: the Wave is fun and baseball is fun. The two belong together.

So I say: Wave, Cubs fans. Wave.

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