On fan interference

I cannot let the Cubs’ spectacular meltdown yesterday go unnoted. It’s always fun to witness great moments in the history of sports. A new Chicago-based culture blog that Luke recommends (also linked to in the blogroll below) asked for comments on the fan preventing an out at a time when the Cubs desperately needed it. Here is Luke’s contribution:

I’m as woebegone as any Cubs fan, and, yes, if it weren’t for that play, we’d all be mopping up the champagne right now, but I have to absolve the fan.

Having had the pleasure of sitting in such premium seats once or twice, I know the mindset it puts you in. With every single pitch, you’re praying for a foul to come to you. You have one hand in your glove and one hand on your cell phone, ready to call your buddies on national television. Then, when a ball finally comes your way after eight innings of silent pleading, your only thought is, “OhmygodIgotit! OhmygodIgotit! OhmygodIgotit!” Unfortunately, this focus crowds out all reason and logic, and no fan can be expected to be very thoughtful in the few seconds it takes for the ball to cut a parabola from the plate to his seat. “Let’s see: Marlin runner on second, one out in the eighth of the most important game in 19 years. I should probably let someone in a white uniform handle this. Tra la la.”

Keep in mind that if it were a fair ball and the runner were on first, such focus (read as, fan interference) would have prevented a run by limiting all advancement to two bases. It takes a special awareness to know when and when not to interfere, and the fans at these postseason games may be the most well-heeled, but they’re not exactly the most knowledgeable or attentive.

What the guy should be beaten for is wearing a green turtleneck with a navy-blue sweatshirt. Queer eyes to Sec. 6, Row 11, Seat 9, stat!

See, I can’t fault the fan for being a fan, and I can’t even fault the Cubs shortstop for botching a certain double play. But to have both happen in the same inning and the Cubs give up eight runs after seven innings of shutout ball tells me one thing: the curse is real. And of course it had to be a Cubs fan implicated in the Cubs’ demise. How much more obvious does the Higher Power have to make it?