A sports columnist’s mailbag: Cubs dislike, sports fights and playing softball

John J. Kim Tribune News Service Chicago Cubs fans celebrate a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, April 8. The Cubs won, 2-0.

Alex asks: Why do you take such joy in Cubs fans’ despair and conversely lament the happiness of such a tortured fan base?

Wow Alex, do you write poetry? That was a beautifully crafted question. 

OK, so I feel like I’ve been writing about the Cubs for weeks now. I take joy in Cubs fans’ despair because that’s how I was raised. When the White Sox win, it’s a good day. When the Sox win and the Cubs lose, it’s a great day.

Growing up, I witnessed my dad, on the day of a Sox win, get bothered if the Cubs also won. Some Cubs fans root for the team because it was the popular thing to do growing up. I would try to have intelligent conversations about baseball with Cubs fans’ and they would come back with some ignorant comment about how much the Sox sucked and how they played in a bad neighborhood and they didn’t want to go to the game because they might get robbed.

Some of the best memories of my childhood happened at U.S. Cellular Field, so when “Cubs” fans would tell me how much the place “sucked,” it got annoying. When the Sox won the World Series, I was watching in my house, packed with family and friends. Tears flowed after the final out, and everyone was smiling cheek to cheek.

When I went to school he next day, the first thing I heard from Cubs fans was about how my favorite team was irrelevant and how nobody cared and yadda yadda yadda.

I wish this wasn’t the case, but to some extent I have always associated Cubs fans with people who treated me poorly growing up. Nobody likes a bully.

So that’s why you won’t see me be happy for Cubs fans now that their team is having some success.

Emma asks: Sam, of the current Chicago teams, who would win in a fight a la Anchorman?

This question is especially appropriate after last week’s brawl between the Royals and White Sox. Fights in professional sports are really funny. If you think about it, you’re just watching a bunch of millionaires tussle. When sports teams fight, there are pretty much only negative outcomes.

Looking at the fight between the Royals and the Sox, we saw six suspensions handed down, including those of Sox starters Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale. White Sox relief pitcher Matt Albers broke his pinkie finger in the fight and had to be put on the 15-day DL. As fun as they are to watch, sports fights are dumb.

Now, let’s get to the original question.

As I’ve stated numerous times, baseball is my favorite sport, and the White Sox are my favorite team. That being said, there is no way in hell either Chicago baseball team would stand a chance in this fight, so we can immediately eliminate the Sox and the Cubs. 

So let’s take a look at the remaining major Chicago teams: the Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears. The Bulls, if healthy, MIGHT have a chance, but if we’re honest, I don’t see them staying healthy. 

I wouldn’t want Derrick Rose anywhere near a fight because of how injury-prone he’s been. Joakim Noah would be the most terrifying Bull to fight, but I could see Kirk Hinrich scrapping his way through a couple fights because he just never goes away. The Bulls would fight hard, but at the end of the day, they wouldn’t have the ability to take down the other teams.

Now we move on to the favorites, the Bears and the Hawks. This one comes down to who can sustain the most pain, and I think that’s indisputably the Hawks — just imagine Jay Cutler fighting Marian Hossa. The Bears would need to find a new starting QB. I mean they currently need to find a new starting QB, but that’s just ‘cause Cutler is bad.

Taking into consideration the pain that hockey players play through, and how fighting has always been a part of the sport, I see no reason why the Blackhawks wouldn’t come out on top.

Ted asks: How will you prepare mentally and physically for the upcoming softball season?

Ted is my uncle, and I play on his 16” softball team over the summer. (Shout out to the Raiders!) The league consists of mostly guys more than twice my age, don’t let that fool you, these guys can play. 

I consider myself to be the Dayan Viciedo of 16” softball.” I had a lot of hype coming into my career. I possess lots of raw power, but too often I swing for the fences when I should be just trying to make contact.

This summer, I’m going to try and shake off that Viciedo comparison, and become a better hitter. I have been running eight miles a day, meditating two hours every night and weight training for a few hours every morning. 

By running, I mean occasionally walking to a place where I am going to eat, by meditating, I mean multiple naps during the day and by weight training I mean I don’t actually lift. That being said, I can’t wait for the season to start. I am ready to enter my prime, and become one of the greatest 16” softball players the city of Chicago has seen.

Eliot asks: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of rap?

Had to think about this one for a long time, but here it is:

Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Drake, Black Thought.

Dang, this was tough.

Sam is a senior in Media.

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