The Cubs are one of the most popular teams in Major League Baseball, along with the Yankees and Red Sox, and you can find Cubs fans in most any MLB park, whether Chicago is playing or not — I saw multiple Cubs shirts or jerseys at a recent Braves-Nationals game in Atlanta, because a trip to the ballpark is an excuse to represent any baseball team, I guess.
This has long been the case and there are a few reasons. First, like the Braves before TBS stopped broadcasting games, Cubs games are available on WGN across the country. So, if you live in an area without a local team, you probably found yourself watching the Braves or Cubs — or maybe the Yankees more recently on YES. There’s also the whole “lovable losers” thing that they had going for so long, and now they’re a great team to root for if you like winners, having won the World Series last year and having a great young core group of talent.
There are lots of reasons for people to hop on the Cubs bandwagon, but in the world of sports fandom, there are few things that get diehards more upset than bandwagon fans, and it’s the case for fans of that team and others. Bandwagon fans aren’t seen as “real” fans, because they weren’t there for all of the heartbreak and couldn’t tell you the starting rotation from 2007 or whatever. For opposing fans, seeing people rooting for the rival in their team’s city upsets them as well.
In Cincinnati, the Reds decided they would make fun of the Cubs fans in attendance with a between inning “Bandwagon Cam,” which just showed people in Cubs gear with different jokes underneath them on the JumboTron.
I’m sure it made Reds fans happy, which is the goal, but I would like it if sports fans could accept that some people aren’t inclined to love the hometown team just because it’s the hometown team and that casual fans exist and will support a team that they might just find fun, which is OK too.