By Bob Marshall
Feature photo by Isaxgonzalez
I’m going to start this out with an important disclaimer: I’m not a Cubs fan. As a young man raised in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers are my holy sports trinity, and the great people of Chicago and my three-block distance from Wrigley Field are never going to change that. With that out of the way, stop your yelling and let’s continue.
I moved to Chicago two weeks ago seeking a post-collegiate reprieve from Madison and hoping to satisfy my thirst for adventure. When I arrived in the city, I was completely struck by the amount of diversity in Chicago. It’s quite a far cry from the still horribly segregated conditions of Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that famously Photoshopped a black man onto the cover of its undergraduate course catalog. As a Chilean man, I feel Chicago is a place where I cannot only fit in but also become an integral part of my diverse community no matter what part of the city I’m in.
This brings me up to earlier today. I was watching the six o’clock news and saw a story about protesters outside of Wrigley Field getting signatures from the Cubs-faithful to encourage the ballclub to move its spring training from Arizona to Florida. Obviously, the protesters were doing this in response to Arizona’s new immigration law SB 1070, which encourages law enforcement officers to use racial-profiling tactics in order to catch illegal immigrants. Cubs’ spring training brings in $130 million to Arizona, and relocation would be a massive blow to the local economy. Some supporting the move mentioned that the Cubs have Latino players on their team (Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, etc.) who, believe it or not, look Latino enough to be questioned by police in Arizona. Still, others voiced that, “It’s a stupid thing because it has nothing to do with Arizona laws. It’s just baseball. It should be kept separate.”
While the latter sort of protester is right that it has little to nothing to do with baseball, he misses the fact that it’s about people, just like baseball. Hell, Cubs haven’t won a World Series in like a billion years, but they’re still around and selling-out their old-timey stadium. For whatever reason, every home game has people from all over the North Side and the north suburbs tuned into their televisions, radios, computers, and cars in order to support the team they couldn’t live without. People are vocal in their support of the Cubs, and their actions have kept their team around for over a century.
As I walked to the stadium to find the signature takers, I thought about how great it is that I live in a city that has individuals unifying sports and racial equality. After all, if this was Arizona, I might have been stopped by police on my way back home.