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April 17, 2009 at 9:00 am ET
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Straddling The Line Between Fanatics and Meatballs…. I Mean Illinois and Wisconsin

For anybody out there who wonders how I can practically live on the Illinois-Wisconsin border and not give a crap about any of their teams and 90% of their fans… keep reading.

There are enough sports rivalries between Illinois and Wisconsin — Bears-Packers, Bulls-Bucks, Badgers-Illini, Pretzels-Cheesemakers (that’s high school sports) — to keep fans at each other’s throats all year long, but it’s the recent heightened intensity of Cubs-Brewers that has everyone talking taunting bordering on fanatic/meatball status.

Apparently Brewers fans, at the encouraging of their flagship radio station (WTMJ), are on a crusade to “take back their stadium.”テつ After a quarter-century spent in a deep baseball slumber, it’s time to reclaim Wrigley North as their own Miller Park.

Brewers fans responded in droves during the home opening series with Chicago, outnumbering Cubs fans by an unusually wide margin and, unfortunately, outjackassing them by even wider margins.

A lot has been made — at least in the Chicago media — of the behavior of the Brewer faithful.テつ Initially I dismissed the talk as boohooing Cubs fans getting a taste of their own medicine and not liking the flavor.テつ Usually it’s they who own stadiums — act how they want to act, say what they want to say — wherever they go.テつ Obviously it went a little further than that this past weekend.

It was a scene described by sane and sober Cubs and Brewers fans in attendance, and even a Miller Park employee, as a drunken mess.テつ A cesspool of beer-swilling, foul-mouthing, finger-gesturing asshats.

Well that doesn’t sound too bad.テつ That’s your typical Little League crowd these days.テつ Oh wait, there’s more.

670 AM The Score in Chicago dedicated an hour of programming to eye-witness accounts of the activities.テつ Among the incidents reported (and it can’t be completely proven it was entirely Brewers fans):

  • Relentless verbal attacks (colorful language) on both young and elderly fans.
  • Gesturing and taunting of pre-teen female Cubs fans to perform sexual acts.
  • Throwing items.
  • Pouring beer on fans/down their shirts.
  • Tampering with vehicles.
  • Dumping charcoal ashes in front of Illinois plated cars.
  • Pieces of broken beer bottles placed under cars and tires.
  • One fan reported being intentionally cutoff in their vehicle.

Certainly these, umm, geniuses were never urged — by WTMJ or anyone else — to conduct themselves like hooligans, but is anyone really surprised the message was misinterpreted?テつ You have to be extra careful how you word things because there are just too many who are incapable of proper perspective.テつ Multiply their lack of judgment by 1,000 when they are wasted.

I admit I have a difficult time ever feeling too sorry for Cubs fans.テつ They walk around with “Kick Me” signs taped to their backs that they put there themselves.テつ They love the attention.テつ Being loud and obnoxious is their whole MO.

They love to be kicked when they’re down just because it gives them attention.テつ Most of us love kicking them when they’re down because it feels damn good.テつ That’s fine, everybody’s happier that way.テつ But what happened in Milwaukee is beyond the realm of rivalries and trash-talking.テつ It couldn’t have been satisfying for anybody.

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