That’s not just because the Cubs lost their Opening Day game yesterday.
But it’s because they lost it in true Cubbie style—with a deflating letdown in extra innings after Kosuke Fukudome hit a dramatic three-run home run in his first Major League game to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth.
This is nothing new, of course. It’s been 100 years since the Cubs won the World Series. Yet the team has never been more popular—or beloved.
Arguably, there’s never been a more woeful product that has commanded such bullheaded loyalty. That just may make the Cubs the most potent consumer brand in the world. Certainly, it’s the most confounding.
Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano—channeling Yogi Berra—summed it up neatly after yesterday’s defeat: “It’s too bad we lost the game, but we have 161 more to go.”
There isn’t a Cub fan alive who doesn’t wince at the thought.