I try not to spend that much of my time ripping things to pieces that Al Yellon has written. Â Frankly, I just don’t have the time. Â Even the shut-ins who actually frequent his site don’t have that kind of time. But sometimes, he tees one up so perfectly that I can’t resist.
He did today. Â It’s the 10th anniversary of bleedcubbieblue.com making Cubs fans dumber. Â Congratulations, Al. Â As if this fanbase needed more terribly thought out material to glom onto. Â You know, Desipio will be 18 years old in July. Â If you count the five years I basically didn’t write anything, it’s still older than Bleed Cubbie Blue. Â But anyway. Â How did Al celebrate his site’s big birthday?
He took his inspiration from George Castle, a first order nitwit in his own right, and decided to write an alternate history of a Cubs season.
Now, since his site is ten years old, you’d expect he wrote about something that happened in the last ten years, right? Â You don’t know Al, apparently.
Instead of writing about what would have happened if, say, Ryan Dempster hadn’t shit himself on the mound in game one of the 2008 NLDS, or what if Manny Ramirez wasn’t chock-full-o-steroids in that series, he decided to write about…and I’m not making this up…what if the Commissioner’s Office had upheld a Cubs protest of a game on June 30, 1969.
See, Castle apparently wrote an e-book two years ago featuring alternate histories of all manner of Cubs fuck ups over the years. Â Al is apparently the only person who read that book. Â Wait, I take it back, I’ll bet Al didn’t read it either, he just co-opted the idea.
So it got me to thinking.
What if, on February 9, 2005, SBNation picked anybody else to run their Chicago Cubs blog. Â What if Bleed Cubbie Blue never existed? Â What kind of a world would be living in now?
I will argue that Bleed Cubbie Blue is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the perception of Cubs fans and the knowledge base of a particularly vocal group of those fans. Â It all stems from the top.
Yellon is, at best, not a very good or very interesting writer. Â Both of those are key parts of running a good website.
But he’s so much less than that. Â He’s also thin skinned, vindictive, paranoid, boorish and over-reactionary. Â He includes a discussion thread at the end of every entry on the site, but he does not really want discussion. Â What he wants is for people to voice their agreement with whatever is written in the article. Â Those who don’t are browbeaten and then banned.
So, what if there had never been a Bleed Cubbie Blue? Â What if Al devoted his time solely to outing the evil cabal that monopolize the letters to the editor submissions to Superman fan magazines?
How would we know we’ve crossed the line in our Internet commenting, or maybe we just leave some sort of tangible evidence that we might occasionally read things written by those who might have crossed the line? Â Banning is not punishment, it’s a life lesson. Â We all need someone to teach us those lessons, no matter how petty or obtuse the lessons are.
What would the world be like if we had no where to go to see updated photos of the same construction site every day, even when nothing new has happened on it?
How would we be able to function if there wasn’t a place to see what the Cubs record is when a self-appointed voice of the Cubs fan wears certain hats to the games?
Would there be a place to read recaps of games played by Cubs minor leaguers which never contain any cumulative details of what they’ve done on the season as a whole? Â Who needs context, analysis or perspective? Â We’ve got poorly written explanations of box scores from a guy who never sees any of the prospects actually play!
Where would the national media go when they needed a quote from an erstwhile ‘typical Cubs fan?’ Who could speak with authority on issues as diverse and exciting as “What if the ivy doesn’t grow back right away?” Â “How much would we miss the urinal troughs if they weren’t around anymore?” Â Who would pat the Cubs on the back for setting spring training attendance records, for “getting it right” when they did innovative things like nail a few “Respect Wrigley” signs to the wall in front of the first row of bleacher seats? Â Who would publish 3,000 words on the weird “caretaker’s house” that the Cubs had to airlift away from Wrigley during the renovation?
Where would we all go to share memories that we think maybe our grandparents might have told us about the time they think they saw Ernie Banks in line at Woolworth’s?
Where could we (before our inevitable banning) engage in a discussion with the caretaker of the site when even the slightest disagreement with one of his observations would be met with the kind of irritated, snippy response that most people only provide when they’re trying to talk to you but instead are distracted by a painful, bleeding hemorrhoid? Â Their ideas are great and they are open to any kind of debate as long as you continually agree with them.
What would it be like for SB Nation to actually have a well-written and enjoyable blog for one of the most popular team’s in professional sports instead of a traffic stifling, ponderously written heap of obviousness, served with a heaping side of condescension?
How much less exciting would Cubs press conferences be without a bald man wearing a much too tight snap back Cubs hat and a bosom enhancing smedium t-shirt, standing in the back of the room, gently fondlingÂ all of the food in the complimentary spread, while his androgynous sidekick walks around holding a pen but no paper trying to look reporterly? Â Neither has any intention of actually asking a question, and when the questioning does start, “she” opens her purse, revealing it to be empty save for a large Ziploc bag that they begin shoving cold cuts by the handful into.
Who would serve as the full-time buzzkill when things start to go too well? Â Who will suck the life out of any excitement?
Here’s my fear. Â Without the morose, autocratic, festering abscess that is Bleed Cubbie Blue, his legion of dumb would have no place to congregate. Â These simpleÂ minded dolts happily (albeit ignorantly)Â eat the pablum that Al spoon feeds them every day and act like it’s insightful or interesting. Â What if they all ended up on sites that we actually enjoy reading? Â Oh, the humanity.
We don’t want Al perched atop the left field wall, but maybe we need him on that wall.
On second thought, we don’t need him. Â Nobody needs that.