Nowhere in America is civic pride tied so closely to a city's sports teams than the fine town of Chicago. But these are no fairweather bandwagoneers, no sir. Politicians, businessfolk, and religious leaders alike even claim allegiance to the Cubs, who have stunk for longer than your nana has been alive. West Addison and Old Style, amirite? Win or lose, Chicagoans love to hate and hate to love their Cubbies.
So when news came out that a major city's baseball team would be supporting that same city's gay pride parade, I wasn't really surprised to learn it'd be the Chicago Cubs. I was surprised, however, to learn who the Cubs representative on their big gay float would be:
Sunday's parade will be different, with the Chicago Cubs entering a float and a player from the NHL champion Blackhawks set to tote the Stanley Cup down North Halsted Street.
The Cubs' participation was encouraged by new owner Tom Ricketts, who wanted the Cubs to be seen as "good neighbors," a team spokesman said.
While players from this year's lineup won't be on the team's float -- they'll be busy playing the White Sox -- "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks will.
Wow! They're not pulling any stops! You simply cannot get a bigger and better representative for the Cubs than THE Ernie Banks. But the dude is nearly 80 years old...has someone sat him down and explained exactly what sort of parade he'd be participating in? I'm not saying Ernie Banks would be against the gays, but really, gay pride parades are not normally the most...uh...restrained affairs.
Either way, I'm thrilled that a MLB team (and a championship hockey team!) are embracing the alternative lifestyle community in the Second City. Professional sports have a reputation of being both closeted and homophobic, which is bad. This is a step in the right direction, though.