“We Believe” – A Review of the Cubs Documentary at the Music Box Theatre

Last Sunday at the Music Box Theatre, we ran “We Believe: A Relationship That Lasts a Lifetime (2009)”, a documentary about the Chicago Cubs.   After the film, I even got to co-host the Q&A.  Directed by John Scheinfeld, “We Believe” is a celebration of the devotion of a great city for its baseball team.   “We Believe” explores the relationship between Chicago, the Cubs and (at least for me) their absolutely inexplicably loyal fans.

 

Shot during the failed 2008 baseball season, “We Believe” documents the city and team as well as the 100th anniversary of the Cubs’ last World Series win while looking toward the team’s future. “We Believe” stars Lou Piniella, Hugh Heffner, Billy Corgan, Ernie Banks, Joe Mantegna, Ron Santo, current and former players as well as politicians, historians (one of which was my old boss at the National Baseball Hall of Fame) and their ever faithful fans. Scheinfeld gives the world a look into the unique city of Chicago and why its people are so passionate about the Cubs.

 

Even though there is another team across town…remember them?

 

Not being a native, I find Chicago history wildly interesting.  How Chicago went from frontier town to “The Second City” is a true American success story.  This film has footage of the city actually shot by Thomas Edison in the late 1800’s.  From a self-proclaimed history geek’s point of view, how awesome is that?!

 

“We Believe” is also the first documentary to be completely sanctioned by the team.  It also contains what is believed to be the only known footage of the 1909 Chicago Cubs. The story of how that footage was found is stuff right out of “National Treasure.”  As a self-proclaimed baseball geek, how awesome is that?! 

 

Scheinfeld’s opus to his beloved team seems to be the perfect storm of an awesome documentary but then the film began…

 

This promising documentary dissolves quickly into a self-loathing homage to a group of sad sack fans.  It celebrates and never questions why there is this culture of losing on as well as off the field.  During the Q&A, I asked Mr. Scheinfeld what makes the Cubs different?  I’m sorry Cubs fans.  Your team isn’t the only team in the history of sports to go through a comically long losing   streak.  He responded that Cubs fans and the Cubs franchise were that special and deserving of this attention because Cubs fans still root for their team when they lose.  

 

I guess Royals fans don’t?

 

Woah!  Why is that ok?  I’m not saying to dump your team at the first sign of a sweep by the Pirates.  What I’m saying is, maybe you shouldn’t go to the ball park and dump a hundred bucks on beers when the organization isn’t putting a winning team on the field.  Maybe if you stayed home and the franchised was forced to face those empty seats, they would invest more in the team.

 

Sure, I understand that for the past season or so, the franchise was facing bankruptcy and now the team is under new ownership.  However, what’s your explanation for the ninety-eight years before that?  Or better yet, what’s your explanation for the team’s lack of inactivity during this off-season (other than dumping Milton Bradley, a no brainer)?

 

Scheinfeld said that Cubs fans were different because they were generational.  What?  And Red Sox fans aren’t?  Would you like to tell that to my cousins in Lowell, MA?  What about those White Sox fans?

 

Yeah…that team across town.  You know, that other team with a comically long drought which still found a way to win five years ago?

2 Comments

The longer their winning drought goes, the more Cubs fans will revel in their misery. They think they’ve got a patent on losing? Far from it. They just do it so specatcularly at times, it’s taken on an art form. Has this documentary been given a wide release? I’d like to check out how much self-loathing a Cubs fan can muster.

Exactly. Being from New York, I get guff from Cubs fans all the time (ok, I get it. But do me a favor and stop blaming me personally for the Black Cat). Nonetheless, when they start on teams like the White Sox, Cubs fans just look absurd. I mean, the White Sox at least brought a championship to the city in the past five years. Come to think of it, they’re the ONLY team to bring a championship to the city of Chicago in the past five years.

Yes, the documentary is now in wide-release. It’s available from the MLB.Com shop (http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3770266). I would wait until it goes on sale though. Oy.

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