If you're a Cubs fan of the dedicated, knowledgeable sort, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're a Cubs fan of the flighty, drunken sort, you might not have a clue. But that's OK. Because the sign is there all the same: The "Anno Catuli" sign atop a building over right-center field, and its companion, the Eamus Catuli, have been there since 1995, the same message adorning their blue and white and red fronts: "Let's Go Cubs," and "Man, Do The Cubs Really Suck At Winning Baseabll. That latter is a rough translation.
This year -- in particular, this weekend -- marks yet another milestone in the history of the AC sign. It's the first time the sign has hit triple digits in the year column, pushing the rest of the formulation a year to the left. Fun!
Bleed Cubbie Blue has a couple photos of the signs, but more importantly, a link to a previous argument Al Yellon made about the AC sign itself. Al, buoyed by a commenter, believes the sign celebrates failure and should be taken down:
But what does that sign actually do, other than to remind us how bad the Cubs have been for a century? You may remember that when Cubs chairman Crane Kenney suggested that the Cubs might stop flying the "L" flag after losses at Wrigley Field, I criticized that idea (and in fact, they never did stop doing this). There's a difference, I think, in what each of these symbols means. Flying the "L" flag after a home loss says only, "We lost today." It's taken down before the next game.
The AC sign says, "We have sucked for 100 years and we're going to remind you of it not only during home games, but every single day of the year," since the sign stays up year-round (though as of yesterday, it hadn't been changed and in past years, it hasn't been changed until well after the next calendar year has begun). It celebrates failure.
It's a good point. The signs with positive messages can stay, but the attitude that underlies the Anno sign is one that, if not celebratory of failure, certainly takes an unhealthy interest in it. It's that sort of attitude that Cubs fans should be guarding against. No one wants this franchise to, against all odds, eventually win, only for people to be silly and claim the Cubs have lost their identity, or that their fans don't know how to be winners, that sort of thing.
The Red Sox have battled through that, and done so well. For the Cubs to finally redeem themselves, they'll need to do the same.