Attend an MLB meet-up in the UK and you’re likely to meet a whole bunch of Cubs fans. Maybe it’s because of their 2016 World Series win, or their UK-friendly 1.20pm starts, or perhaps it’s because of beautiful, historic Wrigley Field.
Whatever the reason, the Cubs are well-represented over here. And as they’ll soon be heading across the Atlantic for the 2023 London Series, we thought we’d speak to some UK Cubs fans to find out why they started following the team, who their all-time favourite player is, what they’re most looking forward to about seeing the Cubs play here in the UK, and more.
When and why did you start following the Cubs?
I started following the Cubs after my friend, Sarah, and I were chatting during one of the Covid lockdowns. She grew up in Chicago and is a massive (multi-generational) Cubs fan, so when I said I was bored she told me to watch a game. The rest is history and I’ve barely missed one since.
The first game I ever watched was a Cubs-Brewers game that we won! I’m pretty sure Rizzo struck out every at bat and I was left thinking ‘who is this guy?’ His jersey ended up being the first I ever bought.
You visited Chicago for the first time last year. How was it?
Almost indescribable. The first time I stepped onto the corner of Addison and Sheffield and saw the flags fluttering in the breeze – just like Pat Hughes (The Cubs’ radio play-by-play announcer) describes – I nearly cried! I managed to catch six games in five days and left with a .500 record, which I was pretty happy about. Wrigleyville is just magical.
And then there’s Chicago as a city! I always say to people when I try to explain how much I love it – it’s one of very few places in the world I could see myself living. Kind and generous people, fantastic food, and the greatest sports city in the world.
What’s the best thing about being a Cubs fan?
Where do I start? The community, the team, the history, the ballpark… I could go on forever.
For me personally, the Cubs community on Twitter has been incredible. I’ve met lifelong friends there, found support in difficult times (normally Cubs based!), and made even more special connections. It’s made me the Cubs fan I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s a family.
Who’s your all-time favourite Cubs player and why?
Number 44 himself, Anthony Vincent Rizzo. For LIFE! This man was a modern-day Mr Cub, and I’m still not over that trade deadline. His heart was on the field every single game, and he cared so much about our city.
Why did you get involved with the UK Cubs fans Twitter account?
I got involved just before Christmas 2021. I’d had my own baseball-focused account for a little while and obviously followed the work Mike and Joe were doing on there and was a huge fan.
The boys reached out to me over the holidays and asked if I would be interested in helping out and I couldn’t say yes fast enough! It was a massive honour to be invited in, and I was (and still am) so excited every day to share my love of the Cubs with other UK fans.
Tell us about your involvement with the MLB fan community in the UK
I’m incredibly lucky to be part of the team behind the MLB UK Community Twitter page, so my involvement is pretty heavy! The work I do with George, Nick and Jack has been so much fun.
The highlight absolutely has to be the meet ups we run for UK fans – they’re brilliantly well attended and Cubs fans always turn up en force! I think it’s often overlooked, but the baseball community over here is increasing in size weekly, and it’s such a wonderful, diverse and knowledgeable crowd. Getting to interact with that community every day – and being a part of it – is just brilliant.
What are you most looking forward to about the London Series?
Tricky one. I think, for me, it’s two-fold. There’s the pure and unabashed excitement for there to be Major League Baseball in London and to see the UK community out in action, but there’s also the thrill of seeing my own team play in my home country!
Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson… I could go on and on, there’s just so many players I’m looking forward to seeing out on that field. It’s going to be magical… and the Cubs? They’ll be sweeping.
Photos: Subject’s own
Sean Guest is the Chicago Cubs correspondent for Bat Flips & Nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @SW_Guest