London Series: How I fell in love with the Cubs – Harry Broster

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.

Next we speak to Harry Broster, aka @FantasyRookieUK.

When and why did you start following the Cubs? 

When I first started to show an interest in baseball, I had no idea where to start in terms of finding a team. One of my mates said that he just picked a city and then followed all of their teams for all sports. You’d think I would have picked a city that I’d been to a few times, but instead I chose to take the alternative route and pick a city that always seems to pop up in TV shows and movies that I watch – Chicago (Wayne’s World, Kenan and Kel, CM Punk, Blues Brothers… the list goes on).

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘how did you pick the Cubs over the White Sox?’, and it pretty much came down to the fact that the Cubs had gone by the name ‘The Loveable Losers’ for many years. I don’t know what that says about me, but I was just drawn to them. 

I started following about midway through the 2019 season, so my first full season was 2020, which was a bit strange given that the teams had to play in empty ballparks, but it provided a much needed distraction from the world at the time.

Have you been to Chicago?

I haven’t been to Chicago yet, but I do plan to go in the future. 

My wife and I have a two year old son, so won’t be going for a while, but I’m hoping we can experience Wrigley Field for the first time together as a family. I do think it will be quite emotional – my son was born three days before Opening Day in 2021, so we had a double celebration when the season kicked off! 

What’s the best thing about being a Cubs fan?

That’s an easy one – the fans. Whether you’ve been supporting the team your whole life, or if you’ve only been with us for one season; everyone is welcome. 

Who’s your all-time favourite Cubs player and why?

Now I know everyone is probably expecting me to say Rizzo (the 2021 trade deadline still cuts deep!), so I thought I’d be different and say Javier Báez. His attitude was different; he played with passion, wore his heart on his sleeve, and was essentially a one-man highlight reel. 

If you ever need to show someone how crazy a game can get, just show them his now infamous run-down play against the Pirates in 2021. It’s probably one of the funniest/best sequences you’ll see!

Tell us about your involvement with the MLB fan community in the UK

So, quite early on, I joined a fantasy league which I found through the MLB UK Community on Facebook and made the strange decision to make a Twitter for the team that I had. I’d taken part in a Fantasy NFL league previously, and fantasy baseball is a completely different ballgame (if you’ll pardon the pun). I haven’t manged to win it all yet, but I did win our Minor League-inspired team logo competition, so it’s the small victories that count.

The account quickly became less about fantasy and more about getting stuck in with the community – I really couldn’t get over how interactive and fan-oriented the MLB Europe accounts were and how much they engage with everyone. 

I also occasionally dip into the hobby, taking part in card breaks here and there. I haven’t had a huge hit yet, but I’m sure my time will come.

What are you most looking forward to about the London Series?

This will be my first live Major League game, so obviously that’s at the top of the list. But for me, I’d also say it’s the fact that we finally get the series that was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

It may be three years later, but I can’t wait for us to fly that W in London!

Photos: Subject’s own

Sean Guest is the Chicago Cubs correspondent for Bat Flips & Nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @SW_Guest

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