It was the summer of 1984 and I learned that I hated the Chicago Cubs.
In my area, there was only one station that aired Transformers in syndication; that was WGN, which was known as “the Chicago Channel” in my region. Back in the 1980s, it was a bit of a crapshoot as to what channel might get what syndicated show and there weren’t any guarantees. My local CBS station was the home of He-Man and She-Ra, while WGN was home to GI Joe and Transformers, among other offerings. But there was no universal children’s channel, no cartoon network, nothing that codified these shows and aired them in one place. They were scattered around various stations, blown about on the winds of syndication.
In some ways, that was fine: you knew which channel had what and could plan accordingly. But in the case of Transformers, things got a little messy.
During the school year, there weren’t any problems; Transformers aired daily at its normal time. But in the summer, things were different.
Summer meant baseball. Cubs baseball. Nowadays that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but this was the Eighties. Wrigley Field didn’t have lights.
Every damn game was a day game. Which meant there were numerous times when Transformers was preempted. Which meant there were a lot of days I felt like throwing a shoe at the television. Or flying to Chicago and taking a massive dump on the pitcher’s mound. Ugh. I lost count of how many times I saw the Cubs lose and lose badly.
Most of the time, I knew there was no point in sticking around; it was the seventh inning or so and I knew that the game wouldn’t end in time for me to get any quality time with Bumblebee. But then there were the days when the game ended at 15:30 and I had hope… which was quickly dashed during the postgame show that lagged on for an hour too long. (Seriously, the Cubs were pretty terrible back then and overanalyzing how badly they sucked in order to lose that game was just ridiculous to nine year old me. Because they lost a hell of a lot more games than they won!)
It didn’t take long for me to develop a deep resentment for baseball and a burning hatred of the Chicago Cubs. They were keeping me away from Bumblebee, so I learned to detest both. I also learned that I had an appreciation for the school year; baseball was over in the fall so I could be guaranteed time with the Autobots then.
About a year after the last episodes of Transformers aired, there were rumblings about putting lights in at Wrigley Field. The purists hated it: Wrigley should be home to nothing but day games, in their eyes. Me, I was cheering for the idea of night games in Chicago. As far as I was concerned, they could hold every last Cubs game at midnight and it wouldn’t have broken my heart at all. I didn’t like baseball and I liked the Cubs even less.
Times have certainly changed.
In the years following, I’ve developed a deep love of baseball and I’ve become a passionate Brewers fan, mostly due to Prime and his own love of the game. Twenty years ago, during one of our many phone calls, he told me that he was a Milwaukee Brewers fan.
He also said that the Cubs were rivals. So I immediately fell in love with the Brewers. Because I still can’t stand the Cubs.
It’s been thirty five years and I still love Bumblebee. But to this day, I still hate the Chicago Cubs. The more things change, the more they stay the same.