Fans take photographs on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, under the marquee at Wrigley Field ahead of the World Series. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Michael Tercha

A Cubs victory in the World Series could change the landscape for generations of sports fans like air flight did for Americans decades ago.

The Cubs were awful and never won a championship. We took that as a fact of life — death, taxes and bad Cubs baseball. Sure, the Indians — the Cubs’ World Series opponent — haven’t won a championship since 1948, but fans haven’t loved them so much for so long for being so consistently bad.

If Chicago wins, children growing up now won’t know them as Lovable Losers. To them, they would be a team that won a championship … and would be expected to win again.

Could the Cubs grow into the new Evil Empire? That’s just unthinkable.

Red Sox fans can understand. A friend loves the Red Sox and was a kid when they won the World Series in 2004. His father and grandfather grew up loving the Red Sox, too, and while my friend doesn’t really understand loving a team that never wins a championship, dad and granddad remember all too well. Dad remembers the heartbreak of 1975, 1978 and 1986. Granddad’s heart recalls 1946, 1948, 1949 and 1967. They were part of the legions who endured the heartbreak and took some pride in their unrequited love for the team.

My friend takes Red Sox championships for granted the same way he does cell phones and the Internet.

Also, how long before the Atlanta Braves become Lovable Losers again? Most college students weren’t alive when they last won the World Series in 1995. Most high school students weren’t alive when they last played in a World Series in 1999.

That’s another division between generations — those of us who still think of the Braves as a baseball powerhouse, and those who think of them as a hopeless franchise.


Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.