It ain’t easy for Dodger fans these days. Their team is bankrupt and closer to last place than first. Heck, finishing .500 this season would take a miracle.
Disgruntled Dodger fans could survive it all if they just adopted a game played by a loyal Cub fan and his buddies.
To understand the depths of the Chicago Cubs’ futility, one merely has to know one fact: It’s been more than a century since the last championship season for the North Siders.
Since the Cubs beat the Tigers in the 1908 World Series, Wrigley Field was built and is now the oldest park in the league. Legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray was born and has died since the last time the team hoisted a trophy. Holy Cow!
Through it all, the team continues to draw fans; during the championship drought, Wrigley Field is routinely filled to 90% or more of its capacity for Cubs games.
So how do fans at the Friendly Confines stay focused on a team that just won’t win?
For Peter Korellis and his buddies, it’s a matter of bringing some money, an extra hat and rooting for the home team.
Every Friday during the summer, Korellis and his friends make their way to Wrigley and watch their favorite team play. But they don’t merely watch the game, they wager on every batter.
They do this according to the strict rules of the sacred game they call, “The No-Limit Cubs Hat Game”.
Even with the heat and humidity of Chicago’s summers, sitting next to Korellis as he and his friends play the hat game is a treat. He serves as a sort of unofficial commissioner of the game, referring to the rule book kept digitally in his Blackberry phone.
Korellis and the rest of his party each ante six dollars into the hat which is passed to each of the hat-game’s players. Each player holds the hat for one batter, placing a wager before passing the hat to the next player.
The mandatory betting and complex set of rules keeps everyone focused on what’s happening on the field.
“We certainly pay attention to the game, discuss strategy and root, root, root for the Cubbies,” says Korellis.
For fans of a team with a century-long championship drought, the hat game provides another essential.
“Even on crappy games the No-Limit Cubs Hat Game keeps it interesting,” the gregarious Korellis admits.
Sometimes the pot in the hat gets big. Korellis tells the story of a first-time hat-game player who insisted on betting the maximum each time the hat was in his possession, losing more than $1,000 in the process.
“It was a little ridiculous, but a wager is a wager and it took him a couple of years to pay everyone off.”
The No-Limit Cubs Hat Game gets Korellis and company through the season no matter the Cubs’ win-loss record.
For the good-natured Korellis, it’s not about the wins and losses, it’s about the overall experience.
Following his lead might aid down-in-the-dumps Dodger fans.
“There’s nothing better than leaving work early on a Friday, sitting in the stands with your best buddies on a warm day with a cold beer, watching the Cubs, and doing a little side wagering.”
If you want a detailed copy of Peter Korellis’ rules of the No-Limit Cubs Hat Game, send Jim an email.
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