How many Cubs fans will you find inside the Golden Gallon gas station after midnight on a Wednesday night?

By Gus Bode

If it was last Wednesday around 12:10 a.m. in Monteagle, Tenn., the answer is nine.

There were my two traveling companions and I, the father and son and the three college-age guys and their female compadre in the gas station on top of the mountain in east Tennessee.

Cubs fans turned Atlanta and roads all over the South into a miniature Chicago, including this small gas station next to the Waffle House off I-24, about 160 miles northwest of Atlanta.


They were everywhere we stopped on our 450-mile sojourn to Georgia for game two of the National League Division Series.

A group appeared Wednesday afternoon at our lunch stop, a Chick-Fil-A in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and cars with Illinois plates piloted by Cub hat-wearing drivers were everywhere between Carbondale and Turner Field.

Sure, there are some jackasses among us, like the guy sitting several rows in front of me in the upper deck running up and down the aisle with a Cubs towel on his back and invoking the ire of the Braves faithful, or shall I say unfaithful.

Or the obnoxious group of fans mentioned by Atlanta sports radio hosts who were amazed they didn’t get pummeled.

But even with the bad apples, Cubs fans are still much better than Braves fans – both in fanaticism and intelligence level.

This place is not exactly a bastion of enlightenment. Georgians recently finished last in the United States in SAT scores for the second straight year, a fact that was evident inside Turner Field.

Their late-arriving fans must have gotten lost trying to navigate their rusty old pick-ups out of their mobile home parks.


The man sitting about a dozen rows below me was just one example. He was not exactly a picture of urban sophistication in his NASCAR jacket and Confederate flag bandana atop his head – inside of which was probably little more than an opossum and a partial memory of how to do the tomahawk chop.

How smart can a group of fans be when it needs constant reminders? The neon sign atop the scoreboard demonstrating the tomahawk chop was apparently not enough for the Braves fandom. A screen below the neon sign also displayed a hand doing the chop sometimes and a pair of hands clapping at other times.

It makes one wonder whether Braves fans would have been able to remember how to clap or do the tomahawk chop without the visual demonstration.

The Braves’ tomahawk chop has to be the worst cheer in sporting history. It’s bad enough that it enrages Native Americans, but it was also ripped off from Florida State. The FSU band’s version is even played over the public address system throughout the game, replete with the bandleader’s whistle blowing.

As Cubs fans, we don’t need any signs or piped noise directing us to get excited. We don’t need a flashy pre-game video introduction to our team; we already know our team.

And Cubs fans can fill up their own stadium without the help of the opposing team. But even if Braves fans had somehow summoned up the passion of Cubs fans and hit the road, most would never make it to Wrigley – they’d be thrown from the beds of their pick-ups en masse somewhere in the Appalachians.

And you can expect south Florida’s roads and gas stations to be packed with Cubs fans heading to the big non-descript stadium in Miami this weekend, where they’ll surely out-cheer the opposition once again.