To raise loyal fans, try tough parenting

Here are perhaps the two most important questions in the known universe:

How do we Sox fans make certain that our young, impressionable and gentle children don't grow up to be evil Cubs fans--Or, how do we Cubs fans make sure that our young, impressionable and gentle children don't grow up to be devilishly attractive Sox fans--

Well, I can help you, but only if you promise to follow my instructions to the letter. It involves the use of certain indoctrination techniques frowned upon by child welfare agencies.

So it will be difficult, yes. And the state bureaucrats might try to send you to jail. But if you do what I say, you'll have a happy family and your kids will visit you when you're a geezer and take you to a ballgame -- to the right ballpark -- with tickets in the sun.

Yet if you weaken, then your children will betray everything you stand for in baseball, and you'll end up impoverished, weeping piteously, on your hands and knees in some damp alleyway, fighting off packs of feral dogs as you scrounge for food.

Families can't be split in their baseball loyalties. Our nation's leading Sox fan, President Barack Obama, probably put it best when he launched his presidential campaign in Springfield, announcing that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Or maybe it was some other president who said that.

Either way, there's nothing more terrifying than watching parents lavish love and attention on their children, only to find out too late that once the little snots get to high school, they've become fans of the other team.

Even worse are the kids who grow up to be cat-dog fans, neither Sox or Cubs fans, but snivelers who cheer for both teams in the hope that people will like them. Such children blow with the wind, and no one likes such children.

They have no core, no integrity. And yes, it's always the parents' fault.

It's the cat-dog fan who grows up to wear earth shoes and whines about carbon footprints while you're cooking ribs over coals, and they make pathetic comments during the Sox-Cubs series, saying stuff like "Can't we love both teams and support Chicago and love each other--"

Such weaklings will be among the first to sell their neighbors to the secret police years from now, once we're finally conquered by China.

"Pick one team or another, love your team, despise the other, what's wrong with that--" says my friend David Kaplan, the WGN radio and Comcast SportsNet broadcaster who also happens to be an unrepentant Cubs fan.

Kaplan takes this quite literally. Sometimes he calls me at home in the middle of the night when I'm asleep, if the Sox lose a late game to Oakland on the West Coast.

"Kass, this is Kap!"

Wha-- Pleh--

"I know it's past midnight, John, but listen: Are you awake--"

No.

"Well, wake up, because your Sox just lost!"

Naturally, I try to return the favor as often as I can.

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