LINCOLN PARK — What is it like to be a diehard Mets fan in Chicago right now?
Julie Bronder, 36, who runs the fan website ChicagoMetsFan.com and proudly flies a Mets flag from her Wrigleyville condo balcony, will tell you that she hasn't been the target of any heckling yet, which might be because the Mets have won the first two games against the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. Game 3 is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
"There hasn't been any trash talk or rudeness. But as [it] goes on, it could get interesting because now the Cubs are down two games," Bronder said.
The digital media producer moved from Queens, New York to Chicago in 2007. In the eight years Bronder has lived in Chicago, she has gone to every Cubs vs. Mets game at Wrigley Field except for one due to Lollapalooza.
"The Mets are the one true team to me," she said.
When she's not at the games, she's watching them with a sizable group of Chicago transplants at Racine Plumbing Bar & Grill, 2642 N. Lincoln Ave., a Lincoln Park watering hole that bills itself as a New York Giants bar and has quickly become the place to watch Mets games this playoff season.
Mina Bloom says there are Mets bars in Chicago:
Growing up, Bronder split her time between New York and Connecticut, eventually moving to Queens in 2001 after college. She credits her dad for her love of the New York team, recalling fond memories of taking the seven train with him to see the Mets play when she was a kid.
Looking for a change, Bronder moved to Chicago in 2007 with her then-boyfriend. Almost immediately she launched ChicagoMetsFan.com, a blog where she shares her personal experiences at the games and posts photos of the players in action.
"It's more of a personal site than a newsy site," Bronder said, adding that she's "not going to break down trades or games every day."
She also runs a Facebook group, Mets Fans in Chicago, which has nearly 200 members and has been rapidly gaining them since the Mets entered the playoffs.
Despite her extreme fandom, Bronder respects Cubs fans, especially since both teams are going through a renaissance right now.
"With both teams, there hasn't been a lot of excitement until this year and last year," she said. "They [have] a fanbase that gets it. It's not easy to be good or stay good."
On the age-old Chicago vs. New York debate, Bronder said both cities have their strengths. Chicago is more affordable, but New York pizza is a "thing of beauty," she said.
But when asked if the Cubs deserve to win because of how long the team and its fans have suffered without a World Series win, she gave an unequivocal answer.
"No. The Cubs have had it worse than the Mets. But it's the Mets' time for the same reasons. We could've been in the playoffs in 2007 and 2008," she said.
The last time the Mets won the World Series was 1986.
Bronder is confident that the Mets will come out on top this series — but not that confident. She doesn't think the Mets will sweep; she predicts the Cubs will win one or two games.
"The Cubs just put their two best pitchers out. Who are their next two big pitchers? I think there's question marks there," she said.
Bronder will find out firsthand at Tuesday's game, where she'll likely be one of the few fans who won't be decked out in Cubbie blue.
If the Cubs were to come back and win the series, Bronder said she'd "feel good for the Cubs and their fans for sure."
"You see your team through the highs, lows and injuries. You hope your team eventually rebounds and you get to be a part of it as a fan," she said. "Being a fan right now is great."
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