Memo to Cubs Fans: Don’t Block the Plate

May 13, 2011

The state of Illinois hopes to be selling vanity and personalized license plates featuring the St. Louis Cardinals team logo and colors in the very near future.

If Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has his way, the Cardinals will join Chicago’s Blackhawks, Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and White Sox as part of program to sell plates in order to raise money for education.

As could be expected, the measure has been met with some major grumbling by politicians, media types, and fans in the northern part of the state, even being referred to as “blasphemy” in some circles.

The opposition’s main point of contention: The Cardinals are from the state of Missouri, not Illinois.

This seems a tad irrelevant. For one thing, you’d think a state as broke as Illinois would be okay with selling Manchester United license plates if they made money, let alone wringing their hands over a team that resides just across a river and has several million of its fans living within its own borders, paying taxes for things like White Sox stadiums they’ll never visit.

It makes you wonder if an effort to block the Cardinals from being added to the program is in the works.

If that happens though, I for one think downstate Illinois Cardinals fans should respect the wishes of the citizens of their state. This is a democracy, and the majority rules.

Besides, while the state can dictate which professional sports teams it will feature on personalized license plates; it can’t (completely) tell you what to put on those plates.

So if you’re a Cardinal fan living in Illinois, and you find yourself unable to buy Cardinals vanity license plates, maybe you buy Cubs plates that celebrate one of the team’s many famous collapses.

Or perhaps, as an Illinois Cardinal fan, rather than focusing on a specific event of failure, you’d like your personalized Cubs plates to be more of a general commentary on the condition of Cubs baseball for the past century-plus.

A Cardinal fan living in Illinois could also take the more direct approach – short, succinct, and to the point.

So fear not, Cardinal fans of Central and Southern Illinois. Being restricted to having only Illinois professional teams on your license plates wouldn’t be the worst thing. Being born a Cubs fan would.

Just remember, there may be a limit of seven characters on the Cubs plates, but there’s no limit on the Cubs’ ineptitude.