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Elevated thinking, or fear of flying?
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

The Cubs are discussing ending the tradition of flying an 'L' flag when the team loses.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/27/2008 12:08 AM

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How is this for an "L" of an idea?

Or, alternatively, an el of an idea?

The Cubs are kicking around the idea internally of doing away with the "L" flag that flies atop the Wrigley Field scoreboard after a loss.

Tradition has it that whenever the Cubs win, they fly a "W" flag. Replicas of that flag are popular with fans around the ballpark and in house and apartment windows in and around the Chicago area.

The idea behind the flags is to give passers-by on the CTA Red Line train and those in the neighborhood the result of that day's game. It's a longstanding tradition that predates the Internet, cell phones and instant access to scores.

However, there's a feeling in the organization that the "L" flag is a negative because it "shouts out" a loss.

The idea of getting rid of the "L" flag isn't a new one. Ten years ago, relief pitcher Rod Beck talked in terms of negative karma with the "L" flag.

Of course, fans on the el will know if the Cubs lost if no flag is flying, but the Cubs feel they'll no longer be showing it off. Just call it part of the symbolism that began when John McDonough, now of the Blackhawks, took over as team president in October 2006 and proclaimed it the Cubs' singular goal to win the World Series.

Nothing has been decided yet, but stay tuned - and keep and eye on the scoreboard.