CHICAGO — It's the flag Cubs fans don't want to see.
While the "W" flag has become ubiquitous -- unfurled at games after wins, flapping from front porches -- its counterpart, the "L" flag, keeps a lower profile.
Until this season.
On Sept. 4, for instance, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, a fan displayed a 25-by-25-foot blue flag with a white "L" after the Brewers beat the Cubs 11-1.
"I had it made overseas, as cheap as I could, about a month ago and wanted to come out to the first game (of the series), but we couldn't make it," Jay Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "As soon as I heard the Cole Hamels (comments), I had to go to the game. 'If you're going to say that, I'm going to go.'"
(Hamels had questioned how great a rivalry Cubs-Brewers could be if so many Cubs fans were in the seats at Miller Park.)
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Monday, Wrigley was rich with Brewers fans, and after the game, one hoisted a blue "L" on white flag behind the Milwaukee dugout.
The "L" and "W" flags had humble beginnings in the late 1930s as a way to inform evening "L" commuters passing by Wrigley Field about the result of that day's game.
For the record, the Cubs still fly the "L" flag after losses at Wrigley Field, as they did Monday afternoon.
A spokesman for Cubssuckclub.com, the website started in 2004 devoted to hating the Cubs, said that most of the "L" flags it sells go to customers in Milwaukee and elsewhere in Wisconsin -- but that White Sox fans are the second-biggest market.
"We elected to wait until 2017 to start selling L flags," the spokesman, who asked not to be identified, said. "The results were fantastic, as we could not keep them in stock. Then, we started seeing a lot of the flags all over ballparks."
On Monday, after the Cubs-Brewers game, the website savored the Milwaukee victory, or, perhaps more accurately, celebrated the Chicago loss.
"Biggest day since 1776," the site exclaimed. "#FlyTheL #FlyTheL #FlyTheL #FlyTheL."