Leading the League in WTF

April 6, 2012

Thank you for this image, Sun-Times, I guess.

I never wanted this blog to become just another place on the Internet where a baseball fan whines about traditional media. That’s partly because I’m still technically a member of the traditional (read: ink and paper) media myself, but also because there are so many sites out there who do a much better job of it than I could. However, to mark Opening Day I wanted to get something off my chest, and hopefully I won’t feel the need to keep coming back to the cubject for the rest of the season.

The Cubs lost today, 2-1, to the Nationals to kick off the 2012 campaign. Losing a one-run game thanks to some really bad bullpen work isn’t a surprise for us anymore. Being unable to generate more than one run of offense isn’t really that shocking, considering the lineup the Cubs put out on the field. Having a ninth-inning rally killed due to some questionable managerial decisions and odd baserunning is old hat. I know this because everyone I know who was watching the game had pretty much the same reaction: “Of course.”

That’s not the way the local sportswriters saw the reaction, though. The Tribune’s David Haugh said this on Twitter:

Nats take 2-1 lead and 41,176 people at Wrigley scramble for the calendar on their phone to make sure it’s indeed 2012.

In the Sun-Times, Rick Telander somehow knew what we were all thinking:

Cubs fans’ devotion to him, without a game under his Armani belt, is profound and nearly fatalistic.

Really, now.

The writers in this town seem to be working under the delusion that Cubs fans have wildly different expectations about 2012 than 2011, and it’s all because of Theo Epstein. We’re supposedly expecting Epstein to suddenly turn the Cubs into contenders just by virtue of their being in proximity to his brainwaves. And, after one game, we’re left stunned and stupefied when the 2012 Cubs look an awful lot like the 2011 Cubs. We’re so blinded by our worship of Epstein – a mere executive! – that we’re unable to process reality properly. Allow me to retort in a manner befitting the level of discourse:

NO U!

Yeah, there were a lot of jokes about how “the honeymoon’s over” for Epstein in Wrigleyville because of a crummy Opening Day loss, but those were pretty easily identified as jokes. Ha ha, no one really wants Theo fired because of one game, that’s stupid. But Telander’s column was preceded by a photo illustration of Epstein walking on water, and based on the tone of the column you have to wonder if Telander thinks he’s telling a joke:

Has there ever been a baseball team whose superstar was the … president of operations?

I’m thinking not.

The day humans pay to enter a ballpark because of faith in a man who has a high IQ and looks good in a tailored business suit is the day, well …

Hello, Cubs fans!

Theo Epstein — boy wonder-turned-genius achiever-turned-mythical savior — is the main draw as the Cubs’ 2012 season approaches. Fans haven’t knelt and wept and touched the hem of his Italian-cut pants. But the sentiment seems to be there.

Oh, the sentiment seems to be there, okay. The “sentiment” “seems” to be there. It doesn’t get more concrete than that, folks. Rick Telander and David Haugh don’t have to worry about actually asking Cubs fans how they feel about 2012 – because the sentiment seems to be there. Good enough for me, let’s go with it. Copy!

So now the story of the 2011 offseason naturally leads into the story of the 2012 season. “The Cubs turn to Theo Epstein to rescue them from permanent failure” becomes “Cubs fans expect miracles from Epstein, he’s the biggest thing about the team in our eyes, and we’re going to panic if things don’t change immediately.”

There will always be fans with more optimism than common sense, especially with this team. But I’d be willing to say that the majority of the fan base is smart enough to recognize that David DeJesus and Ian Stewart were not going to be the missing pieces of the puzzle, you can’t change a Major League hitter’s approach at the plate overnight, and we’re in for a long haul before this franchise is turned around in the right direction. Anything else is just a sentiment that only seems to be there.

Public Enemy No. 1?

March 27, 2012

I really wanted to write something fun tonight, honest. It’s been a while since I posted something, and with my fantasy draft delayed until tomorrow night, I thought I could get around to writing about the newest additions to the Cubs’ promotional calendar, especially this season’s bobblehead offerings. But then, ESPN got in the way.

The ESPN Chicago site is running a tournament bracket for what they’re calling Chicago sports’ “Public Enemy No. 1,” and they’re asking Chicago sports fans to vote for their most hated Chicago sports figure. There are a lot of familiar names on there, and a lot of them at least make sense from a meatball fan perspective.

There are players who either flamed out or wore out their welcome here, like Cade McNown, Milton Bradley, Rex Grossman, Sammy Sosa or Albert Belle. There are players from other teams who always gave Chicago teams a hard time, like Brett Favre, Reggie Miller or Isiah Thomas. There are opposing players or coaches who were just plain assholes, like Bill Laimbeer, LeBron James, John Starks or Forrest Gregg. And, of course, there are Chicago sports executives who either ruined our teams or are thought to have ruined them, like Bill Wirtz, Michael McCaskey or Jerry Krause.

Well, that’s 15 seeds, so how did ESPN fill out the bracket? Who could the Worldwide Leader in Sports consider to be a worthy enough villain in Chicago sports history to include with the likes of Favre, LeBron and Sammy? Would you believe it’s someone who never played a single minute or inning of professional sports in his life? Would you believe it’s someone who never worked in any capacity for any sports team’s front office? If you know where this line of questioning is going, you’re probably already shaking your head.

In its infinite wisdom, ESPN has decided that Steve Bartman is one of the 16 most-hated people in Chicago sports history. Granted, he’s the #15 seed, but that still means that they think more people hate him than Rex Grossman. As of this writing, Bartman is “losing” his matchup against Dollar Bill Wirtz by a healthy margin, but the fact that he’s even on the list is reprehensible, and I’m far from the only person to think so.

Not only did Obstructed View beat me to the punch with a very well-reasoned trashing of Bartman’s inclusion on the list, but ESPN itself seems to be unsure of why he was chosen, either.

“Much of Cubs Nation has long since forgiven Bartman, who apparently has not been seen at a game at Wrigley since.”

First of all, screw you for using the term “Cubs Nation,” ESPN. We’re not some hive mind collective who suddenly all have the same opinion when we put on a Soriano jersey. Secondly, if he has been forgiven by “much” of us, then who exactly hates him enough to put him on the list? Here’s a sampling of comments from the message board:

“Move on. Bartman has suffered enough and didn’t do anything any normal fan would’ve done in the first place. Time to let this guy off the hook, Chicago! So, news media…give him a break.”

“bartman did what any other cubs fan would have done if put in that position
i wish him the best”

“Disappointed in you ESPN. Its time to let this go. 99.9% of people do the same thing.”

“Also, shut up about bartman you and everyone you know would have gone for that ball and I would today if it happened.”

“You have to throw Bartman under the bus yet again? I am a huge Cubs fan. I don’t hold any grudge against him and don’t consider him a villain.”

I hated John Starks because he was a punk. I hated Brett Favre because he was one of the best ever. I hated Bill Wirtz because he kept his foot on the Blackhawks’ neck. When that ball tumbled out of Bartman’s hands and away from Moises Alou…yes, I hated him, too. For that moment, I hated him. I hated him a little more after Alex Gonzalez’s botched double-play grounder. When the Marlins tied it up, I hated him a little more. And then when they took the lead. For those agonizing minutes, I hated Steve Bartman, even though I didn’t even know his name.

But then the wave of anger broke, and each time the cameras cut to his stunned face, looking like he just wanted to disappear forever, I felt worse for him. He was one of a multitude throwing their hands into the air, hoping to catch a foul ball, something that happens thousands of times in every ballpark 81 times a year. Steve Bartman’s only crime was being literally in the wrong place at the wrong time. His only crime was wanting to be there when history happened, wanting to be able to say “I was there.” And, like the classic Faustian bargain, he got what he wanted, only it wasn’t at all what he or anyone else would have wanted.

Steve Bartman, I can only presume, still loves baseball and still loves the Cubs. We know he loved baseball and the Cubs so much, he ended up unwittingly putting himself in the way of history. That love and devotion for sports is everything ESPN is supposed to be about. It’s what ESPN supposedly is built on. Why, then, are they so interested in continuing to torture him like this? I think we all know the answer to that.

Thanks, But No Thanks, PlayStation.

March 7, 2012

We’ve probably all imagined what it would look like if the Cubs ever won the World Series in our lifetime. I don’t think it’s possible to be a Cubs fan without ever picturing the scene inside Wrigley Field, the celebrations outside the ballpark or what the Loop would look like all lit up in honor of a third Cubs world championship. However, if you’re one of those people who can’t quite imagine things without the help of special effects, PlayStation has you covered. This is a commercial for MLB The Show 12:

From a certain perspective, this commercial is amazing. It shows the unrestrained emotion and pure joy a Cubs World Series win would bring us. It doesn’t make jokes, it covers every possible reaction from Cubs fans, it makes an honest attempt at creating an impossible dream. In every detail, it’s absolutely perfect.

I’m pretty sure I hate it.

I don’t hate the idea behind the commercial, mind you, and in a way I sort of appreciate the effort that went into giving us a glimpse of something that, honestly, might never happen. The problem with it is…we didn’t ask for it.

The commercial has drawn some strong, emotional reactions from Cubs fans, as well it should. But it’s also drawn a lot of laughter from some who see it as another opportunity to rub the fact that it’s nothing more than a fantasy right now in our faces. If Cubs fans had made this on their own to stand in for a real-life championship, that would have been deserving of mockery. It would have been 100 times worse than any “It’s Gonna Happen” t-shirt, and I wouldn’t blame the most obnoxious Cardinals or White Sox fan from tearing it to shreds.

As it stands, it’s the most beautiful, moving, sincere punch in the genitals I’ve seen in a long time, right down to the “It was all a dream!” twist ending with the dude holding the controller. Of course it was all a dream, PlayStation, and thanks for reminding us of that.

“Give Me All of the Peanuts and Cracker Jack That You Have.”

March 6, 2012

Last week, I wrote a post about the greatest famous fictional Cubs fans, but today I discovered what I believe is a significant development in the world of famous real Cubs fans. New Era has been doing a series of commercials starring Alec Baldwin (a Yankees fan) and John Krasinski from “The Office” (representing the Red Sox) talking smack.

This year, they’ve switched gears to featuring two new NBC Thursday night sitcom stars, only this time they’re representing opposite sides of our cross-town rivalry.

Photo taken from Chicagoist.com, which got it from Craig Robinson's Twitter feed, which I believe is maintained by leprechauns.

That’s Craig Robinson from “The Office” showing love for the South Side, and “Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman representing the Cubs. That’s right – forget Billy Corgan, to hell with John Cusack, and you can keep Rod Blagoevich. We’ve got Ron. Fucking. Swanson. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cubs’ Biggest Fictional Fans

February 21, 2012

A while ago I wrote a post about the Cubs and Wrigley Field as they appeared in comic books, and I came to the conclusion that Guy Gardner, greatest Green Lantern of all time, was a Cub fan. That makes him more or less the only superhero Cub fan, but he’s far from the only Cub fan ever in pop culture.

Unlike real-life celebrity Cub fans like Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder or Billy Corgan, fictional Cub fans were made to be that way. A writer or actor decided certain characters would be Cub fans because it said something about their personalities or added some extra dimension. With that in mind, Cub Like Us presents what I consider to be the Best (and Worst) Fictional Cub Fans. They may be movie or TV characters, but they all embody a certain element of Cubness that I think we can all be inspired by.

Bob from “UHF” – From the greatest Weird Al Yankovic movie ever made, Bob is the quintessential straight man. He and Yankovic struggle to turn around the crappy TV station they’ve inherited, and in one crucial scene Bob sporting a Cubs hat. The decision to make Bob a Cub fan is the movie’s way of telling you everything you need to know about him, giving you a sense of the beleaguered optimism and unwavering loyalty that has Bob following Yankovic’s character from dead-end job to dead-end job.

Balki Bartokomous from “Perfect Strangers” – It’s only during the opening theme song that we ever see Balki at a Cubs game, but he sure looks excited about it, doesn’t he? And, as a recent immigrant to Chicago from the tiny island of Meepos, what better way for him to show his enthusiasm for America than a baseball game at Wrigley Field?

Henry Rowengartner from “Rookie of the Year” – Not only does this kid wind up becoming a major league pitcher through a horrifying freak accident, but he’s discovered by the Cubs after participating in the bleachers’ most sacred rite – throwing back an opposing home run. Every kid who’s a Cub fan dreams of being the one to help them finally break through the World Series drought, but this kid gets to do it before he finishes middle school. If he was real, he’d probably be Patrick Kane by now.

Elwood Blues from “The Blues Brothers” – Elwood is a borderline case – there’s nothing in the movie that suggests the younger Blues Brother is really that much of a baseball fan, but when he registered his car, what did he give as his home address? 1060 West Addison. Never mind that the DMV probably would have seen through that – could it be that decades of Cubs baseball is the reason Elwood has the blues? It would make sense.

Ferris Bueller from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – Another borderline case, because Wrigley Field is just a temporary stop on Ferris’ cinema-friendly tour of Chicago. He catches a foul ball, but really Cameron seems more interested in the game. And they leave before the game’s over. Then again…a spoiled suburban kid who’s only in the ballpark to play hooky from school…definitely sounds like a certain kind of Cub fan to me. Give Ferris a few years, and he’ll be back in the bleachers with his Ohio State sweatshirt, a Solo cup full of Natty Ice and Sloan Peterson all trixied-up.

Jim Belushi from lots of stuff – Not only is Jim Belushi one of the most vocal celebrity Cub fans, he also makes sure the Cubs are a part of almost every character he plays. In “Taking Care of Business,” he plays a convict who breaks out of jail two days early to see the Cubs in the World Series, and on “According to Jim,” he even made sure we got to see him console a Steve Bartman lookalike. So yeah, Jim Belushi is both an actual and fictional Cubs fan. Now if we all let him know that we get it, maybe he’ll lay low for a while and stay out of the WGN booth.

Two Hall of Famers and two guys who belong behind bars.

John Cusack from real life – I’m not saying it’s wrong to be a White Sox fan. I’m not saying it’s wrong to try and use your celebrity status to score World Series tickets in 2005. I’m not saying it’s wrong to talk a lot about rooting for the White Sox as a kid growing up in Chicago. I’m just saying that when you do all of that, showing up at Wrigley all the time during the playoffs and saying you like both teams equally makes you a fictional Cub fan.

Al Bundy from “Married…With Children” – Shoe salesman. Activist. Polk High School football legend. Cub fan. These are just a few of the words that best describe Al Bundy. Because when you’re a man who’s as frequently miserable as Al Bundy, being a Cub fan just sort of comes with the territory. But unlike the other fictional fans on this list, misery is a two-way street when it comes to Al and the Cubs. Take a look at 0:31 of this clip from an episode from the very first season:

Despite being stuck in a terrible job, despite having a terrible family, despite being a terrible person and despite personally ruining his team’s chances of winning a World Series, Al Bundy soldiers on. Thus, Al Bundy is, simultaneously, the Greatest and Worst Fictional Cub Fan of All Time.

Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions:

Vince Vaughn in “The Break-Up” – He basically ruins his relationship with Jennifer Aniston because he would rather watch Alfonso Soriano highlights than pay attention to her. Interesting choice.

Pretty much everyone on “My Boys” – Sort of like “Sex and the City: Wrigleyville,” only the other three chicks who aren’t Sarah Jessica Parker are actually shlubby dudes and Jim Gaffigan is there, too.

The kid from “Mac & Me” – This kid leaves Chicago and misses Andre Dawson’s MVP season but meets a butt-ugly alien who won’t shut up about McDonald’s for some reason.

Billy Crystal in “Running Scared” – The only thing I know about this cop movie is that Crystal is wearing a Cubs jersey on the poster, and that’s never been enough to make me want to watch it.

Giveaway Jamboree Part II!

February 3, 2012

Yesterday, I started a breakdown of the entire 2012 Cubs promotional calendar. I made it through June, and now we come to the home stretch. Suffice to say, it looks like the Cubs have figured out there might not be quite so many people willing to come of their own accord to Wrigley Field after the All-Star Break.

July 13 – Slap Koozie

Now look, I think I know what this is – it’s one of those foam beer holders with a little metal strip in it so you can slap it against your bottle or can and it wraps itself around it. I know that. But that’s not going to stop me from thinking it sounds like something kind of sleazy. Skip unless the word “koozie” doesn’t make you slightly uncomfortable.

July 27 – Ron Santo Hall of Fame Plaque

This sounds pretty awesome, to be honest. If it’s a replica of the actual plaque that will be put up at Cooperstown, there’s no doubt it’ll be something worth getting. Of course, it also depends on how cheaply made the thing is. I’m not expecting bronze or anything, but make an effort. Show up early for this.

August 1 – American Girl Outfit

Every year for what seems like the last 50 years, the Cubs have given away a set of doll clothes to little girls, and this is fine. After all, thousands of little girls and their American Girl dolls are shipped into the city each day for the required pilgrimage to the American Girl Store, where it’s perfectly normal to spend $45 on a tiny fake lunchbox with a tiny fake banana in it. Where the Cubs slip up, I think, is in not charging admission for the dolls. If parents are willing to buy 500-thread-count bedsheets for their daughters’ little plastic homunculi, surely they could be coerced into buying them a box seat? Skip unless you are yourself a little girl, in which case I apologize for using the word “koozie” earlier.

Do you have a sponge for washing your car? No? Well, there's a good reason for getting one of these.

August 10 – Foam Finger

The foam finger has really fallen out of favor with sports fans. At one time, they were seen all over most sporting events, but now fans tend to prefer more elaborate variations like the foam animal claw, the foam cheese wedge hat, or the foam handlebar mustache. (Note: The foam handlebar mustache may not actually be popular or even exist, but it would be funny to see, wouldn’t it?) I assume the decline of the foam finger is due to the fact that most fans cannot in good conscience declare that their team is No. 1 when it is not. For example, the 2012 Cubs probably will be in fifth place by the time of this promotion. Skip unless you don’t mind having your integrity called into question.

August 12 – Build-A-Bear Plush Bear

I had the experience of taking my nephew to a Build-A-Bear Workshop not long ago. There’s a large machine that pumps about six cubic feet of “fluff” into a hollow bear (or cat, or pig, or whatever) and then they stitch it up. I don’t think the “fluff” pumper (yikes, dangerously close to “slap koozie” territory there) will actually be at Wrigley for this giveaway, so expect to get a little stuffed bear wearing a Cubs t-shirt or something. Show up early if it’s your kid’s birthday and you’re getting the sense that going to a Cubs game isn’t going to be enough for him or her.

Come on, how could you not want one of these...well, maybe not this one in particular...

August 13 – Bobblehead

Again, dude, seriously. Show up as early as you can.

August 14 – Cubs Replica Game Cap

One of these is given out every year, and they’re always referred to as “replica” caps. However, they always look like an actual game cap until you check the back, where some sponsor’s name is stitched in huge letters. This year, it’s Comcast. Part of me wonders if the “replica” part is more of a prophecy, and NASCAR-style corporate sponsorship is coming to Major League Baseball uniforms soon. If so, look upon these hats not as a representation of things as they are, but rather a sobering portent of things as they will soon be. That last sentence, by the way, is the only remaining evidence that I went to college. Show up early if you love the Cubs and Comcast equally.

August 24 – Cubs Hat

Here we arrive at the very end of the 2012 promotional calendar – at least as it stands on February 1 – and it’s a real mystery. Yes, it is a “Cubs Hat,” but if we look back at history we can see that a promotional hat be a lot of different things. Is it a replica game cap, like the one the Cubs will give out just 10 days prior? Is it a sun visor? Is it a bucket hat like the kind worn by old people and Billy Corgan (also an old person)? Is it some wackadoo variant hat, like the camouflage hat I got at the park a few years ago? We can’t say. But, at this late in the regular season, when the Cubs’ fate has likely been determined for 2012, isn’t it nice to have some kind of uncertainty, some kind of intrigue, no matter what the source? What is this hat? What does it want? Where does it come from? Isn’t it worth a trip to Wrigley Field to find out? Show up early…if your heart can stand the suspense!

It’s possible, if not probable, that the Cubs will add more promotions to the schedule for 2012. (September is completely blank, for instance.) If they do, I’ll write up an addendum. Because when you write 2,000 words about stuff that mostly will end up in garage sales by spring 2013, you want to be thorough. In the meantime, however, please refer to this guide and plan your 2012 trips to Wrigley accordingly. You’ll be glad you did.

Giveaway Jamboree!

February 2, 2012

There’s no denying that the six-week period between New Year’s Day and the start of Spring Training is the bleakest stretch of the baseball calendar. The big trades and free agent signings have happened already, all your baseball-related Christmas gifts have been opened and there’s not much else to do except maybe start planning your fantasy draft. This is why I feel it’s important to look ahead to the coming season in any way possible, even if it’s something as minor as the promo and giveaway calendar.

I’m not ashamed to admit that the giveaways play a significant role in determining which Cubs games I attend. I only have so much money, after all, so I’d like to maximize the value I get for my tickets by getting some free piece of junk in addition to the baseball. Obviously, some promotions are better than others. So, with single-game tickets going on sale March 9, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the promo calendar and rank the giveaways based on whether or not they’re worth arriving early for. Bear in mind, I’m going off the calendar as it stands in early February, and everything’s subject to change.

April 5 and 7 – Magnet Schedule

Courtesy of an eBay seller. Last I checked, there was still plenty of time to put a bid on this promotional magnet schedule from 1990. Perfect for anyone looking to finish off their collection.

The magnet schedule is the ceremonial first pitch of giveaways – done with little effort and completely unnecessary. A nice, gentle start to the season, but definitely something you don’t need. Between the little pocket schedules the team gives out for free, the newspapers, the team website and the app on my phone, I don’t need to consult my refrigerator door to find out what time the game starts on Sunday. Don’t sweat it unless you carry your refrigerator around in lieu of a smartphone.

April 9 – “Puffy Ball” Winter Hat

This is one of those giveaways that turns out to be useful pretty much right away. April is not the most hospitable time to be at Wrigley, especially in the upper deck. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t come prepared to these early-season games, this would be a nice pick-up. I like how even though this is one of those things everyone has worn at one time or another, there really isn’t a better term for it than “puffy ball winter hat.” Show up early.

April 10 – Ear Warmers

For those who missed out on the “Puffy Ball” Winter Hat, here’s the next best thing. I assume these are the collapsible things that are totally ear muffs but we don’t call “ear muffs” anymore. Show up early if you missed the hat or forgot to bring a hat to the game.

April 23 – Fleece Gloves

I appreciate that the Cubs want us to be comfortable in April, but by the end of the month a pair of fleece gloves are kind of unnecessary. Although, the fleece could prevent you from getting a good grip on your beer, causing you to drop it and have to go buy another. This makes it a shrewd business move for the Cubs but an unwise investment for fans. Skip unless you have poor circulation or one of those beer helmets so you don’t have to hold your drink at all.

April 24 – Scarf

Now the Cubs are starting to sound like my mother. “Did you remember your gloves? What about a scarf? It gets cold out there at night, you know!” I’ve never had a baseball team act this protective of me before, so I’m a little confused. They’re only nagging me because they care, I guess. I should probably call more often, or make the effort to go visit more than I do. I’m not so busy I can’t make time for my baseball team, am I? Wait a minute…dropping a guilt trip on me, huh Wally Hayward? Skip unless you want to buy the Cubs a Mother’s Day card.

May 8 – Nurses’ Day

This is the only special day on the schedule as of right now. There aren’t any details about it yet, but I assume nurses will get special deals on tickets and food and such. Skip unless you are a nurse.

May 9 and May 29 – Bobblehead

There is no better giveaway than the bobblehead. You can’t argue with it, it’s science. There’s no indication yet as to who will be immortalized in this year’s bobbleheads, but I would venture to guess it won’t be like 2010, when the Cubs gave away little versions of Ryan Theriot and Carlos Zambrano fishing and playing soccer, respectively. I also don’t believe they’ll repeat last year, when they gave away miniature versions of Cubs farm team alumni, and then gave away half the players themselves over the winter. Even so, they’re bobbleheads. Show up the night before if you have to.

June 12 – Military Style Cap

This one is hard to gauge without a picture. Given how quickly Cubs fans have surrendered all our faith and loyalty to Theo Epstein, I’m picturing some kind of Fidel Castro-looking cap we can all wear when we sing our morning hymn to the enormous portrait of Theo that will be hung outside Wrigley soon. Show up early if you don’t want to be detained for re-education, comrade.

Yay. A key chain.

June 13 – Key Chain

Do I really have to say anything about this? It’s a key chain. If you need one, odds are you already have one. Skip unless you’re sick of your keys constantly spilling out of your pocket everywhere.

June 14 – Jersey Off Our Back

This is interesting. I’m going to assume they give away (autographed?) jerseys all night to random ticket-holders. Random in the sense that they’ll ignore the upper deck reserved people, of course. We never win anything. Go if you’re feeling lucky and/or don’t sit in the upper deck reserved sections.

June 25 – Bobblehead

If you need convincing as to why the bobblehead is the best of all ballpark giveaways, then I don’t want to know you. Seriously. Show up early if you don’t want to tell your grandchildren a tale of woe and regret.

June 29 – Drawstring Bag

I see a lot of people at the ballpark and elsewhere with these things, but they don’t look comfortable to me. On the other hand, it’s nice to have something to carry stuff in, especially if you’re from out of town and you overdid it at the souvenir shop. I’m pretty sure they would make an excellent baby carrier in a pinch, too. Just cut some leg holes at the bottom and you’re good to go. Show up early if you came on a bus from Iowa or you’re a negligent parent.

Come back for the next post tomorrow, when we round out July and August. Spoiler alert: doll clothes and cheaply-made caps.

Nine Days in Summer

January 24, 2012

The last time my wife and I decided to have a garage sale, I saw her pushing a pile of junk into the corner. These were old magazines, VHS tapes of Charlie Brown specials, power cords to appliances that didn’t exist anymore, etc.

“No,” I said, “You have to put all this stuff out first.”

“Why?” she asked. “This stuff is worthless. No one’s going to buy any of it.”

“Not if you put it out at the same time with all the other stuff, no. We’re going to put this garbage out first, and only this garbage. That way, if anyone wants to buy anything from us, they’ll have to choose from these worthless bits of trash.”

“Where in the hell did you get the idea that this would work?”

“From the Cubs, of course.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bleacher Bummer

January 17, 2012

Maybe the biggest piece of news to come out of Cubs Convention 2012 (I don’t consider the Kerry Wood signing to be news because it was a foregone conclusion) was that there are some major changes coming to the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field:

The plans for the new right field bleachers, as seen on the Cubs' website.

The plan is to turn the bleacher box seats, which were really not all that popular, into a “patio” area where parties can meander around, eat and drink a lot, and maybe sort of peek at the game every so often. In other words, the Cubs will be building their own rooftop just like the ones on Sheffield and Waveland. Of course, not everyone is excited about this idea, and there’s been a lot of complaining about it already. A lot of that has been directed at the Jumbotron that the Cubs are not calling a Jumbotron.

Obviously, the jury is still out on what this is going to mean for Wrigley Field. Nothing’s been built yet, and we have yet to see how the ballpark is going to change as a result of this plan. But I don’t think it means the end of the world, and here’s why: Read the rest of this entry »

The Cubs Con Me Out of a Weekend

January 16, 2012

If anyone was concerned that the beginning of Theo Epstein’s reign as the Cubs’ top baseball brain would create a sweeping culture change in Cubs fandom toward a more sensible and thoughtful mindset, the 27th annual Cubs Convention would have put an end to that. Sure, Theo got a great reception and there were fewer moments when listening to someone from the front office made me want to go home. But by and large, the Cubs Convention proves that we’re still the same old band of weirdos and goons and irrational optimists we’ve always been. Read the rest of this entry »


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