There's a lot going on in my brain, so if this gets jumbled, my apologies. I am also trying to water down some of my usual salty language. This rant came about as a result of my weekend trip to Cleveland. Yeah, yeah, I still think the trade involving Mark was stupid. It was also Kerry Wood bobblehead night there.
Can I just say (and my impartial, non-baseball crazed co-workers actually volunteered this) that probably the three cities that qualify as true, serious, baseball fans are: CHICAGO, BOSTON and NEW YORK. Okay, maybe St. Louis. They're pretty nutso, too. We obviously know where my allegiance lies, but gaaaawd are there some a--hats out there claiming to be "fans".
I have run into idiots at Wrigley. I'm thinking the Orioles "fans" from last year. A guy brought a chick that didn't know how many strikes it takes to get an out. Okay, she's not a fan of anything, but I really wanted to shake the guy who brought her. Obviously he wasn't boinking that one for her brains. And then he tried to explain ERA to her...*clutches head*
Or the Orioles dudes who COULDN'T READ THE SCOREBOARD. HOW CAN YOU NOT READ A SCOREBOARD? Oh, that's right. You're probably too used to jumbotrons telling you over and over again in a very pre-school way what's going on.
Speaking of jumbotrons and technology...those are all well and good, but not all the time. For example, if a club relies on an ELECTRONIC SIGN OR BOARD to tell your fans to "make some noise"? YOUR FANS SUCK. You should just know when to yell and scream without having some stupid board tell you. Homerun? Yell! Good defensive play? Yell! Hot baseball player butt? Yell! Your version of Neal Cotts cough up another run like my cat coughs up food after he ate too fast? SCREAM!
Fans who leave early? SUCK. In certain instances I am okay with leaving early, but this goes into the natural disaster, very shitty weather, or a parking situation where you won't get out for HOURS unless you leave a teensy bit early. Leaving in the sixth for none of these reasons? LAME. (I'm looking at YOU, Cleveland.) Yes, your team was getting beat into oblivion, but STAY. Last year, we had that crazy comeback against the Rockies...think about any people that might have left thinking we were "done". Missed a great comeback.
People who go to the ballpark to socialize and wave at the camera while on their cellphone. YOU GO TO THE BALLPARK TO WATCH THE GAME. Never was a commercial more accurate than that Miller LIte one where the big beer bringer guy walks into the suite and asks "do you know what inning it is?" And then he walks up to the glass partition, looking down at the field, bemoaning being locked behind glass, before pounding on it "...AND WATCHING YOUR FAVORITE PITCHER GET LIT UP! TAKE HIM OUT!!" Oh Miller Lite dude, that is so accurate.
NOT KNOWING WHO YOUR PLAYERS ARE. LAME! SO LAME YOU SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED IN A BALLPARK AGAIN. I'm looking at YOU, Cleveland! I cannot tell you how many idiots didn't even know DeRosa was their third baseman. He plays EVERY DAY FOR YOU. Were you all SHAKEN AS BABIES?! Christ almighty, I caught on to who the Indians players were even though I don't care! Jaysus. Grady walked right by us. He was confused by our Cubs apparel, until we very pointedly told him to go get us Mark. Ha.
Poor DeRo looked dejected half the time. I'm so not surprised at his horrible batting average right now. Most of the Indians are barely above .200. How would you feel, coming from a city with rabid fans that sells out practically EVERY game - DAY games included - yelling and screaming and totally into it (sometimes too into yet, yes) ...to some Ohio backwater where people don't even heckle when you play like crap and the seats are empty and people don't even know your name?
Cleveland people didn't even heckle! They were so passive! Hello? Do you have a pulse? God, Cleveland baseball (and shopping!) culture SUCKS. And my co-worker formely of Cleveland was like "I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT."
And so called "fans" who like to troll message boards or even the park going "[your team] SUCKS!" "CHOKE!" There were white trash Twins "fans" like that in Cleveland. They saw our Cubs DeRo shirts and decided to tell us we suck. Dude, do I freaking CARE about the Twins? Did I even talk to you? Did I even look at you until you decided to yell at me? NO. Worry about your own team.
And yes, I swatted that annoying Twins person with my sweatshirt. He didn't like that. Boohoo. Maybe you should stfu!
I was never so glad to get back to Chicago as I was last evening. Chicago is a flawed but beautiful place. We have our problems, but it's home. It's not just a city, it's a city of neighborhoods. People are out and about, there are things to do and places to see. And baseball to enjoy. (Even White Sox fans are better than Cleveland at this point...at least they know what's going on in a game.) I don't care how much the Cubs "choke". At least we know how to watch a game and who our players are.
Anyone local around here...I have tickets to the penultimate regular season game on 10/3 versus the Diamondbacks. My friend scheduled her wedding for the day (!!). GAAAAAAH! Does ANYONE have tickets for the 10/2 or 10/4 game they would want to swap with me? Below are the details for the tickets I have.
Pleeeeeease. I am desperate. I bought these (before I heard about the wedding) because I wanted to be there for one of the last regular season games.
Diamondbacks at Cubs
Terrace Reserved Outfield
206-3 2011 $24.00ADULT
206-3 2012 $24.00ADULT
Total Convenience Fee for 2 seats $9.80(includes 9.00% sales tax)
Price for 2 seats $57.80
So, I'm in the midst of apartment and (possibly) roommate shopping. Trying to go from the NW 'burbs to Chicago. Somewhere preferably on the Metra UPN line (if you got tips, I'm all ears). I responded to a roommate wanted listing on Craigslist that sounded good and fit my needs. In the course of emailing back and forth with the individual, I mentioned that my summer routine often revolves around "when is the game?"
As a follow up, she asks me where I typically watch the game: at home or go "to the stadium".
I sat and laughed at that for a good minute. Stadium. No, no, no my dear. As far as I'm concerned, it's "the yard", "the park", or just "Wrigley". Stadium? That's for monstrosities like "Yankee Stadium" or football venues. I don't know yet if she's non-native, or just not into baseball, but it did make me laugh.
In the event I do wind up having her as a roommate, a crash course in Cub-ucation will be taking place.
Some of this is from a comment I left to one of Kurt's recent posts, but thought I'd include here as my own commentary/noodlings/things I heard.
THING THE FIRST: REED JOHNSON - I think it was him - well, trust me, you just need to see a photo. ZZ Top Impersonator? Saddam's long lost cousin? Noah? Cat Stevens? Bluebeard the Pirate? You tell me. When he walked into the Kathy and Judy (WGN radio) panel, people just HOWLED. The commentary had me laughing so hard the tears came to my eyes.
I wish I had thought to bring a tape recorder. Kaplan absolutely grilled Hendry (Piniella wasn't at the panel otherwise I'm sure the question would have been directed at him) about why, if we're so concerned about winning, there isn't more calls to bunt, even if it's the clean up man. (I think the implication was that these guys are getting paid a hell of a lot and should know the basics like bunting for the team's good.) I really can't recall the exact wording of the question, and don't mean to imply any commentary of my own regarding his question. I hope WGN puts up audio from the convention on their website. If they do, I would really recommend listening to that one. (I guess it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't type of scenario, however. My question would be, why not sub in another player who CAN bunt if the situation demands it. If the game is on the line, do it.)
Lots of questions from the fans in the audience (in ANY panel that had Hendry it seemed like) about the trading of both Kerry and Mark. Just an observation: many people were not happy about it. I got a little bored with the phrasing of the "questions" however: "Do you really think [x] trade was a good idea?" Jaysus, what do you expect Hendry or Lou to say? "No, I think it was a horrible idea, but looks like we're stuck now!" I mean, just say you think the trade blowed if that's what you really want, but don't ask a question to which you already know what the answer will be.
One thing I didn't necessarily like: Hendry saying he was holding off on long-term, big $ deals until ownership is settled. Not that I'm disagreeing with the principle behind that, but I thought the talk was all "we're not worried, we're not worried"? This sounds like worry to me.
Also dislike (now that I'm thinking about it) the implication in the media (see today's Sun-Times for a quote by Hendry) that it was just the women who had their panties in a twist about the DeRo trade. I.e., we're all mopey over him just because the "handsome man" is gone. This is the same type of idiot logic that says women will buy any baseball product as long as it's pink. I've got plenty of eye candy left, thank you very much (Rich Harden, I'm looking at YOUR posterior), *IF* that was all I was worried about. I dislike the DeRosa trade for other, less hormonal reasons. If Hendry really wants a PMS show out of me, I can give it to him no problem.
It was my first convention. The auto lines were stupid long, horribly managed (at least the one for Stage A I was at on Saturday). Assuming I go again, I'll just stick with the panels next time. Was disappointed Ron was only there for the OC, really. Heard he wasn't feeling well. Hope it's not serious.
My picture upload is taking forever today. Here's a link, but it might be a work in progress for a while. http://flickr.com/photos/17986186@N08/sets/72157612676209851/
I got home today around 7pm. I went and watched the game at Irish Oak with some friends. I was so angry and pretty much mourning the whole season after game 2. I was trying to prepare myself mentally. Stupid me, I got my hopes up sometime between Friday night and Saturday. I went into that bar determined to go down with the ship but positive we'd escape from the Titanic.
God, where the HELL was our offense? All I could do was just stare at the tv and go WHY? JUST WHY? I'm going to leave the analysis to other folks right now.
I'm just so sad and tired. About the only thing that made the whole situation bearable was being with my friends and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. We managed to stagger into my friend's downtown apartment and crash on the floor. Soon we wound up consoling ourselves with the good memories from the regular season. We just couldn't focus on what had just happened. There wasn't enough kleenex for that.
I need to get some distance from all this, and yet I can't stay away. I'm sick of reading so much rage. Mark DeRosa made a blog entry shortly after the game and there were two trolls who immediately started jumping in with completely uncalled for commentary. COMPLETELY. I won't even repeat what some of it was - it was just vile and disgusting. It's real damn easy to be an armchair-baseball player.
These guys didn't go out to break our hearts on purpose. Duh. They choked, yes, but I really highly doubt this is what any of them wanted. They can't tell us what went wrong; they're probablly still trying to figure it out themselves. This also wasn't one man's failure (I see a lot of people in various places picking on DeRosa for some reason), hell, the WHOLE TEAM had issues and plenty of them. Our so-called "Big Three" (Soriano, Aramis and Lee) were anemic like last year. And these are the guys we are told we are supposed to rely on. I, personally, have more issues with Soriano because he is getting paid ridiculous numbers, and that IMO, means you are getting paid to produce and produce big.
Get the entire team a shrink or WHATEVER. Practice some zen. Somehow, the players need to be able to block out so much of what we as fans unfairly burden them with: the Herculean task of making up for the failures of other Cubs teams which they had nothing to do with.
I just missed the players as they came back to Wrigley from the airport while I was taking the el/walking to get my car where I'd parked it near Wrigley. There were a few people waiting, wanting to get autographs (which was incredibly ill-timed IMO). If I were one of the players, the last thing I'd want to do is sign autographs after what just happened. I would want to be making love to a bottle of Jack and that's about it. I heard (from my friend's brother who did make it there in time) Harden was one of the few (or possibly the only one) to actually step out and talk to some of the fans and thank them. Pretty much everyone else just got in and out as fast as possible.
It looked so incredibly forlorn. It's like when the carnival or fair picks up and leaves. The party is done. Nothing is sadder to me, sportswise, than an empty ballpark in the fading October sunshine. The scoreboard still had information on it. Except for Cubs and LA it said "NO GAME". I could have wept right then and there. I really wish we all could have seen the ivy changing colors at Wrigley deep into October.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Why did I get out of bed?
Why did I read the coverage?
Why must Rich Harden go and say those things wherein he takes on the responsibility for Game 3 and says we can do it? Why get my hopes up Rich? Why do I let you? Rich wants to show up Derek Lowe for an insult a few years ago, bless his sexy Canadian butt.
Is it too much to ask for just ONE win. Just don't lay there passively and go down without a fight? SHOW ME YOU ARE MEN not...whatever disgusting pathetic crap you were last night.
Yeah. I'll be at Irish Oak with a bunch of other girls on Saturday night. I'll have my Harden jersey on. If he delivers, good god, I will throw myself down at his feet and declare him my master.
Just one win. Do it for honor's sake.
And for crying out loud WHERE THE *(%$&^%$&#)!! IS REED JOHNSON? He would at least DIVE FOR CRAP.
P.S. Also, I feel I must state for the record that 97 wins or not, I would feel like this is a failure of a season without at least showing up to the WS. NO excuses, people. NONE. We have every piece of the puzzle. NO excuses. Dude, Michael Jordan and the crew were right back in the 90s: it don't mean a thing without the ring. NO EXCUSES. Everyone knew what the expectations were.
I'll try to edit out the questionable language - sorry for that earlier.
I told myself I wasn't going to post anywhere today. That I was pretty much going on blackout. I'm just so mad.
All of a sudden, us fans are getting razzed for being "quiet" or "apprehensive" by Kaplan* and by TBS and that people at the Cell showed more energy. Yeah, Sux fans did show more energy the other day, but I don't think yesterday's crowd at Wrigley was representative of the fans that did fill our park every day this year.
1. "Apprehensive". YOU try living with a club that breaks your heart year after year after [insert words of choice here] year. And yet we keep coming back. DON'T YOU DARE. We have lost our sanity over this team and been genuinely depressed because of it. I CRIED ON THE TRAIN HOME LAST NIGHT. I CRIED IN MY CAR. I CRIED MYSELF TO SLEEP. Why? I just want this team to freaking WIN. I think about Ron Santo dying without ever seeing this damn club winning. All I have to look forward to is getting razzed by every [insert words of choice here] who yells "next year losers! cubs suck! cubs choke!" It would be one thing if I were allowed to choke said people so hard their eyeballs pop out and get my satisfaction that way, but unfortunately the law looks down on that. When I get bitten by a radioactive something, you best believe I will use my powers to cleanse the world of every single person who sneers at me regarding the Cubs. Zap! You're gone. I hate you. I loathe you. I want to eviscerate you and dance in your entrails wearing stiletto heels. Oh, did I mention I think I've lost my sanity?
2. People have every right to boo [insert word of choice here] playing. Soriano? SUCKED. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX MILLION DOLLARS for routinely questionable defense and O FOR FOUR LAST NIGHT! Swingandamiss! I'm having flashbacks of last year. If you're getting paid $136 million that means you are getting paid to PERFORM. Can't handle it? RETURN YOUR PAYCHECK AND GO AWAY. Just the other day, the Chicago media outlets were talking about how our "Big Three" needed to perform UNLIKE LAST YEAR against AZ. That would be: Soriano, Aramis and Lee. We had like what? A (singular) double from Ramirez? Nobody wound up crossing the plate after DeRosa's homer. (DeRosa's about the only sliver of hope I'm clinging to at this point, too.)
3. "Fans". And this is where I want to rip people's throats out. Who gets to go to the playoff games, let me ask you. Season ticket holders, fine, and then the lucky few who win the ticket lottery, fine. But who else? That's right - MLB officials, aldermen, corporate schmucks and then the [insert word of choice here] who can spend a couple grand on Stubhub from the other [insert word of choice here] who SOLD OUT and sold their tickets to the highest bidder. It's like that Miller Lite commercial about section "la de dah". And then they just sit there like bumps on a log. SO NO, us fans with normal paying jobs can't even DREAM of buying playoff tickets. We don't even get to go in the park. All we get is to sit at home or in a bar, and cry our eyes out. *And now that I'm hearing more about Kaplan - ok, fine, I see his point. I dare say he is right about it being a "corporate" crowd last night. At least he's not lumping us average joe and josephines in with that.
One game? Whatever. it's more than that. We all know how psychological this game and this club, especially, is. We're the best club in the NL. I believe that. But it doesn't mean a thing if people get stage fright and choke. If the fans could will this team to victory, they would already be WS winners many times over. At the end of the day, it is the team that has to perform. I cannot take another year like last year. I physically can't. I'm already a raging crying mess after game one. It's not like I'm going to switch allegiances either and be a fan of some other team either. I can't. It's this one or nothing.
Listen, my point is that this club makes even the most stoic person feel like jumping in front of the metra they just rode home to the suburbs on. I don't blame the players of the present for the failures of the past. As a fan, however, you and I carry all that baggage. And just like another dude posted - when all the evidence in the Cubs' past points directly to FAILURE with big blinking lights, it's damn hard not to wail and start pulling your hair at this. We have been conditioned for this behavior. And until a team comes along and breaks free and establishes a new "normal", we have no empirical evidence to believe otherwise.
Edited to revise Kaplan.
Last night, I held the baseball Kosuke gave me at a game, held it up to my face and whispered to it.
I bounced around my bedroom telling the ball "come on, Kosuke, we need your left-handed bat to get hot in the lineup let's do it you can do it come on come on come on".
Someone hand me the straight jacket.
Here's my two cents, adjusted for inflation.
I can't recall when it was I became a "serious" Cubs fan. Like most people who grew up in the Chicagoland area, I remember seeing the Cubs on WGN as a kid. At the time, I was mostly ticked off that they interfered with my cartoon-watching. (I've since changed, obviously.) I remember my brother - eight years older than me - pounding the floor when the Cubs screwed up (often). I have no idea why I'm a fan. My dad did NASCAR before it became a rich hick's sport. My mom wasn't into it (although she has since because of me). My brother, other than impressing me with his beating up on the floor probably doesn't care anymore (he also switched allegiance from the Bears to the Packers, for chrissake, so I don't really trust him knowwhatI'msayin'?).
It was the late 90s when I started really watching the games and paying attention. I lived in St. Paul for a stint, but when I moved back in '02, I would scrape the money together to buy tickets to a game and go watch with my cousin or take my nephew, and later, my niece.
By the time 2003 hit, I was a full blown headcase. Screaming, throwing shoes at my tv and wall headcase during the disaster that was the NLCS.
I have amnesia regarding '04-'06, and that's a good thing. I don't want to remember that asshattery. I went to Wrigleyville and stood outside the park (no ticket) Game 3 against AZ last year. I stood around, watching the tvs people had jerry-rigged up, hoping that we'd somehow pull through, only to be miserably crushed.
I love the field. I love the history. I love being at a game and going nuts with some miraculous come-from-behind-hit and you start high-fiving or hugging complete strangers. I love Ronnie and his absolute emotional honesty over the radio. Winter sucks; I fidget in the spring, waiting for opening day. I have spent more money on tickets and paraphenalia this year than I care to add up. I have raced around the city and burbs with friends to get autographs, done last minute road trips to Cincinnati because I was jonesing for a game. I hate the people who mock the Cubs, because I am waiting for the day when I get to say SEE! SEE! THEY DID IT! SCREW YOU!
If this were an actual relationship, this would be one of those "baby, I promise things will be different followed up by the fist to the gut everyone saw coming but you" relationships. Restraining orders, knives, cars running over people. Dirty nasty graveyard love. And I just can't walk away. I discarded a recent dating candidate in part because he couldn't care less about baseball, even though he grew up blocks from Wrigley. WTF? He was also a hairy bastard. A little manscaping please?
I believe the Cubs also serve as my way of promoting gender equality in sports viewership. Hey, guys, if you're gonna watch T&A beach volleyball, ogle cheerleaders, etc., I'm gonna go to a baseball game and enjoy some fine baseball player ass. (Dear Canada: Thank you for producing Rich Harden. Rrrowl.) A guy friend of mine, Michael, who has gone to games with me cracks up because I'll talk about someone's batting average or what not one second, and then go "Oooh! Mark's up, god is he hot!" There needs to be statistic for Hot Player Percentage. Just need to toss E6, Howry and Wuertz. (Dear Mark: Howry is in no way, shape or form an "Adonis". Just, NO.) I also swear like a sailor and it can get not-pretty. I told a Philly fan earlier this year to go fly a kite in a lightning storm because he was pissing me off and blocking my view. And then I started throwing peanuts at him. Until Michael made me stop. Damn him.
The damn Eddie Vedder song practically makes me cry. It's not loving them because of some "lovable loser" idiocy - it's because you know the day the Cubs do throw the monkey off their collective backs and beat it into bloody submission and thus proving the ESPN f***tards wrong, it is GOING TO FEEL SO GOOD. I love this team like crazy because it is a true "TEAM". It's not "Sosa and some other dudes." I love how these guys have each other's backs, and that on any given day, the most unlikely guy can be the spark. Hell, I was at the Cinci game where Marquis - MARQUIS! - freaking hit a home run. I thought the world was going to end right then. And that was before he pulled his grand slam against the Mets!
There's nothing rational about it. But I guess that's love for you.
Just a link to my flickr with pictures of the scenes of happy-happy around Wrigley after we beat the Cardinals on Saturday.
BTW: if anyone knows where to get a t-shirt with that "Hunt for Blue October" sign graphic on it....TELL ME. I need that. Like yesterday.