Even casual observers are aware of the Chicago Cubs’ failure over the last one hundred plus years to win a championship, a level of accomplishment that has built up an aura of inevitability that welcomes suckers, gamblers, statisticians and romantics in equal measure. Writers far more tortured and elegant than I have written about the agony of cheering for the Chicago Cubs.
This legacy of ineptitude is somewhat misleading. The club was actually pretty good, all things considered, from 1903-1945. Since WWII? Only 5 seasons of 90 or more wins. Tampa Bay alone has equaled that mark, and not just from the franchise’s inception in 1998, which would be cringe inducing enough, but since the name change in 2008 from Devil Rays to Rays. Yeesh.
Indiana Jones hesitates to take the idol, unsure whether the Incas forged it during the steroid era.
Maybe Indy wouldn’t be so upset about the Baseball Hall of Fame insanity that we’re subjected to in the new millennium, but I’m growing very weary. Today, around ten players who are obvious, no doubt, sure-fire first-ballot hall of famers were given the shaft by the collected baseball writers of America, most of whom were left out in the cold because they are proven/admitted/suspected steroid users and a few because the voters have no understanding of how to measure greatness. Continue reading →
It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball watching Kerry Wood pitch. Limitless talent, high character, endless injuries, Chicago Cub and all the agony that entails.
I went to Wrigley Field to watch Kerry Wood pitch in his rookie year of 1998, went back in 2000 to see his first start after the arm injury that kept him out for all of 1999. A year and a half on the shelf, and he defeated the Astros in that first appearance back, giving up only one run in six innings, hitting a home run just for good measure. I watched every pitch of his absolute domination of the Braves in the 2003 NL division series, I skipped work on opening day one year to eat pizza and watch Wood defeat the Reds despite giving up four runs. I watched him come back from injury after injury, his transition to a closer, his brief stint with the Indians and Yankees, and his return to the Cubs, where he functioned as a very solid reliever. Continue reading →
Top three on my bucket list as of April 25th, 2012:
1. Attend Bruce Springsteen and the E street Band concert.
2. Discover lost city of the ancient world and take many pictures but tell no one.
3. Watch Chicago Cubs win the world series.
I came to Springsteen late, missing out on his most popular years save for a cassette version of Born in the U.S.A. Sure it was good, but how much credibility could you really give Dancing in the Dark? Well, as it turns out, a lot. Continue reading →