Rambling Four Weeks from Wrigley

“Hello again, everybody.”

Those three words, while probably not as often said as, “I’ll have another,” were always on the tip of Harry Caray’s tongue. A week after what would have been the amazing broadcaster’s 99th birthday, I wanted to lead this edition of Ramblings with a shout-out to the man that made me fall in love with baseball.

When I was somewhere in the age range of 8-10, my parents had friends over for a big barbecue.  The next morning I thought I would help out and clean up the beer tubs and other garbage. (I was most likely I was told to do this.) While performing my chore, I dropped an unopened can of Budweiser on the deck and it sprung a small leak.

I am young … I am scared … I have no idea what to do. I quickly bring the can towards my face and use my mouth to cover the hole.

My dad came outside about five seconds after my first taste of the sweet elixir, sees what is going on and is rather shocked and confused, while most likely being a bit angry and asks, “What are you doing!?”

I freaked out. I had no idea what to say, but I was old enough to know that I should not be drinking beer.  So, I just went with it and said, “Dad, I am a Cub fan and a Bud man.”

My dad loved this response and could not contain his laughter, and he brought me into the kitchen to tell my mother the story. So I began to tell her and promptly threw up all over the floor. True story.

Thanks, Harry!

And on to some rambling …

  • What the Cubs could have gotten for Matt Garza, and what the Cubs will now get for Matt Garza makes me sad.
  • If someone told you 18 months ago that Jeff Samardzija would be the Cubs Opening Day starter in 2013, would you have believed it?
  • I cannot get enough of the World Baseball Classic, or I have watched zero minutes.
  • Starlin’s hamstring scares me, scares me a lot.  If there is another hiccup, I imagine we will see a Twitter parody account of said muscle very soon, if we have not already.  Someone, please jump on this now.
  • Hey the Bronx Zoo Snake’s account was funny for about two days.
  • The whole idea that Americans can play for a foreign country in the World Baseball Classic does not work for me.
  • And this also says to me that Jon Morosi’s argument that the USA has to win to prove baseball is still America’s game is way off base.
  • The point of the WBC is to help baseball become a global game. The best league, the one all strive to play in, is Major League Baseball, and I have a hard time believing that will ever change.
  • However, golf was invented in Scotland, and only one major is played abroad every year. So, I guess you never know, but just about every European would tell you the Open Championship is still the biggest major.
  • I have lived in or near Chicago my entire life, but this city’s government is too funny.  Allowing the Ricketts’ to do what they want with Wrigley, the hotel and all other ballpark-related topics is just plain smart … within reason. But their plan is definitely within reason.
  • Not using taxpayer money should equal a smart, sensible and quick solution to the Wrigley restoration project  Insinuating many negative things will come from this is wrong.  I have lived in Lakeview for over 11 years.  The Cubs are one of the main reasons it is one of the greatest neighborhoods around.  Please, City Hall, don’t stifle progress.
  • Not many owners would be willing to fork over all of the money while only asking for some concessions, like, please let us do this so the whole city can profit.
  • When people complain about the Ricketts, I just want to say fine, go be a Marlins’ fan. Tom and Company truly wants to win.  If you don’t believe that, fine, it is your prerogative, but I vehemently disagree with you.
  • If you feel strongly in the other direction, I would love to hear why below.
  • Soapbox gone, back to actual baseball …
  • Brian Bogusevic is doing his best Joe Mather impersonation.  I can’t take credit for that comparison as many have already discussed this, but nonetheless, he is making people discuss …
  • I want Steve Clevenger to become the Cubs version of Jose Oquendo. That would be cool.
  • I like scrolling through Spring Training stats and seeing names of players once talked about that I have forgotten.  I just saw Zeke DeVoss’ name and thought, “Oh, yeah, that guy.”
  • I would really like to see Darwin Barney hit better in ST.
  • Theo/Jed, call Detroit and figure it out with Marmol. Just please do it. Now.
  • If the Cubs can’t find a suitable trade partner for Soriano, just keep him and let him teach the young guys everything he knows. In the end, I think his impact on the future core of the team is much more valuable than a few pennies and another questionable prospect.
  • I predict Edwin Jackson will find his way with the Cubs. I think we will all be very happy with this signing two years from now.
  • I was also elated when the Bears traded for Rick Mirer.
  • By this point, I really thought we would have seen more from Matt Szczur.  I know he is only 23, but I have been very high on him for two years and have yet to see anything that gives me hope.
  • I also thought Bobby Brownlie and Brooks Kieschnick were the future. And to be fair, Kevin Orie as well.

And I will leave it at that for now.  While Spring Training may have started, it is still slow, and thanks to my favorite application Twitter, nothing is new anymore, so we have to get creative here.  And I hope I was able to do that today.

Please share all of your thoughts below, and let’s have an enjoyable Friday conversation about our beloved Cubs.

And until next time …

Stay Class Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Tom U

    I know the secret has already been let out of the bag:

    Happy Birthday Neil!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks Tom.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Indeed, happy birthday to the editor of the best Cubs site ever!

        • bluekoolaidaholic

          Hear! Hear!

      • paulcatanese

        Indeed, Happy Birthday Neil,many more, and they will pile up. Enjoy the day.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Thanks Paul, I hope they do.

    • Aaron

      ditto, Neil

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Thanks Aaron

  • Brp921

    I wouldn’t have thought Samardziga getting the opening day start to be to way out there. I have always believed The Shark would develope into a good starting pitcher, and the Cubs aren’t loaded with aces. (I’m not saying I would have predicted it) He would have been drafted a lot higher if teams thought they could sign him.
    I agree the Ricketts want to win and that’s a breath of fresh air. I thought years ago when the trib bought the Cubs that they would become winners because the trib had money. Boy was I wrong!
    I agree about Jackson.
    And last but not least…Happy Birthday Neil!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you.

  • Dan

    Keep Soriano!!! His experience is priceless for a team that’s so young. We have the money, so the pricetag is really a non-issue.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Great ramblings Brian. I must admit when I see your name, it makes me think of when the Blackhawks signed Brian McCabe and how awful he was. That makes me sad.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Totally agree on Soriano. Unless they get blown away at the deadline he is more valuable to us than what we would get. But if he’s on his way to 30 taters again then we should be able to get a haul at deadline.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Agreed on Ricketts. I would have liked to have seen Mark Cuban buy the Cubs but the Ricketts seem to really want to win. There’s something to be said for a fan buying the team.

    • Aaron

      Indeed there is something to be said for that. I was initially very upset by the purchase of the team, because I wanted Cuban, and I didn’t think Tom Ricketts really had a plan, especially retaining Hendry like he did. However, it now seems like he really might’ve had a plan all along to land Theo, and that looks like a very wise move to wait it out in hindsight….didn’t look wise at the time, but one can certainly look at that decision and say he really might’ve had that at the top of his list.

      And while Cuban might’ve been the popular choice, it also might not have been the smart choice, given that Cuban wasn’t really a fan, and had no connection to baseball.

      As for Ald Tunney, he can kiss my ass, and I’m pretty sure most Cubs fans would say the same thing once they really dissect the situation. Here is the exact text surround Tunney:

      *************************************************************

      Tunney said Thursday that he would not sign off on a deal unless it
      included more parking, better police protection and “aesthetic”
      assurances sought by Wrigleyville residents and businesses — all issues
      that have yet to be settled.

      Reminded that Emanuel is pushing for
      an agreement, in part because the Ricketts family that owns the Cubs is
      not asking for any government funding, Tunney replied, “Yeah, but it’s
      not going to be on the backs of my community, sorry.”

      The
      Rickettses have maintained that a deal needs to get done by Opening Day
      in early April so they can line up the contractors and materials needed
      to fix up their aging ballpark, but Tunney dismissed that concern.

      “You’re
      talking about one of the wealthiest families in America,” the alderman
      told a throng of City Hall reporters pressing him on the issue. “End of
      statement.”

      ***************************************************************

      What Tunney is talking about is crony capitalism. He’s talking about strong-arming a private institution into giving back to the community (something they already do) without offering concessions himself. Additionally, Tunney has a brain the size of a peanut, if he doesn’t realize he’s asking the Ricketts to pay for public parking….PUBLIC PARKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….without a dime from the city.

      Another thing that bothers me about our country is that the Democratic party is no longer in existence. Neither is the Republican party….Instead, you have the Communism vs Socialism. Guys like Tunney, Emmanuel, almost all of Congress, the media, etc., almost all of them espouse communist tendencies. This whole notion of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

      And I’m sorry that I’m bringing politics onto a site that should have nothing to do with it, but guys, we are at a crossroads….are we honestly going to put up with this bullsh$t from douchebags like Tunney?!?!?

      To put this into perspective for everyone…his comments about the Ricketts family being successful, etc., just show how far we’ve lost our way in this country. Instead of being proud of success, we hide from it. What does that teach our kids? What should this teach us about the relationship between sports and success?

      The answer is if you work hard, and develop skills, you’ll reap the benefit. If you take away that benefit, and share equally among everyone, then that “carrot” no longer exists.

      As far as I’m concerned, commies like Tunney and pretty much all of our politicians nowadays should be locked away. Has nobody learned from history? Oh, that’s right, I think this country is something like 30th in education now, with most kids not being able to read or think critically. This is not the country my forefathers fought for.

      I’m so mad right now after reading Tunney’s words that I can hardly think straight, and I’m not even among the much-maligned “1%”. But that motivates me. Take that opportunity away, and we go from being a land of opportunity to an absolute wasteland.

      What Alderman Tunney is suggesting is that the Cubs provide everything the city should be providing on their own dime, and not just that, but both he and Emmanuel have stated the Cubs shouldn’t receive any help for renovations or city improvements from taxes they already pay. Honestly people, do we really elect these people?!?!? HOW?!? Look in all of these socialist/communist countries that have ever existed. Who gets the short end of the stick every damn time? It’s basically you and me. The middle class gets the short end every time, because the top end inevitably becomes part of government to survive, and the bottom will be given necessities without working for it.

      Tunney’s argument is total nonsense. He’s trying to seem tough on private entities to show his people that he’s standing up for them when in reality, he’s doing the exact opposite. If he were standing up for them, he’d work out a deal, along with Emmanuel and the state to share the “entertainment tax” (or whatever it was), and ensure that Wrigley is there to stay for future generations. Here’s the thing to keep in mind (and also a BIG reason why I brought politics into this). Who pays the taxes? The answer is you, me, and the Cubs. Who keeps the tax revenue? Politicians. Hmmmmmmmmmm. So if a private institution like the Cubs did not exist, then the tax revenue to pay these fat cats in government would not be there either, right?

      The bottom line is, the Cubs need to move the hell out of there to whomever, and wherever they can work with a city that WANTS THEM, and then Tunney and Emmanuel can face the political ramifications of the Cubs leaving under their watch, and the Cubs could put out public service ads, etc. stating their reasons why (using the White Sox as an example…and the Bulls) as to why they moved.

      Sorry guys for the rant, but everyone needs to really get involved, and start paying attention to what’s going on in this country, and it starts at the local level.

      • Henry

        No apologies! I loved it and totally agree with you!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        Love it Aaron. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to the expected handouts and kickbacks from the politicians. What is really funny about this is that Tunney is siding with the rich (rooftop owners) instead of the wealthy (Ricketts). His liberal sensibilities must have him tossing and turning in his sleep. Where is a poor guy for him to defend..? Oh that is right they kicked all of the lower end housing out of his district years ago.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andyturner9 Andy Turner

      Living in D/FW and watching Cubans act with the NBA is tiresome. He is classless… SO glad he runs the Mavs (and not my Spurs) and even happier he cant run my Cubs

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I like the concept of the World Baseball Classic and I don’t have any problem with players playing for teams of their heritage, otherwise it would only have about 4 competitive teams. It’s a chance to bring this great game to yonder places and have people in Italy, etc, realize there is a player in the MLB they can get behind.

  • Dorasaga

    This whole WBC stuff… long story. In short, I’m lovin’ it, and I’ve met a few Dutchmen, Germans, and Brits who did so!

  • Craig

    Threaten to move to the suburbs if the city keeps up the nonsense. Then actually do it if city still doesn’t cooperate

    • Henry

      I hear Arlington heights is looking for something to replace the race track. Let the Kane County cougars play their home games in Wrigley

  • SuzyS

    Yes…Neil…Happy Happy!!!!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you Suzy