Who is it, who will it be, who “takes the cake”? This is the question I pose to you as the reader, the fan, the “die-hard who would do anything for a Cubs’ World Series title”. Who will be the Cub of the year? The obvious choices are Derrek Lee or Aramis Ramirez. But let’s look deeper and harder and closer to the question. Who will make this all happen? Is it Matt Murton or Ronny Cedeno? Will Juan Pierre become the player we expect? Can Jacque Jones prove us wrong? Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre, will they live up to their contracts? Is it possible for Ryan Dempster to be ALMOST perfect again? Will Michael Barrett break through that wall and be the next 5 year All-Star? These are all great questions (I wrote them, of course they are great). In all seriousness, who will it be? My answer, none of them, not one! I am here to announce to you who the Cub of the year is… … …RON SANTO! Sure, I know that my take is what the Tribune Company is counting on from Cubs’ fans, but be serious, he is the ONE constant you can count on to be there. Day in and day out, Ron Santo provides entertainment, heart, desire and soul. His love for the Cubs is unparalleled by anyone in the world. I am the biggest Cubs’ fan I know, but he is bigger. Ron comes to the ball park to provide “color commentary” of the game. Well, I must say, he is the MOST colorful thing I have ever heard. A listener always knows how Ron feels, he has never mislead anyone, never told a lie and never once confused anyone but himself. He is the reason we turn the off the TV to listen to the radio. He embodies a Cubs fan, a real fan, and the greatest fan.
When listening to Ron Santo, it does not matter if you are 3, 13, 23, 33, 43, 83, you get the point, EVERYONE knows how Ron feels! That is the point, that is his job; this is what he is supposed to do. Some “critics” say Ron is not good at his job or is not effective on the radio. I cannot use the words I want to right now to describe how I feel about these comments. The morning radio show on ESPN radio loves Ron; they play his broadcasts the following morning every now and again. He is all heart, all soul and all Cubs!
Nine years have passed since Harry died, and though no one will ever be Harry, Mr. Caray was not Ron. Harry was awesome, a great broadcaster and a great fan, but he could never be Ron, no one could. Ron became a Cub before he really became a man. He went on the field everyday and put it all on the line, and he did it with a disease I cannot even comprehend.
I could write pages and pages about Mr. Santo, but they would all say the same thing, he is the biggest Cubs’ fan in the world. The man has had a heart attack and multiple amputations, but he keeps going, nothing will stop him. Thom Brenneman mentioned Ron while describing the 9th inning of the NLDS in ’03 as the one person who was not there. He went on to speak of Ron in a regard rarely used. As his old broadcast partner, Mr. Brenneman knew how much Santo loved the Cubs and always will. If you don’t know, go watch, “This Old Cub”.
Ron Santo is Wrigley, he the Cubs, he is everything for this franchise. While he rode around the field on a golf cart in 2003, the day after the Cubs clinched; there was not a dry eye in the house. His jersey retirement ceremony was such a great day and the only thing could have paralleled the previous day. Mr. Santo stepped up to the microphone and said something similar to the following, “I did not think the Cubs would retire my jersey if I did not get into the Hall of Fame, but they did. You know folks, THIS is my Hall of Fame.” The greatest part, he meant it. The Baseball Writers of America are great people, but no one is perfect, and until they put him in the Hall of Fame, they are most definitely imperfect.
In February of 2007 Ron Santo will be up for induction into the Hall of Fame one more time. I, for one, will be glued to the internet that day until I know the outcome. I am extremely confident Mr. Santo will receive the honor he deserved decades ago, but if not, there will not be a dry eye anywhere, except for Ron. He will not cry, he will just go on as he has for years. He will wake every day to go to his job, knowing he has yet to receive his most ultimate honor. However, the funny thing is, in his eyes, he already did!
Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com and until next time,
Stay Classy Cubs Fans