View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



December 2016



Not just ANOTHER Auld Lang Syne

Written by , Posted in General

With apologies, perhaps, to Dan Fogelberg AND Robert Burns. I’ll save you from the Google, CAPS – Burns wrote the song that is now most closely associated with New Year’s Eve (which was not a holiday song back then) and Fogelberg wrote a contemporary song with a similar lyric. Not to go “All Len Kasper” on this last post of the year, but if you stay up past streetlights today, you’ll probably hear one of them…

Auld Lang Syne was written in the 1700’s by Burns (A Scottish poet) and loosely translates to “Times gone by.” The Fogelberg song brings it forward a few hundred years and focuses on “that old familiar pain” of lost love, regret, and mostly what “could” have been. Sound familiar Cub fans? Could be describing Steve Goodman’s “A Dying Cub Fans Last Request.” (Did you know he wrote “Go Cubs Go” out of spite because Dallas Green called Dying Cub Fan too depressing?) The song is really pretty simply – it’s about preserving old friendships and remembering the events of the year.

Enough music history. This New Year’s Eve is different than any other in my lifetime. Unless you are really freaking old – and I’m talking old enough to REMEMBER the 1908 World Series, this NYE is different than any other in YOUR lifetime, too. There is no “Wait til next year.” There is no “if only” hanging over the baseball part of our lives. That gaping hole in the wish list has been filled. “If only” has been replaced with “who will bat leadoff?” and “how will  Kyle Schwarber’s knee respond?” and “will they extend Jake Arrieta?” For once, there is a sense of calm and contentedness in Cub-nation. Make no mistake, we’ll all freak out at the first three game losing streak (if there is one) and we’ll piss and moan about Jon Lester’s pickoff move. {long pause for effect.}  For now, my friends, may we all enjoy the memory of the events of the year, and what a year it was! Here’s to preserving old friendships, and the good fortune to continue to make new ones, in person, on blogs, in ballparks…wherever your life may take you in 2017.

My favorite Cub moments from 2016? Baez’s walk-off against the Nationals. That was an emotional pivot for the whole team. Of course, everything post-season…those were some EXCITING games. The entire series in San Diego with some VFTB “buds.” Schwarber’s comeback in the series (which I think I predicted months earlier and was told I was nuts) and the energy and emergence of Willson Contreras. There are 207 others, but space is limited…in a word, wow. What a year.

As Paul Harvey might have said…

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Make any? Plan to keep them? I hope you make some and I hope you keep them. It’s a good time to consider the slate clean, and to at least try to drop some bad habits in favor of good ones. They can be life altering, or they can be very small. The real benefit of any resolution is, in my opinion, simply doing it. If you don’t, you start your year with a cloud of negativity hanging over your head – and that’s no way to start a year. You’re better off not making resolutions if you don’t have the resolve to see them through. Make them attainable. Baby steps. You’ll feel better every time you hit a goal.

Mine? I made two last year and kept them, and part of this year’s resolution is to continue those: eating healthy and exercising daily. (Do not tell me you don’t have time to exercise.) I am going to learn to speak Spanish this year – I’m spending too much time in South America and it would be a huge benefit to know the language. Chinese…maybe another year. I HAVE the Rosetta Stone tapes for Mandarin but have not been able to wrap myself into it just yet. I’ll save that for 2018.

Final resolution: Kindness first. Regardless of the first (reactionary) response I may have to a situation, I’ll try to consider this old adage: “Everyone you meet is battling something you know nothing about. So be kind.”

I will take a shot at some resolutions for the Cubs:

For Javier Baez: to pick up the spin sooner (a nice way of saying to lay off the ball in the dirt)

For Joe Maddon: to realize that he has nothing to prove, and to manage smart all the time. (There are no brownie points for “quirky.”)

For Kyle Schwarber: to stay out of the center fielder’s way. (i.e. health – a full season at 100%)

For Jason Heyward:  to make solid contact a lot more often

For Anthony Rizzo: to take a day off every now and again

For Jon Lester: well, you know…

Let us know your resolutions, and the ones you’d make for this Cub team.

Happy New Year to you all – wishing you love, happiness, health, success, productivity, spontaneity, laughter, fun and of course, a back to back World Series Championship! Going out tonight? Be safe!

  • Eddie Von White

    Great post as always Sherm. My philosophy is “this too will pass.” Good times will give way to more difficult times which will eventually lead back to better times. Perspective in the situation is everything.

    I hate New Year’s resolutions but I do make New Year’s goals. Not sure there is any difference, but to me resolutions seem destined to failure. Personal goals: 1. Run a 5k this year. 2. Maintain my ideal weight (two years ago I lost 65 lbs to get there) and I intend to stay here.

    For the Cubs: 1. Win at least one more game than last year.
    2. Bring as much joy to my household as last year.

    • Seymour Butts

      Wise philosophy…works on just about everything except the occasional fecolith.

  • Doc Raker

    One of my favorite moments of 2016 was when we swept the Nationals early in the season and Hendricks out pitched Sczerzerrzr. At that point I said to myself, “Self, our number 5 just beat the ace of a National League pennant contender, we just might be a pretty good team.”

    My favorite moment of 2015, when Schwarbs came up for his MLB debut in Cleveland to DH and just raked all series long. I said to myself, “Self, this Schwarbs dude can rake like I have never seen before.” Turns out Cleveland is a special place for Schwarbs.

    Happy New Year VFTB buds. Can’t wait for 2017 spring training, let’s do some dinner at Don and Charlies. I will make the seating chart CAPS.

  • Karen Hirsh

    For Kris B. to lay off the outside pitches; for Edwards to be great as the closer; for Maddon to stick with his pitchers longer and for 2017 to be as wonderful as 2016!!!!! Happy New Year to all.

  • Brad Lyerla

    This is really a great post, Sherm. Thanks.

    I did not plan to have a resolution this year, but you make such a good case for kindness, that I want that to be my resolution too. Be kinder.

    As for the Cubs, I don’t want to be greedy. I just hope they play well and compete and keep it fun.

    Happy New Year to all.

  • Douglas Saye

    Thanks a lot Sherm! This was literally the same post I was going to make tomorrow, almost word-for-word so now back to the drawing board for me!

    Just kidding, great post.

    I usually do the typical resolutions — save more, eat healthier, etc. Then life happens and I rarely save more and the rush-rush lifestyle makes eating healthy a chore. I will try it all again until I get it right. I also like the kindness resolution and having the understanding that everyone has their own burdens, we just may not be able to see them.

    For the Cubs, I just want to enjoy them again this year and not become the type of fan that I saw many in the Red Sox community become after they first won a title. I will treat each win with joy and not over-react to losses, or even strings of losses.

    Have a fun and safe NYE everyone.

    • JTBarrett16

      Eating healthy: Every weekend I cook all my meals for the week this way I have healthy food for those busy days.

      • Douglas Saye

        I try that as well but finding myself getting tired of chicken…

      • JTBarrett16

        I vary what I do for lunch. Sometimes chicken, fish, ratatouille, chili, meatloaf. And I always do either chicken or turkey for lunch. Never beef. I can’t eat it for lunch. Breakfast I always do eggs and oatmeal.

      • So you’re the guy microwaving fish at work.

      • Doc Raker

        Doug, do you batch cook with your shirt off? CAPS can teach how to do that. CAPS, you still aren’t batch cooking eggs are you?

      • JTBarrett16

        I cook eggs every week

      • Doc Raker

        Leftover eggs taste like caca. A fresh cooked agg takes 3 minutes to cook. Why in the world do you need to pre cook eggs?

      • JTBarrett16

        They taste just fine to me. I pre-cook because I don’t have time to cook in the morning of a workday. I take my breakfast with me to work, and eat in between calls and on breaks.

  • Seymour Butts

    I resolve to have less rigidity in my decisions to do or not to do something.

    • Doc Raker

      Less rigidity, I figured you are used to that already. Wait, sorry, is that unkind to say? Bad Raker, bad.

  • JTBarrett16

    My new year’s resolutions: To eat less shit and work out more. I’d like to get under 200 lbs and this time keep it. I’ve gotten under a couple of times but then gained it back.

  • Joe Aiello

    Sherm is the Jack Handey of VFTB

    • Sherm

      That’s the nicest thing anyone ha ever said to me.

    • Dork


      before that he was all like ” the cubs will never win because they are bad at this or that.”

      • Out poet laureate was pretty negative until the final out.. good call Dork

      • Sherm

        Not true. So not true. I simply made it my duty to point out that if they didn’t do certain things better, i.e. fundamentals, that they would not go all the way. Obviously, they improved at those things. I’m always positive (until I’m not)

        Maybe I have a slight case of “Bloggerus Imperfectus” but remember that I’m also tasked with making people think, respond and participate.

      • Eddie Von White

        Good job, Sherm.

      • Dork

        My comment was intended to be a light hearted jab – It was a partial truth – I agree no one knew how it would turn out – so hindsight and all – and it worked out but Just barely

      • Sherm

        Most of what I do falls under the column “light-hearted jabs” so trust me, I didn’t take any offense to your post. And you are right – more than once, I called them out…both as a team and individually, for play unbecoming of a champion.

        I’m not sure when it was that I truly SAW this as a team that not only COULD, but would win the World Series. There were times in each post-season series that I surely thought “uh-oh…here we go” but I think it was before that when they mowing teams down toward the season’s end that something clicked and I realized that this just might happen. (And, once the Cubs started reading this blog and LISTENING to us? Well, the rest is history!”)

        Thanks! Happy New Year!

      • JTBarrett16

        Very true