Last week Joe, the awesomely cool proprietor of this internet establishment of Cubs fandom, asked me if I’d like to do a weekly column. What could I do? I jumped at the chance. I’ve managed to somehow pull the wool over his eyes to where he lets me post my thoughts on the Cubs any old time I want. And you lucky souls get to read it. To which I am truly sorry. No, honestly. I am sorry. I never meant for my inner thoughts on the Cubs to ever see the light of day. Mostly because they frighten me. They probably frighten you. I mean seriously, I wanted Cesar Izturis to be the starting shortstop. Surely something is very wrong in this head of mine. I even like Jacque Jones, and I keep pulling for Scott Eyre. How did I get one Joe Aiello, to let me ramble on a few times a week? It’s all in the wrists, my captive little readers.
As we all know, there’s a lot more going on out there than just Cubs baseball. Calm down folks, the idiocy of that comment will pass…..just….wait….for…. it. With “From Right Field,” I’m going to attempt to tackle some stories outside of Northside baseball, and cover stories elsewhere in the MLB. Heck, maybe even something outside of baseball. It will all depend on my mood, which changes as often as the wind direction in Wrigley. Which brings me to why I’m even writing.
We’ve all established our roots into Cubs fandom by some experience, family mantra, or the shear fact that being a White Sox fan is probably even more painful. At least the North Siders get the publicity, right? 2005? What the heck happened then? I jest, of course, as I have Sox fan friends. Silly little fellas and fella-ettes they are.
My first experience with the Cubs dates back to 1983. My Dad took me out to the old ballgame one dreary April afternoon, to watch the Cubbies take on the Philadelphia Phillies. I can still see the field from our seats in the upper deck looking down the left field line. As an eight year old, I don’t recall much of the game, except that Ron Cey hit a home run that went right down that said left field line. I, being quite the “Penguin” fan, rejoiced at seeing my very first Cubs home run at Wrigley. It didn’t last long, as the crew in blue, called it foul after quick meeting. Which resulted in the immortal Jim Frey coming out to have a little “Come to Jesus” meeting with these fine umpires. They reversed the call, making it a home run once again. Lordy, this baseball is exciting stuff! Naturally, Philadelphia’s manager Pat Coralles, not to be outdone, discussed the matter further, which in turn resulted in the ball being called foul again. Benches cleared, and a brawl of mammoth proportions ensued. My eight year old brain was tumbling with thoughts of how cool baseball was. Homeruns, arguments, and full blown fist-a-cuffs. It can’t get any better than this! Where was this in my t-ball games?
That one game, sparked my life long sentence of loving the Cubs. Through hell and high water, I’ve stood by them, although sometimes I’m more likely to be hiding quietly in the shadows. They’ve annoyed, tormented, loved back, and beaten me over the head these past thirty two years, and I wouldn’t change it for a lifetime of winning. This franchise is a fantastic character when each year a new chapter is written that is full of drama, comedy, horror, and sometimes a little science fiction. Players that have come and gone, some even welcomed back. Guys with names of Jody, Ryno, Leon, Shooter, One Dog, Mickey, Sammy, Moises, Kerry, and Bob. Yeah, that’s right. I said Bob.
My love for the Cubs can be summed up in one little statement. It’s from the movie “Jerry Maguire,” to which I’m sure many of you will remember the scene. Jerry is discussing the latest contract negotiations between the NFL Cardinals and his ego bloated client, Rod Tidwell.
Jerry says, “I am out here for you. You don’t know what it’s like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, OK?”
And so is my love for the Cubs.
“From Right Field” will appear every Monday. Except in cases where Matt loses track of time while dreaming of Cesar Izturis.