Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

Cubs forgive infamous ‘fan’

Winning is such a miraculous balm. It cures the deepest pain among the most ardent followers of sports teams.

Consider what occurred in Chicago, which welcomed a World Series championship this past year when the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians.

Do you remember a guy named Steve Bartman? He was the fan who was sitting along the left-field wall in October 2003; he reached out over the field and disrupted the Cubs’ Moises Alou, who was running to catch a popped-up baseball. Had Alou made the catch, the Cubs — who were leading at that moment — would have been just four outs from winning the National League Championship Series playoff game against the Florida Marlins. He didn’t, thanks to Bartman’s interference. The Marlins won the game — and the pennant. The Cubs would be denied their first NL pennant since 1945.

Bartman has been scorned ever since. He has kept the lowest of profiles.

Well, the Cubs gave Bartman a World Series ring earned from the title they won in 2016. It’s the Cubs’ way of saying, “We forgive you, Steve.”

Bartman was touched by the gesture. “I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society,” Bartman told WGN in a statement. “My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.”

As the late Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” In this case, it turns out to have been the only way for the Cubs to demonstrate they had no hard feelings toward one of their more ardent fans.

I happen to think the Cubs did something very cool.

MLB trying its best to ruin the Grand Old Game

I saw this item about a so-called “experiment” that Major League Baseball is pondering … and promptly flipped out!

MLB is considering a plan to monkey around with extra-inning baseball games. The plan is to place a runner at second base to start the 10th inning of a game.

As I understand it, the visiting team that bats first in the extra inning would have a runner at second — in other words in “scoring position” when the hitter comes to the plate. I presume that the home team gets to do the same thing when it comes to bat at the bottom of the inning.

My plea is this: Do … not … do … this!

I guess the big leagues have grown weary of extra-inning games going into the wee hours. My answer? That’s too damn bad!

Baseball is a game built on tradition. As such, I remain a purist in the sport.

It was bad enough that the American League instituted the designated hitter rule in the early 1970s. Then they decided to enact inter-league play during the regular season, rather than having teams play each other exclusively within their leagues; the old way made the World Series all the more exciting when the American League and National League champs would face each other for the first time that season.

It got worse when inter-league play allowed National League teams to use the DH when they were playing in AL cities.

Then they installed lights at Wrigley Field, allowing the Chicago Cubs to play night baseball games.

Let’s not forget that MLB now has instant replay reviews, holding up the pace of play.

Let’s leave the game alone. If these games go on seemingly forever, let ’em play hardball.


One more thing: Pete Rose does not belong in the Hall of Fame. He bet on baseball. The rule says doing so results in a “lifetime ban” from the game. He bet. He got caught. He should pay the price.

I had to get that off my chest, too.

Cubs’ celebration goes the right way


Have you noticed what you haven’t heard about in the wake of the Chicago Cubs’ historic victory in the World Series?

It’s the apparent lack of violence as Cubs fans have celebrated their team’s big win over the Cleveland Indians.

We’ve heard of many instances over many years about fans’ enthusiasm erupting into violence as they “celebrate” their teams’ big victories. Cubs fans waited 108 years for this one, although surely no one today was around when the North Side team actually won the Fall Classic way back when.

They still have a parade to stage through the city. I’ll wish them well as they continue their partying and carrying on.

And the lack of violence? It seems genuinely poetic that it would be Chicago — the City With Broad Shoulders, the Windy City and the city with the terrible reputation for crime — would react in such a positive manner to this huge athletic victory.

I’m happy for them. I also am happy for the rest of the nation that can enjoy a bit of vicarious thrill as Chicago jumps for joy.

World Series dominates the news … thank goodness!


I awoke this morning, turned on the TV, surfed the major networks’ morning talk shows and discovered the following: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series!

The election? That desultory exercise in democracy? The miserable contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump? It took a back seat to the really big news of the previous night.

What a wonderful relief from the home stretch of this campaign!

To be candid, I didn’t have a dog in the World Series fight. I didn’t particularly care which team won. I get that Cubs fans waited 108 years since their team’s last World Series win. The Cleveland Indians have their own futility streak; the Indians haven’t won since 1948.

The joy in Chicago is overwhelming. Good for them!

And good for the rest of us who have been given a slight — and all too brief — respite from the hideous campaign for the presidency.

Take care, Cubs fan(atic)s


I am perhaps a bit paranoid, but I’m going to express this concern anyway.

The Chicago Cubs are playing in their first World Series since 1945. They haven’t won the Fall Classic since 1908.

That’s 108 years since the City with Big Shoulders has had a chance to cheer. That means to me that Cubs fans have a lot of pent-up anxiety.

My concern is what might happen in Chicago if the Cubs manage to beat the Cleveland Indians — who haven’t won a World Series since 1948.

Chicago has developed a reputation in recent years as a rough-and-tough city. Lots of violent crime occurs there. Republicans are fond of blaming the city’s Democratic leadership — led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel — for the big uptick in crime violence in the Windy City.

So, what awaits the city if the Cubs win this thing?

About the worst possible outcome might be if the Indians were to win on a last-inning controversial call by a field umpire that costs the Cubs the victory.

Too many cities over the years have erupted into violence when their teams win, be it the Super Bowl, the NBA championship, the Stanley Cup … and the World Series.

Chicago fans have been waiting a long, long time for a chance to cheer the Cubs’ biggest victory.

I’m holding my breath. I am hoping for the best. If the Cubs win, then I hope the fans can celebrate … without someone getting killed!

What if the Cubs win the Series?


Baseball fans everywhere — and I include myself in that category of Americans — have taken note that the Chicago Cubs are going to participate in Major League Baseball’s playoffs.

Eventually, they’ll get down to two teams — one from the National League and one from the American League.

I guess there’s a fascination with the Cubs’ chances of making it to the Big Show.

I’m not a big Cubs fan. Indeed, it seems that whenever the Cubs get close to taking part in the World Series, their fan base seems to grow by many times. Baseball fans who didn’t care a bit about the Cubs then start rooting for them.

Why is that? Well, it’s been 70 years since the Cubs last played in the World Series; they lost the Series in 1945 to the Detroit Tigers.

Moreover, it’s been 117 since the Cubs won the World Series; they beat those Detroit Tigers in 1908. It’s the longest-lasting frustration streak in the history of professional sports, I reckon.

I believe it was a Cubs follower who coined the phrase “Wait’ll next year” because of the Cubs’ inability to win, let alone win the World Series.

I fear what might happen if the Cubs actually win the 2015 World Series. Hell will freeze over, Earth will spin off its axis, the sun will rise in the West and Martians will actually land at Area 51.

If only Mr. Cub, the great Ernie Banks, could be around to see it.


Why no 'E' for these goofs?

MESA, Ariz. — Sitting through a spring training exhibition baseball that gets out of hand early gives you time to let your mind wander.

Today’s game between the Oakland A’s and the Chicago Cubs was a blowout when we decided to leave at the end of the seventh inning. The A’s were leading 15-2 and the Cubs looked as though they wanted the game to be over immediately.

So, where did my mind wander?

I was wondering why a wild pitch or a passed ball — mistakes committed by pitchers and catchers, respectively — aren’t scored as an “error” in the box score.

Baseball is a game of statistics. You can find a stat for anything, any activity, any good deed or misdeed committed on the field.

The Cubs’ right fielder today was dinged for two errors on the same play as he booted the ball twice while trying to pick it up deep in the right-field corner. The A’s hitter was credited with a double, but he ended up on third base as the ball finally got thrown into the infield.

We saw three passed balls today. Yes, the errors were logged in the scorebook as “passed balls,” but not as errors. Why not?

The catcher erred in letting the ball get by him, allowing runners to advance; had the ball gotten past the catcher with no one on base, there wouldn’t be a record of it in the scorebook.

I pose these questions as a way to make pitchers and catchers even more, um, accountable for the mistakes they make on the field. A pitcher goes wild, that’s his mistake; a catcher lets a catchable pitch slip past him, that his error.

They ought to show up — on the record — in the book of baseball records.


'Mr. Cub' leaves the field

Ernie Banks has died and I’m feeling strangely out of sorts.

At one level, I am — of course — sad to hear the news of Mr. Cub’s death at age 83. He might have been Major League Baseball’s premier ambassador, although St. Louis Cardinals fans have made the case for their icon, the late Stan “The Man” Musial.

But at another level, I am somewhat chastened by the notion that I never really took the opportunity to cheer for Mr. Cub. I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s and much of my baseball attention was gobbled up by some other pretty good athletes. Guys like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan the Man and Roberto Clemente all commanded much of my attention. You had the occasional flash in the pan, such as Roger Maris, also getting attention.


Ernie Banks? All he did was belt 512 home runs in his 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs while playing shortstop and then first base.

Mr. Cub had the misfortune of never playing in the postseason. No World Series. No playoffs to get to the Big Show. Nothing. Most of his teams finished with losing records. Maybe that’s why I didn’t care. Hey, I was a kid who was interested in winners, right?

None of that mattered to the Hall of Fame voters who inducted Banks into the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine in 1977, his first year of eligibility. They knew baseball greatness when they saw it.

Little did I understand until much later that you didn’t need to play on teams that routinely scored more runs than the other team to be a winner.

Mr. Cub’s enthusiasm for the game he loved was infectious. “Let’s play two,” he said famously — and that quote will be repeated endlessly over the next few days.

Pro sports has suffered a bit of an image problem of late. Baseball’s been tainted by steroid and other “performance enhancing drug” use. Pro football has been shamed by the off-the-field savagery of some of its stars against women.

Against that backdrop, now we say “goodbye” to a seriously good and decent man who, by the way, could play a pretty good game of baseball himself.