Today in Cubs History: Thirty Years of Monday

DC Tom alerted me to the 30th anniversary of the Monday game, and I in turn asked him to share his memories and thoughts on the game. My remarks come first, and his remarks follow. I hope you enjoy these two perspectives. Or, at least, his! Readers of this site, historically, have expressed the full range of opinions about whether and how baseball and politics mix, and how they ought to mix, if at all. My own opinion is that politics is the process of publicly contesting the proper ordering of society ñ its distribution of resources, its expression of values and priorities, and the extent and nature of persons' obligations to each other. Far from being a dirty word, or something done only in designated locations, like city hall, I see politics as virtually synonymous with social living. Baseball, which in a thousand different ways rests within a social context, is inextricably linked to politics; To me, those connections often are as subtle and intriguing as the game itself. Most of the time, however, most people donít notice these connections, and donít particularly care. It is, after all, the game itself that matters the most to the baseball fan. But occasionally, a particular connection between baseball and the wider political climate becomes the thing that truly matters. Jackie Robinson's debut with the Dodgers. Jack Buck, trembling from physical infirmity and the emotion of the moment, on September 17th, 2001. ìI have never used steroids. Period.î And thirty years ago, today, on what was the 100th anniversary of the first game the Chicago Cubs ever played, Rick Monday, Chicago Cubs center-fielder, grabbing an American flag from a man who had run onto the field in order to set the flag on fire. In the bottom of the fourth inning on April 25th, 1976, 37 year old William Errol Thomas (often incorrectly identified by bloggers as William Morris) of Eldon, MO and his son leapt onto the Dodger Stadium field, and ran to shallow left-center, where they unfurled an American flag on the ground, doused it in lighter fluid, and attempted to set it on fire. Before it could ignite, Monday rushed in from behind, swept the flag off the ground, and delivered it to Doug Rau, a Dodgersí pitcher.
When Monday rushed into the middle of a flag-burning, he unwittingly rushed into the middle of a dour, divided nation, and for a moment, however brief, offered us unity and optimism. America had withdrawn from the Vietnam War in 1973, and the South Vietnamese government that the US had supported, located in Saigon, fell to the communist rebel forces in 1975. The year before that, President Richard Nixon had resigned from office in disgrace, rather than face certain impeachment and conviction over his directing of illegal activities to discredit his (real or perceived) political enemies, and subsequent cover-up. Race riots replaced peaceful protest in the years following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Urban conditions rapidly deteriorated nationwide, with New York City teetering near bankruptcy. Just months from the bi-centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Americans felt ambivalent about their recent past and near future. In an instant, Monday's act transformed him from a baseball player and into an icon. He was praised in every city the Cubs played, with fan mail pouring in from across America. Everyone from President Ford to local town halls issued resolutions of thanks. Mayor Daley named Monday the Grand Marshall of the cityís Flag Day parade. As it turns out, Thomasís reason for the attempted burning appears to have been completely idiosyncratic, unrelated to any of these divisive matters. According to the Los Angeles Times,
ìThe man who tried to burn the American Flag at Dodger Stadium was attempting to draw attention to what he claims is his wifeís ìimprisonmentî in a Missouri mental institution, authorities say.î (LAT, 4/30/1976)
Charged with trespassing, Thomas was convicted and sentenced to a yearís probation and a $60 fine or three days in jail. He took the three days. After the trial's conclusion, the Dodgers delivered the flag back to Monday. In many ways, it was a complete fluke that Monday got brought into the spotlight: he was in the right place at the right time to respond to an event that someone else initiated. Thomas and his son had ran past Jose Cardenal on their way to center. There was plenty of time for other players or security to respond. Indeed, Tommy Lasorda was racing to the outfield, but Monday got there, first. But dismissing Mondayís iconic status as a fluke would unfairly belittle two important facts. Monday did act, and he acted gracefully. The mid-70s through the early 80s was a time when the persistent threat of mob violence hung over professional sports ñ think of Reggie Jackson desperately racing to get off the field when the Yankees won the 1977 World Series, bowling through the hordes of fans that had flooded past the horse-mounted police line.

Or Disco Demolition Night.

Granted, those incidents had not yet occurred when Monday considered whether or not to advance; but he did already have a past history with crazed fans jumping onto the field, which must have made him think twice. A fan in Oakland, years earlier, had drunkenly raced around the outfield, shaking Mondayís, Mike Hershbergerís, and Reggie Jacksonís hands, before escaping over the center field wall. (With Monday and Jackson giving him a hand up!) (Muskatt, Banks to Sandberg to Grace p. 152) So Monday easily could have chosen to avoid any confrontation with Thomas. On the other hand, he could have forced an ugly confrontation. Afterwards, Monday indicated that Lasorda looked like he had death on his mind as he advanced on Thomas ñ a point that Lasorda does little to dispel, in his memoirs. Monday simply left Thomas alone. Afterwards, he expressed humility and moderation, speaking about what the flag meant to him, personally, and couching his act not just as a defense of the flag, but of the integrity of the baseball field. Said Monday,

It simply goes back to the way I was raised, to the ideals that the flagÖ reflects the freedoms and rights of every person in this country. Iíve toured too many hospitals and seen too many kids who have been horribly wounded defending the Flag to allow anyone to try and damage what it stands for, especially when theyíre also damaging baseballís integrity by using a stadium as a stage for their demonstration.î (LAT 5/5/1976)
Whatís most interesting to me, as a historian, is the comparative lack of commentary about the political symbolism of Mondayís act, in his own day, and the comparative lack of exploitation by cultural warriors, compared to how it is treated, now. The Chicago Tribune mentioned the flag save in the following dayís write-up. The New York Times sports section made even briefer mention of the incident. Only the L.A. Times gave the incident any real attention, and that attention was focused more on the oddity of the event than upon the symbolism that might be drawn out of it. A Wall Street Journal editorial observed that the universal acclaim and apolitical reception of Monday's actions portended a turnabout in the American mood, towards one of optimism and comity. (WSJ, 5/13/1976) An incident that easily could have become just another expression of the cultural wars between two stock characters - the starry-eyed, law-and-order patriot athlete, and scruffy, subversive protesters - instead became a simple, beautiful, unifying gesture. If only it had remained that way. Thirty years later, Americans again live with an unpopular president, an unpopular war, hard economic times, and a broad sense of malaise and unease. Itís a situation that, much as it did in the mid-70s, exacerbates existing social divisions and encourages those who seek political benefit from the divisions. The Monday incident, sadly, has not been immune to exploitation by some of the more shrill voices of division. We have forgotten that William Thomas was an unemployed, probably drunk and certainly deranged man protesting his wife's hospitalization; he is now asumed to have been some sort of anti-war hippie. (One blog commentary claims he was protesting the condition of American Indians.) Rick Monday's response has been appropriated by advocates of a constitutional amendment banning flag defacement; Googling the incident shows more commentary from political partisans than from baseball partisans. Have we forgotten that his actions and Americans' reactions exhibited the best of American optimism and cohesion, not of political cynicism and division? We could use another Rick Monday. Post-script. As a baseball player, Monday was notable for being the first player ever selected in the MLB amateur draft, in June, 1965. The Dodgers had openly coveted Monday for quite some time, and after the flag incident, Al Campanis groused that ìthereís no way theyíll trade him now. Heís Mr. Red White and Blue.î Of course, in the next off-season the Cubs traded Monday and Mike Garman to the Dodgers, for Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus and Jeff Albert. You will recall whom the Cubs received when they traded DeJesus a few years later.

DC TOM "The Summer of Monday" I trace my history as a Cub fan to April 25, 1976. That day gave a brown haired, eight year old Illinois boy with a field of corn as his back yard his first true childhood hero. That day also sowed the seed for a lifelong loyalty to the team and set the stage for the first true test of that loyalty. In the small slice of Americana I called home in 1976, references to the Bicentennial were everywhere. Banners flew throughout my home town, special parades and fireworks were planned, and folks talked about these festivities as soon as early spring. My friends and I did not watch baseball nearly as much as we played it, for hours at a time in a cleared part of the field and with tennis balls (which donít fly as far into the rows of corn, as our home run fence). ìDuty, honor, and countryî was a creed where I grew upóno 1960s counter-culture here, but even us kids noticed the after-effects and self-doubt that the tragedy of Vietnam and the gut-wrenching events of Watergate bestowed upon our families and our town. And then on April 25, 1976, Chicago Cub Rick Monday rescued an American Flag from being burned in the Dodger Stadium outfield. The reaction in my world was immediate and emotional. To this eight year old boy, this was the Most Incredible, Huge, and Mammoth Story of the Century! Coverage of the Event and the Hero was non-stop, it seemed (although in those days, ìnon-stopî meant more than one story in the Chicago Daily News). In a flash, Rick Monday became my hero. His hair was the same color as mine and he was left-handed, just like me. And he had Saved the American Flag. I clipped every Rick Monday story and every picture I could find and taped them on my wall, right next to my bed. Every Cub game was on WGN, and my friends and I immediately began to adjust our playing schedule to the Cubs schedule, so we could see this Real American Hero in action. Immediately, our world grew and expanded beyond our little town. Our team traveled to cities across the country, in baby blue uniforms that were proudly adorned with the name of our new, much-larger home town. And in city after city, Rich Monday, in my mindís eye, hit Monumental Home Run after Monumental Home RunÖ1976 became the Summer of Monday. The Cubs finished twenty-six games behind the hated the Phillies that year, but for the entire winter, my circle of friends was optimistic. We poured over our baseball cards and we symbolically traded for and tore up every Mike Schmidt card we could find. We believed that the Cubs had the leagueís best hitter in Bill Madlock, that Rick Reuschel would win a Cy Young, and that Greg Luzinski was a fat slob, so no way would he hit more homers next year than the Real American Hero Rick Monday. But in the span of four weeks that winter, the Cubs tested my loyalty. On January 11, 1977, the Cubs traded Rick Monday to the Dodgers for some guy named Buckner and some shortstop named DeJesus. The news hit me like a ton of bricksÖI was devastated, I cried, I cursed and I swore at the Cubs. I was still in shock when on February 11, the Cubs traded Bill Madlock (NL batting champion and my best friendís hero!) for Bobby Murcer. I remember someone on WGN radio touting Murcer as ìThe Next Rick Monday.î Not to meÖ he threw with the wrong hand and his hair was definitely NOT the same color as mine. And that was it. I was done with the Cubs. I was nine years old, and the fact (now obvious) that the Cubs ìsold highî after Mondayís age 30 career year meant nothing to me. The Cub hat went into a box and I made my Dad buy me a Dodger hat. I read the Dodgers box score first every day, tracking each Rick Monday dinger. My lifelong Cub fan Dad began to worry, especially because the Cubs were having a good yearóand I did not care, because the Dodgers were having a better year (as I kept pointing out to him). After weeks of begging, he ìrelentedî and ìofferedî to take me to Wrigley Field to see Rick Monday the next time the Dodgers came to town. August 20, 1977 was the first trip to Wrigley that I remember, and it took me years to realize that I fell prey to my Dadís Master Plan. I wore my Dodger hat to the game, and I yelled and screamed when Rick Monday was announced. In cheering, it felt like I was not aloneÖto my ears, it seemed to me that the entire stadium erupted into a roar of defiance to Cub management at the sound of the Real American Heroís name. The Dodgers took an early lead, and the crowd was edgy. It was August and the Cubs were barely clinging to a shred of hope in a real live pennant race against the Phillies. The hated Phillies had come to Wrigley the week before and swept all four games, turning a 2 Ω game lead on the Cubs to 6 Ω in one fell swoop. And now the Cubs were down 3-1 going to the bottom of the seventhÖ And then it happened. With two outs in the seventh, Bill Buckner jerked a three-run home run off Mike Garman to give the Cubs the lead. The fans went crazy and I got swept up in the fervor. To me I had actually seen one live, an actual Monumental and Historic Blast. And the symbolism was not lost on meóthis Historic Blast was made by Buckner, the player the Cubs received in the trade for the guy who threw the ball (Garman) and the Real American Hero. Caught up by the cheering of the crowd, the Dodger hat meekly came off my head. And in the eighth inning, after the ìotherî Reuschel (Paul) promptly gave up this lead, guess who scored the eventual winning run for the Cubs? Bobby Murcer. Leaving the park that day, I was a Cub fan for lifeÖIt didnít matter that the Cubs eventually finished fourth that year, twenty games in back of the Phillies. On that day in August, the atmosphere of the park, the frosty malts, and the sheer majesty and poetry of the game I had seen hooked me. The new CubsóBuckner and Murceróhad seized the torch from Rick Monday and re-lit the light of Cub fandom in me, this time for life. But you only get one childhood hero, and while Bucker and Murcer were Cubs, they could never fully replace Rick Monday. Monday made me a Cubs fan and expanded my world, both for what he did for the team that season and for what he did for the country that day in 1976. I still followed his career, saddened that he never again reached the heights of the Summer of 1976. But the nation and I did see a flash one more time, with one swing in the 1981 NLCS. That day, I yelled and cheered the second-best moment in Mondayís careeróhis two out, game winning home run in the ninth inning of the deciding game against the Expos. In that moment, I was once again eight years old, jumping up and down, celebrating a Real American Heroís Monumental and Historic Blast, and fondly re-living the Summer of Monday.

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Comments

Great Story Guys - Rick Monday was everyone's hero!

Actually I tuned into TCR to see if there was any news on Kerry Wood (another Cub Hero) - do you think that you guys could update us on the pitching/medical progress of the three injured muskaters?

I do my best to avoid getting into medical updates/medical speculations, because they (I) almost always wind up being wrong. But I'm willing to bet that you don't have to wait more than 24 hours before you see that update, either in a message board post, or as a topic on the big board.

Thanks again to DC Tom.

Good job Trans.... I had heard about all of this before in passing, but have never heard the full story.

Although Sammy's carrying of the flag out to RF in 2001 was a great gesture, there seems to be no doubt that Monday's actions had nothing to do with himself.

I think the Monday game is one of those things where more people will have claimed to be there in person than the total attendence for the game could ever justify lol.

I am much too young to remember it but I'm sure that for those who are of that age it was probably a pretty big deal.

Sammy's flag in 2001 - good call, I'd almost forgotten that one.... That one really choked me up. In retrospect, I wish it had been a different carrier of the flag in 2001. But it was still extraordinarily special.

Wow, awesome job, Trans. Stories like this remind me of why I'm a baseball fan.

DC Tom's recollection made me remember my own days as a kid, idolizing Ryno and cutting out every newspaper clipping that I could find.

I really want to make sure everyone reads Tom's remarks. I think they're really excellent, and I wish there was some sort of option where I could have posted his side-by-side with mine in the same thread, as opposed to below mine, or creating two separate threads for the same topic.

(What? Put his comments above mine? Inconceivable! ~grin~).

It's really one of the best things I have read at TCR.

"(WSJ, 5/13/1976) An incident that easily could have become just another expression of the cultural wars between two stock characters - the starry-eyed, law-and-order patriot athlete, and scruffy, subversive protesters ..."

But it was turned into exactly that.

I was at Wrigley later that season (probably Flag Day) when Monday got some award or was officially acknowledged for what he did in LA. There Monday himself talked about America's borders being open to whomever didn't like the country which got big cheers from the crowd but had my friend and me scratching our heads since we knew, as everyone else should have known, that the guy who tried to burn the flag was just a nut.

While Monday's act was wonderful, no great number of great number of people were brought together. It didn't make anyone forget Vietnam or Nixon. A few months later it was all but forgotten by most. I'm sure most of the people who remember it today are Cub and Dodger fans of a certain age.

I'm sure if I had been a little kid at the time I would have gotten all dewy-eyed over the thing. But I was already in college and none too thrilled with what my country had been up to since WWII.

TBONE - exactly right. I almost added to my original post - but didn't - that Monday himself became, quickly afterwards, one of those warriors. His statements, after the fact, have only become more and more strident. But at the moment, however, he played it quite well, in my book.

And certainly, the moment did not last for very long at all.... ~sigh~

*If only it had remained that way. Thirty years later, Americans again live with an unpopular president, an unpopular war, hard economic times, and a broad sense of malaise and unease. *

Yep, I knew the idiotic and obligatory "Hey, let's try to compare this isolated incident to modern times" attempt was coming.

Unpopular war? Blame Bin Laden for 9/11 and Saddam for invading Kuwait and then violating (for a dozen years) the terms of the cease-fire he signed afterwards. I guess I just don't remember the Vietnamese knocking over a couple of skyscrapers. Plus, the Vietnamese Conflict involved Americans for over 10 years and 56K dead while we've been in Afghanistan for 4 years and Iraq for 3+, not coming close to averaging the amount of casualties.

Malaise? Bad economy? Are you projecting? Gosh, it's your own fault if you drive an SUV and have to pay 80 bucks to fill it. I don't look around and see STAGLFLATION like we had in the mid 70s.

I'm surprised you don't mention the idiots who keep running onto the field at the Cell. Maybe they are unhappy about "The War" and "Hard Times", too?

*I'm sure if I had been a little kid at the time I would have gotten all dewy-eyed over the thing. But I was already in college and none too thrilled with what my country had been up to since WWII.*

Yeah, man, to h*ll with the flag, man, I been to college, man, and it's *wrong* to try to stand up to communists, man. So what if Mao and Stalin murdered 100 million, man. Check out my cool Che Guevara t-shirt, maaaaaaaaaan.

Yawn.

None of the things in the quote you pulled are incorrect, though. Both Bush and the war are unpopular (based on recent opinion polls), and while there have been some positive economic indicators, I would say there is a "broad sense of malaise and unease" in the country at the moment.

Transmission didn't say anything about stagflation, the number of war dead, or driving an SUV. Who's projecting, exactly?

And while I was posting that, you gave us a post with nothing but a big, giant, straw man. Nice.

I don't get it. Where are these **bad economic times** you're talking about trans?

I wouldn't call these "bad" economic times, but they aren't great. I wouldn't call this climate of wage stagnation good for the little guy...

A political debate on TCR is bad news.

The media has taken great measures to make sure America is divided. Why, you might ask? Because like any other business, they depend on people watching their channel. What fun is an election if everyone is backing one guy or the other? Everyone would just watch American Idol. What were Bill O'Reilly's, Anderson Cooper's viewership numbers in '04, again? Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, go to hell.

Yet, coworkers, friends, and family look at me like I'm crazy when I say both Bush and Kerry were good men and would have done what was right for the country. "How can this be?" "Ryno, you don't fit neatly into one of our little boxes labelled liberal & conservative... you must be a crazy-talking independant."

No, actually I'm not an independant.

The next time you oppose someone's political views I want you to think long and hard why their opinion makes you so angry. I am willing to bet money that each of us, deep down, want the same things for everyone, jobs, roofs over our heads, prosperity, health, peace... that we have differing opinions on the means to attain these goals does not make us enemies.

For crying out loud guys, don't let some little comment that was making a broader general point set you off on a rampage.

Anyway you look at it there is a big division in this country, and general discontent. That doesn't in itself mean that one side is right and the other side is wrong...it just means that there are a bunch of issues deeply dividing us, and after a bunch of years of things falling one way, it's starting to fall the other way.

- Bush has a 36% average Approval rating
- Congress only has a 20% approval rating
- only 27% of the country is satisfied with the direction we are heading, while 71% are dissatisfied.
- And while consumer confidence is at it's highest point in the last 4 years, it is still a below average reading as it has been for the last 6 years or so.
http://www.pollingreport.com/national.htm

Trans never made a personal judgement on anything, he listed the reality of the discontent of this country today. If you are in the 36% that support Bush, that doesn't mean you are wrong (just as those that voted for Kerry were not "wrong" either.). It just means that there is a divide in this country and a general and broad distrust of government currently.

Trans never said anything was "wrong". He said it was unpopular...and that's not an arguable fact at this moment.

Your responses to this thread basically show to me that Transmission was right on the money in tying it together with the current political climate. People are so on edge and so divided and so filled with hate of the otherside, that they automatically go into a defensive battle mode. One comment set you guys off, and you missed the entire point of everything that was siad.

But by missing Transmission's point...you really proved exactly where we are as a country today.
I think a great lesson can be learned from this story and the responses here. We are all too focused on everything that divides us, and forget about what brings us together.

For a brief moment in time, Monday brought us together. Let's honor that brief moment.

I dunno what to say, Jordan. Is Illinois in a recession all its own or something?

http://tinyurl.com/o39vf

By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
Last Update: 11:43 AM ET Apr 25, 2006

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. consumer confidence confounded expectations and hit its highest level in almost four years in April, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

Bad economic times? BS! Unemployment is at record lows. PUHLEEEZE! Do you even remember Jimmy Carter's America? You think gas prices are a problem now? The seventies SUCKED and besides some good music and good movies NOTHING and I really mean NOTHING good game out of the Seventies. Don't get me started on my anti Baby Boomer rant here but if my grandparent's are from the "Greatest Generation" then my parents are from the worst. Whether Democrat or Republican, baby boomers are the virus that infects this country.

BTW, in today's political climate, those jackasses who jumped on the field would probably sue Monday, the Cubs, the Dodgers and MLB, for infringing on their first amendment rights.

Lastly, this is exactly why I beg people not to get all political. While Chicago is a 'Democrat' town so there are probably more Cub fans that lean left, there is a very fair mix or conservatives vs. liberals here. So can we please leave the politics to another blog?

Sincerely,

Chad
Not so proud member of Generation X (only slightly better generation than the Boomers.)

Ryno, excellent post.

I too am FAR from an independent. But ultimately, I do believe both sides of the aisle want what is best for the country. They just have VERY different means of getting there. And history has basically proved there is no single right answer as to the best political, socio-economic policy, to keep this country moving forward...which is why we debate things as we do.

I happen to think that my beliefs give us the best chance for a positive future. But, I fully realize that every individual believes the same thing...their way is the best way. Otherwise why would we hold these beliefs so important to us. So we need to keep in mind that we have the same goals, and that none of us are proven to have the best answer.

On the otherhand...while sure the media helps drive wedge issues, I do believe the divide in this country is very real. The central platforms of the two parties are getting further and further apart as more people move to the wings. Conservative and Liberal judicial apointees basically fall on completely opposite sides of legal debates. There is a lot at stake as to who gets the power in the current US government. And while some things, bad and good, would remain the same....many things would not. There would be some drastic differences (for better or for worse) if Democrats controlled congress or the Whitehouse.

So I do think it's important to remind ourselves we all want the same end result...but I think it's also important not to downplay that there are real differences and real divisions between the two sides. I think by understanding those divisions, and understanding they are real...it will actually help to bring us all back towards the center where both sides have to give a little, to get a little.

Here's a good article that sums up my problems with the Boomers:

Beware as it is PG-13 bordering on R rated.

http://viceland.com/issues/v12n8/htdocs/the_v...

" I do believe both sides of the aisle want what is best for the country."

Do you really believe this? Oh my God are you naive. NEITHER side cares what's best for this country. They BOTH believe in what's best for their party.

OK, I'm done after this post. But please understand how consumer confidence numbers work before you start using it to prove how wonderful everything is.

Look at the bottom of this page and you will see the index that is being quoted in the news today as the highest level in 4 years. "The conference board consumer confidence index"
http://www.pollingreport.com/consumer.htm

You will see in March the index is at 107.2 with the present situation at 133.3 and expectations index at 89.9.

The base of 100 is taken as an average year and represents 1985. So the topline of this information is that people generally feel pretty good about their current situation, but are not feeling so good about what the future holds. Actually, over the last 9 years, the expectations index is pretty low as compared to where it has been.

Furthermore, look at the current situation index from 1997 through August 2001. We are at 133 now, but were in the 150-190 range during that period.

It's important to keep things in context. Remember this is a confidence survey, not a true economic indicator based on numerical data. It's based on subjective opions. But more importantly, while it is at it's highest levels in 4 years, there is still a strong sign that people are concerned about the future, and that we are still closer to the lower end of where we have been over the last 9 years.

Chad: Do you really believe this? Oh my God are you naive. NEITHER side cares what's best for this country.

Chad, I was referring to you and me and blockhead and transmission, etc. , not the politicians.

Great story. As a recent Cubs fan (and born over a year after the incident) I had not heard this before. I agree that sports and politics do go together and enjoy when people write about both (escpecially when it's thoughtful and not using sports to advance a simplistic party agenda). I see some of the comments veering into sniping already but before they go careening off a cliff, I'll just add my two cents...

I actually came to baseball recently because of a search for some way to be proud of my country. I won't extrapolate any wider trend from how I feel but I do know many around me feel similarly ambivalent or apathetic. I've never had any attachment to a flag, mostly viewing it as a symbol; so I don't have any problems problems with people burning them. Obviously if you think that symbolic gestures are threatening in some manner, then you'll disagree. Since coming to baseball I've noticed it's a very nostalgic sport; in many ways a similar nostalgia to how some people feel about their country. While I find it curious, I don't find it usually harmful until people become blinded it by it. There will always be a rift between how a child sees baseball and how an adult sees it, how we remember the glory days and how we look at today.

I have a question about the article though. It seems to imply that this was a unifying event... during the dark days of the Bad Old Days that this act took a step toward bringing people together. For those of you around at the time, is that how it seemed to you? Or was it a significant (maybe even "partisan") stance at the time?

Do you really believe this? Oh my God are you naive. NEITHER side cares what's best for this country. They BOTH believe in what's best for their party.

Chad, I kindly request you not to pull arrogant crap like this....I assure you that I take politics very seriously and very personally and that I am hardly "naive". You may think my opions are wrong...I can deal with that, but they are not naive.

Yes, I do believe that the basic fundamental beliefs of both parties is to make this country a better, safer, healthier place. Sure, there are many specific actions taken that are ultimately selfish and purely partisan politics to raise up one side and knock down the other side. But ultimately the Republican party doesn't want mass poverty in this country, the democratic party doesn't want us all to die in a terrorist attack (just examples of stereotypes that the opposite wings like to throw out at eachother).

Our government isn't perfect. It's far from it...but generally, it has allowed us to move this country forward over the last 200 years and we are the most powerful country in the world. Republicans have helped us get there, Democrats have helped us get there...the key is to find the balance that will help us stay there.

I don't think politicians and government is generally evil. I think it generally works, and I think wow many are power hungry and selfish...they do look out for their constituent interests, and that there was a drive for public service that leads most of them there in the first place. Our government isn't perfect, but in my opinion, it's one of the best in the world.

I want to endorse everything Blockhead 25 says in his first post.

I knew it was likely that this thread would devolve into another series of shrill and hysterical mischaracterizations of who-said-what. But I was hoping it wouldn't. The fact that it did devolve, I think, is a good illustration of what I was trying to get at in my last paragraph - we live in a period when nothing can be done or said that isn't turned into a blunt instrument used to beat one's political foes about the head. It's one of many similiarities between now and 30 years ago.

Even something as innocent and beautiful as Monday's save. And that's unfortunate.

Yep, for 200+ years our democratic process has kept our politicians somewhat, if only slightly, clean.

Ronald Reagan said that politics is the second oldest profession, but lately it's more resembled the oldest profession. lol

Wisconsin 4 Cubs: That was the most worrisome part of writing the article, for me. DC TOM's story (which really deserves more attention) suggests that indeed, it was a unifying event. But not having been alive then, myself, and not having researched this as extensively as what's possible, it's hard for me to say.

A slightly older generation of Cubs fans, please correct or add to this, but my sense is that it was a unifying event for at least the start - it was only later that the partisans (and Monday, himself) started to pick up on it and use it as another one of those blunt objects for smiting opponents.

As a Kid, I had a video tape about the history of the Cubs, and they'd show the video footage of Monday's save (which I haven't been able to find, for this) and as a kid watching it TWENTY years after the fact, I experienced pretty much the same reaction that DC Tom Describes.

considering the fact that it's always covered in such a positive light after the fact, I think at least the end result was something the brought people together....but my 1 year old brain at that time certainly can't attest to first hand knowledge.

There's been extensive coverage of it again, today.

Articles at MLB
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.js...

and WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/...

And I applogize that those links will likely screw up the message board spacing.

I don't know how to use the Tiny URL thing...

Block, I would love to have this conversation with you in a different forum. But I have no doubt that ALL politicians are bought and sold.

irony (i∑ro∑ny, n. pl. i∑ro∑nies): When a post comparing the political divisions between two decades is argued against by people speaking on purely partisan lines.

---

Great story, Trans. I think it's great when a story could easily devolve into a fluff peice, and you brought out the real people and real sides involved in the story. Rick Reilly did it great in SI when he wrote possibly the first-ever non fluff piece on Lance Armstrong. Yes, his drive is unmatched, he's a cool guy to drink with, and he's the most dominating athlete of our time. But he also is completely obsessive, to a fault, and is genuinely a huge asshole to his competitors.

The truth is: Monday may have not been a hero, but on one night, he was heroic. The old thing about ordinary people in extraordinary situations...

And great point about how such

I remember going to the nearest Danley Garage showroom(actually a parking lot) which was only a 5 minute walk from my house on the day Rick Monday was doing autographs there later in that same summer. The line stretched around the corner. Never saw so many people in my sleepy town before or after I think.

I've never been an autograph person. I rarely make an effort to get one, and the only autograph I have that I kept through the years was a commemorative football for Superbowl XX signed by about 40 Bears players (Thank you Mr. Hampton! He owed my Mom a favor) But now I really wish I still had that Rick Monday autograph.

I don't think that is very ironic actually.

OK, I'm done after this post. But please understand how consumer confidence numbers work before you start using it to prove how wonderful everything is.

Man, give it a rest. I didn't offer those consumer confidence figures as proof of anything except people don't seem to have the perception that we are living in economic "hard times." If we are, as Transmission has asserted, then where's the proof? Home ownership?-- up or down? Unemployment -- high or low?

What?

GReat story , very interesting on Monday. Not sure I would call his actions heroic, but still an interesting spotlight on the times.

IF anything flag burning is free speech, as offensive as it seems. To take away that power is the same as Congress engaging in thought control, and it seems that banning flag burning would dimish the rights that the flag represents.

Monday's act was a form of free expression as well and I fully support his actions. However, in all fairness, his act wasn't anymore right then the flag burner himself.

However, in all fairness, his act wasn't anymore right then the flag burner himself.

You mean aside from the fact that the flag burner had entered the field of play and was trespassing?

Chad, are you sure you're upset with the Boomers? They're just about as conservative as Gen-X. They volunteered to go to Vietnam by the hundreds of thousands.

I'd bet it's the so-called (and wrongly) "Silent" generations that bother you . Those born in 1945 or earlier.

Jane Fonda, for example, isn't a Boomer.

Dan Hampton owed your mother a favor, Carl?!?!?

CWTP:

They are the ones who moved to Canada or Mexico to avoid the war. Or better yet, they are the ones who moved to England to study at Oxford and march in Pro Ho Chi Minh rallies. (Mr. Clinton I'm looking at you)

But OK, I see what your saying about the (not so) Silent Generation fair enough, they're guilty too.

Of course they're were brave boys who volunteered to go to Viet Nam and others who were drafted and died and they deserve all the credit in the world for being real men. My father in law did a tour (he was drafted). He didn't like the war too much, but never complains about it. Unlike a complete jerkoff like John Kerry who basically shot himself in the foot and came home to tell on every one.

I'll leave you with this:

Professor Terguson: Is she right? 'Cause I know that's the *popular* version of what went on there. And a lot of people like to believe that. I wish I could, but I was *there*. I wasn't here in a class room, hoping I was right, thinking about it.
[shouting] I was up to my knees in rice paddies, with guns that didn't work! Going in there, looking for Charlie, slugging it out with him; While [shouts] pussies like you were back here partying, putting headbands on, doing drugs, and [shouts]listening to the goddamn Beatle albums! Oh! Oh! Oh!

Stick to bitching about Kerry making inflamatory back stabbing comments about his fellow soldiers in Vietnam for political gain after he got back, there is reasonable anger that can be culled from that. (I think Kerry was wrong to make the comments he did the way he did, without evidence to support the claims he made...but I also think he was a very different person in the late 70's than in 2004 just as Bush is a very different person now too)

But don't let that anger blind you into letting a couple people revise history 30 years after the fact, and make statements about how Kerry got his injuries due to some sudden revelations that came to them in the night, that literally dozens of documents are in existance proving every one of their statements to be an absolute lie. There is a process to formally protest medals of honor...for 30 years, this was not done...it only happened when some people who were upset for valid reasons decided to seek the ultimate revenge and change their stories 30 years later in order to try to ruin a guys career.

I think they ultimately would have been more succesful had they stuck to calling Kerry out on the comments he made that were on the record and everyone knew about, then flat out lying about what actually happened to Kerry in Iraq when not one of these men were within a couple hundred yards of him at the time.

Crap, I thought I was done...oh well.

Too freaking bad George Bush isn't the same guy we was 30 years ago. I wish we had that guy as president. That would rock.

BTW: Ever see the SNL short film of the alleged film shot out side of Camp David in in 78? HILARIOUS!!!

Does anyone remember watching the game? I seem to remember watching it on TV (but maybe I'm one of those people), and Arne Harris wouldn't show what was happening on the field because their policy was not to give attention to the wacko field-invaders.

Does anyone else share that memory?

Cubs.com has Guzman listed as Wednesday's starter:

http://tinyurl.com/poflt

how can a group of people who mircomanage and second guess every baker move as obvious stupidity miss out on the last 6 years of what's been going on in the whitehouse and his friends he brought with him?

that guy in that place is as conservative as clinton is/was liberal...aka, not very much all unless you wanna talk about flesh hanging off an ambilical cord.

that was kinda gross.

mlb has cubs 11-8 from that link above.

other sites 11-7...its 11-7, right?

nevermind...i found the problem

Cubs meeting Willis at Wrigley
Florida (5-12) at Chicago (11-8), Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. CT
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com

my bad joke got cut off, there's supposed to be an arrow pointing to carrie's name.

Heading to the game...

What dumb luck it is to go tonight, when I will be freezing my balls off compared to yesterday when it awas 70 degrees.

Oh well, Hope we can score a couple runs off Willis, we have hit him werll in the past. As long as Marshall can keep us in the game I will be happy.

Go Cubs!!

11-7!!!

In Dusty We Trusty!!!

The sad part is I got the joke immediately without the clarification.

Dan Hampton owed your mother a favor, Carl?!?!?

He was (probably still is) an avid hunter, and my Mom helped him obtain a really hard to get special edition hunting rifle. We'd get free tickets now and then from other Bears but the ball was better. According to my Mom's story, she just asked him if he'd sign it, and he just said "Tell you what, let me borrow this for a while" and then returned it a few weeks later. Hard to believe that was over 20 years ago. Tough to be a Chicago sports fan going on 40 especially if you grew up listing to Jack pitching Danley instead of Harry pimping Falstaff. Thank God for Michael!

To those who feel great unease at the realization that ANYONE could be so misguided as to disagree with you, and who are determined to set everyone else straight:

Remember, next time the National Anthem is played at the ballpark, for Heaven's sake please speak up right then and there, and proclaim your objections to what is wrong with the Government and Anybody/Everybody Else. It is your right, and maybe you only feel like you have it when you exercise it.

Or, you could cut everybody some slack, respect the collective good which can come from observing a rite (like the anthem itself, sucky song though it may be; or like saving a flag, just a piece of cloth; or like writing a baseball-in-social-context op-ed piece, just a blog entry), and save the heated discussions for those times - and they DO exist - for when it is appropriate and necessary to chart a mutual course down the rocky road of disagreement.

"I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the end your right to say it." Well hopefully within the constraints of reasonable time & place.

And if you won't accord me the same freedom, then we'll move along to that other constitutional right, the right to bear false arms against your neighbor...or something like that...maybe I shoulda skipped the beer at lunch... *urp*

yeah I got the joke too crunch; sans arrow.

It's a joke even without the first two lines.

Yep, I got the joke as well. Poor, poor Carrie.

It would be nice to get to 5 over .500 tonight. Let's hope the good-defense-and-patient-hitting Cubs show up tonight.

"Yeah, man, to h*ll with the flag, man, I been to college, man, and it's *wrong* to try to stand up to communists, man. So what if Mao and Stalin murdered 100 million, man. Check out my cool Che Guevara t-shirt, maaaaaaaaaan." - JDamn

Right. To question your country's policies means you are an enemy of the state and in bed with, in this case, Communist murderers. Well thought out and presented, my friend.

And yes, to hell with the flag. It's a symbol. Unlike the Constitution which is being shat on by those running the country every day. But no one seems to mind that so much. Maybe Rick Monday can run by the Constitution and grab it before Bush, Cheney and friends are done wiping their collective ass with it.

Manny your "in Dusty we trusty" is seriously getting annoying. Please stop.

"But I have no doubt that ALL politicians are bought and sold."

At least those in Chicago are...the state with state representives who aren't even from that state.

Always a good idea to talk politics or religion on a baseball blog. Nothing could possibly end badly there.

Some good news though...Hairston will get the start tonight at 2B. Neifi to the bench.
Pierre
Cedeno
Walker
Aramis
Barrett
Jones
Murton
Hairston
Marshall

Howie Kendrick was called up to ANA today. Pick him up in your Roto league(especially if you're an AL only) if you have the bench space to spare...that is if drawing no walks doesn't hurt your team. He may not be starting everyday because Kennedy isn't hurt. He's taking M.Izturis's roster spot.

Why dont we all just give our opinions on abortion and guarantee the TCR wins first place for "most irrelevant baseball board on the web"

What a waste of time today has been on here.

Go Marshall !!! (both Sean and the University)

"Always a good idea to talk politics or religion on a baseball blog. Nothing could possibly end badly there."

Well, at LEAST I got a good belly laugh out of it!

Kendrick won't be much use this year unfortunately. Next year though, watch out.

Sorry "The Dude" that we didn't meet your standards. You know what, go take a flying leap. We don't owe you crap. If you don't like it, go take a flying leap.

So yesterday Dusty (finally) put Murton in the 6th spot and Jones in the 7th.

The result, Murton gets on base 3 out of 4 times and has 2 RBI. Jones hits the game winning 3 Run HR.

So what does Dusty do the next day, with another Lefty on the mound? Puts Murton back in the 7th spot!

I know, its foolish of me to think the 4 million dollar idiot might have learned anything, but I can dream...

How about a new post TCR?

Then let's hope the politics talk dies out with this.

"Sorry "The Dude" that we didn't meet your standards. You know what, go take a flying leap. We don't owe you crap. If you don't like it, go take a flying leap."

Haha, this can not be serious.

I didn't think you owed me anything... just expected to check the board and see some Cubs talk. There wasn't.... so in that mindset, everything was pretty damn irrelevant, as I said.

And you know what Chad?? I don't owe you crap either. I think today's discussion sucked ass. I was one of the first to post on this thread and purposely left out Tran's political statement simply because I hoped it didn't take up all of our day. I was wrong and therefore, in my opinion, today's posts on "The Cub Reporter" message board has to be the most irrelevant on the web.

But in all reality, its really not that of a big deal. Certainly not something that I would go tell someone to commit suidice over, but thats just me and my 24 year old immature mind. What the hell do I truly know?

Yeah what do you know. When I told you take a flying leap, take a leap off a pier, take a leap into your bed, take a leap into a giant pile of naked cheerleaders. I just wanted you to keep you lame opinions to yourself when if comes to the level of quality of the posts for a day. If you don't like the candor, ignore it. No reason for you to rain on any of our parades. I'll try, in the future, to keep you in mind when crafting my posts.

This aggression will not stand.

new post up, yeah baseball

The subject of this thread is inherently political. It shouldn't shock anyone who came into this thread to see political comments. Everyone who is here regularly knows this isn't how all threads are, and they know that as soon as the next game is played we will be focused on baseball again.

As trans was implying (I think) politics is a part of life and effects a lot of things, including sports.

So I think it's a bit silly to talk about what a waste of time this has been and how irrelevant this board is...it's one thread....relax.

"This aggression will not stand."

Who is being aggressive?

"new post up, yeah baseball"

Thanks Rob

And by the way Chad, after you go bashing me for not wanting to talk politics on a Cubs board, lets refer back to Post #19 from earlier today....

"Lastly, this is exactly why I beg people not to get all political. While Chicago is a 'Democrat' town so there are probably more Cub fans that lean left, there is a very fair mix or conservatives vs. liberals here. So can we please leave the politics to another blog?

Sincerely,

Chad"

Looks like we have a little more in common than I thought...

I am unfortunately late to this thread due to an extraordinarily busy day at work yesterday. This is unfortunate, because I have a lot of reactions to the comments in this thread about what Trans and I wrote.

An interest in the intersection between baseball and society (particularly politics and history) is something that both Trans and I share, so when I reminded him of the Monday Flag Game anniversary and how it impacted me, he kindly asked me to write my own personal reflections as well in the hope that it would spur other first-person memories.

There have been a couple questions about the extent to "how unifying" Monday's actions were. I was 8 at the time, so my perspective is skewed, but it dominated my world for quite a long time. The closest baseball analogy I can come up with is Cal Ripkin passing Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record--but even that pales in comparison because while that moment stood as a testimony to the game and to virtues of showing up to work every day, it was not unexpected or a surprise when Cal passed Gehrig. The most-unifying moments that sports gives us are those that are unexpected.

The 1980 U.S. Olympic team victory over the Soviets is probably the closest to the Monday Flag Gam, for those of you who lived through that.

The very fact that there has been some heated discussion on this thread, comparing "The Silent Generation" to the "Boomers," etc. also shows how strong the cultural rifts in the 1970s were. Thirty years later and the wounds still have not healed. Drop yourself into that rift mentality--and take away everything good that has happened in the last 30 years. Assume that the outcome of the Cold War is in doubt and that we seemed to be losing it. Think about an economy with double-digit interest rates and double-digit inflation. We talk about information overload now, but back then there was by comparison a dearth of news sources--3 television networks, maybe a couple newspapers, and that's it.

Now, a story that is Bigger Than Life comes along, a story that to many reaffirmed the American Spirit. Because Monday did not tackle Thomas or punch him or try to apprehend...he ran at full speed and picked up the flag. He engaged in speech as much as Thomas was engaging in speech...He had the guts to do what a lot of people who watched a flag being burned on TV (and you saw it a lot those days) would have liked to have done, if only once. And it happened in centerfield of a baseball game.

I think it was appropriate for Trans to look at Monday from a historical perspective because it was historic. In the late 1970s, this country changed dramatically. We pulled ourselves out of the "malaise," and the Monday Flag Game was one of the first incidents which exposed to ourselves this vast undercurrent of national pride and source of unity remained intact, despite the trials and tribulations of the 1960s and 1970s.

I am confident that this vast undercurrent is still there, waiting for another unexpected person, event, moment or action to tap into it.

"Indeed, Tommy Lasorda was racing to the outfield..."

I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money that Tommy wasn't "racing", he was waddling at an increased speed. Lasorda hasn't "raced" anywhere in 50 years.

Bogey:
"Manny your "in Dusty we trusty" is seriously getting annoying. Please stop."

No thanks...

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