With kudos to Craig Calcaterra ("ShysterBall") over at The Hardball Times, who suggested giving the Facebook game, "25 Random Things About Me," a baseball twist, I offer my list of 25:(updated: mine now added, below Cubnut's, below the fold. - Trans)
1.) I attended my first Cubs game in 1968--Cubs v. Giants, Fergie Jenkins v. Ray Sadecki. I still have the scorecard and thanks to the miracle of Retrosheet have been able to confirm that I did a pretty decent job of keeping score for a 7-year-old.
2.) The first Cub baseball card I ever turned up in a Topps package was a 1968 Rob Gardner and yes, it was eventually thrown in the trash by my mother, along with all of my other precious cards.
3.) About three years ago, I bought a replacement Rob Gardner card on eBay. Take that, Mom!
My close encounter with Ernie was well after his hall of fame career was over. Take the "wayback machine" with me to May 19th, 1979. A group of my University of Chicago Med School classmates went with me to see a Cubs game that crisp May afternoon. Some of you might remember that unmemorable team...Buckner, Kingman, DeJesus, Ontiveros and Foote.
We sat behind home plate but about half way up the grandstands and the group had an entire row. About the 2nd inning one of my friends gets up and has this weird grin on his face as he moved down the row. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed, coming up the aisle...Mr. Cub. That was cool enough, but he procedes to sit down next to me in the recently vacated seat from my friend. My classmates knew I was getting married in June and so I have to tell you that this was IMHO the worlds greatest batchelor party geeky me could have ever hoped for (although the Palomino Club in North Vegas would have been my 2nd choice). Ernie stayed there with me talking baseball for about 7 innings. Honest. I have a picture (that's me in the Cub hat) on my office wall to prove it. What does one talk about to his childhood hero? I don't remember much other than it was a very surreal experience. I do remember hearing him tell me his favorite number was 9 (not 14), as in 9 innings and 9 players on the field. Ernie philosophising Baseball Kaballah?
Ernie was still under the Cubs employ for PR functions in that era and my med school pals had set this up, hence the goofy grins when the group knew he was on the way up to us.
The Cubs were 3-hit and lost 3-0 that day to the Pirates. Jim Rooker over Mike Krukow. So much for surrealism.
To throw in my orthopedic two cents worth, Mr. Cub has had two total knee replacements (not by me, but I do know his orthopod) and they are working just fine. When the Ortho Academy meeting was in Chicago March 2006, Ernie was guest appearing in a promotion called "Champions for Patient Education" and was as bubbly as ever.
Drumroll...and You Tube tributes to good ol' #14. May you have many more very happy birthdays.
Admit you guys. Anyone who has a bit of spiritual karma stuff going on has to admit that all our incantations are beginning to have some meaning. Anyone who is over 30 knows that if you push hard enough with your thoughts, things happen, miracles happen. People who were sick, suddenly, get better. I've always jested about bringing them up, but I have been trying to "visualize" a Cubs team that is like this. I doubt I"m alone here.
If that sounds crazy, fine, it's just an internet forum.
Very true. Who was it earlier who was saying our heart pumps were tethered to the Jake Foxes of the world? There's just so many now. It's fun. Most of them won't pan out. Unlike others, I don't think Baez is gonna fall into that group but I did like Choi so don't listen to me. Talk about opposites though, huh?
I remember talking to a couple of scouts at an Instructs game post-2011 (pre-Epstein/Hoyer), and even back then they both said they thought that within about five years there would be more players signed and/or developed by the Cubs playing in the big leagues than from any other MLB organization, but that the vast majority of them would be platoon guys, 5th starters, middle relievers, utility infielders, 4th or 5th outfielders, and back-up catchers.
Was 2003 that Rick Telander predicted with absolute certainty that the Cubs wouldn't make the playoffs? Then they did. That shit annoys me, because in April these jokers make predictions and are never held accountable to them. It's like they just say whatever they want because they know no one will hold them to it.
And by the way, if he's trying to write that article like it's a blog, fine, but compared to most blogs, that article is complete shit.
I saw a quote from some scout who said the Cubs have the best minor league system for position players in the history of the game as far as he knows. Unfortunately I read too many things on my iPad and don't bookmark them or forward them to this computer, so I don't have a link, but the scout mentioned "forgotten" but good prospects like Caesar, Vogelbomb, and another name that eludes me. He was very high on Caesar.
Thanks, guys. I think I was seeing some good signs, too. Like I said, I really don't mind seeing the called strikes. He's not Rizzo or Hee Seop Choi (the reason I pair those two is that for just awhile last season I thought Rizzo was gonna go all Hee Seop on us and stop swinging at hittable pitches but that didn't happen).