The Friendly Confines

June 15, 2007 at 12:34 pm (Waxing Nostalgic)

It’s a single-guy kind of morning at my house. Everyone else is gone, I’m wearing an old pair of cutoff sweats and a tee shirt my dad would have deemed ‘more holy than righteous’. I’m surfing the internet and doing my summer morning default activity, watching Cubs baseball.

I’ve been following them on WGN since the 80s, when mom first allowed cable into the house. I loved the Rockford Files, Star Trek, Divorce Court, et al, but after a while you start quoting the dialogue. Cubs baseball was gloriously live.

One of the things I wanted to do someday, but never got the chance, was to go to Wrigley Field and sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game with Harry Carey. “And a one, and a two, Taaaaake…” Who was this slurring, sort of obnoxious old guy who sips Budweiser in the booth? (I particularly loved hearing him Introduce Jose Visciano. “Hose-SAY VIS-kye-aye-NO.”) The man had the world’s largest eyeglasses. He quickly went from a novelty act to that old dude I hung out with every afternoon before work. Or my excuse to knock back a couple of forties on an off-day.

The Cubs records were mediocre at best, often squirm-inducing, but Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson and the rest of the misfits filled my afternoons like a soap opera. Endless hours of entertainment.

Now, they have my new favorite-named player since Albert Pujols. (Pronounced poo-holes, for you non-baseballers.) With a name like Pujols, he’d better be good!

This player sounds more conflicted. Angel Pagan. Perfect for a Gemini like me.

And of course, one of my all-time favorites, since his playing days, manager Sweet Lou Piniella. He took the Seattle Mariners to lofty places, and now he’s the skipper of the Cubbies. He’s sneaking up on Bobby Cox, the all-time leader for managerial ejections. Bobby’s jowl-flap is more impressive, but nobody puts their heart into a bad call argument like Sweet Lou. “I don’t say anything any other manager doesn’t say, I’m just a bit more animated about it,” he is quoted. He was recently suspended for a spittle and dirt show, and it was magnificent to behold.

Today’s game is an odd one. There has been fan interference on two nearly-home runs, and a fan just snagged a third out of the basket above the ivy. Lou’s keeping quiet on this call, a two-run shot. Next pitch? A solo shot onto Waveland Avenue. NO argument on this one! Cubs are up on San Diego, 4-1.

David Wells is pitching for San Diego. San Diego is the parent club of our Triple A Portland Beavers. Keep slapping him around, Cubbies! He could end up doing a rehab stint, and I could see greatness for $8.

Another thing about Cubs games? They’re great for falling asleep to. I feel a nap coming on…

Update- Cubs win! Cubs win!! CUBS WIN!!! 4-1.

RIP Harry, I still miss you.

1 Comment

  1. Himself said,

    Hey, I too became a Cubs addict in the early ’80s when we got cable and WGN (also a NY Rangers fan via the USA Network). Ryne Sandberg, Adre Dawson… How about Leon Durham and Rick Sutcliffe? Man, that takes me back.

    My boss used to call afternoon “meetings”, and we walk up to a local dive bar to watch a few innings. He got tickets and took me to a game; must have been 1986 or so (before they put in the lights, anyway). What a great ball park, and a great place to get drunk on a sunny summer afternoon.

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