Today's thoughts

Category: Cubs (Page 1 of 18)

Old Sport Shorts: Sosa v. McGuire #1354

ESPN stirred some memories last night with the airing of “Long Gone Summer,” the 1998 home run battle between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire. It was the quest to top Roger Maris’ 61 home-run season in 1961. The record had stood for 28 years, once Maris had “outdone” The Babe. I was part of a Cubs season ticket group of nine owners that conducted a draft at the beginning of the season to determine who would get which tickets for what games. I happened to pick 9/13/1998 and set-aside four of what turned out to be the most precious tickets I’ve ever purchased. 

On that day my 77-year old father, my 24-year old son, and my best friend all joined me at Wrigley Field. They were special seats in a row by themselves near the Cubs’ dugout, guarded at each end by two elderly female ushers. One I remember for sure was named Louise. Their job was to keep people from walking in front of us, thinking that our wide space was an aisle. The 9 special seats were actually added in the middle of what was once an aisle way when the Ryne Sandburg record contract in the early 1992 spurred the team to add revenue by expanding seating capacity. This was allegedly how they paid a portion of his 4-year $27.4 million deal. Nonetheless, we always called them the “Ryne Sandburg” seats and oddly met him down in that area when he accidentally kicked-over my friend’s beer earlier that year on Opening Day.  (See Post #283). Louise would occasionally allow celebrities coming off the field to pass in front of us. This is why the beer incident occurred. 

Fast forward to September 13th, as the baseball season was coming to an end.  Before the game started we had lunch at the Stadium Club, a perk for VIP Season Ticket Holders. They actually served the same hot dogs as the concession stands but on Cubs china at three times the cost. I remember thinking, “wouldn’t it be something if Sammy hit numbers 61 and 62 today.” McGuire had already topped the Maris record at Busch Stadium 5 days before. Sosa had hit his 60th the day before, setting up the historical drama we were about to witness. Wrigley Field was abuzz as we took our seats, spotting Ryne Sandburg and his family a couple of rows in front of us. The 61st came in the 5th inning, lifting us out of our seats. The Cubs were up 8-3 on the Brewers. Sam-mee, Sam-mee! The fans littered the field and caused a long delay. 

Sosa struck out in the 7th and came to bat for the final time in the bottom of the ninth down by 2. 480-feet later, he had tied McGuire at 62. There were hugs all around, as we watched the commotion. To make the day even better, Mark Grace homered in the bottom of the 10th for the “W.” Three generations of family and a best friend make the game even more memorable. “Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!”

Nine years later, my wife bought a commemorative brick following a 12-3 victory over the Cardinals. She was at that game with me along with my son and 9-month old grandson. It’s too bad my dad couldn’t be with us to make it four generations. Instead, the brick reads “3 Generations – Mike, Adam, Gavyn.” Dad died in 2014 at 93, just missing the 2016 World Series run. My wife and I were there, thinking of him. So many great memories of Wrigley Field, but none can top Sosa vs. McGuire. 

Old Sport Shorts: No Baseball Allowed #1334

It was alarming to see a Facebook post yesterday with the headline, “Today is the first Memorial Day without a Major League Baseball game since 1880.” A 140-year old tradition wiped out by virus. Even World Wars couldn’t stop baseball! I read the article by Jean Chery. When it does come back, there will be a Universal designated hitter, not just in the American League. This means another strike against the traditionalists, who believe the game should never change. Well, it at least has to adapt – that’s what asterisk (*) is for! If baseball does have an opening day in 2020, it will mean many an asterisk next to shorted season statistics. It might also mean no fans in the stands or restricted crowds and no hot dog vendors. Peanuts may be allowed in sealed packages as will Cracker Jack, but Popcorn will be Out!

Will others now have to wear masks, instead of just catchers and umpires? Coaches will certainly have to if they intend to “get in the faces” of umpires. At least, we won’t be able to read lips. Will players have to practice social distancing on the base paths? These are all questions that are currently being tossed-around the horn, even in jest. The players are ready, as are the TV crews. “Play Ball!” We should at least be watching the game at home where we can eat all the hot dogs we want. Then, once everybody gets warmed-up, we can start to think about fans at the ball parks. Play it Safe!

I missed my last five baseball games due to a rain-out, a funeral, and the Spring Training virus. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to Wrigley Field and nearly two years since I saw at Cub’s W there. It will soon be time for the All-Star Game. Will we still not see a pitch by then? The fans are getting restless and the economy is suffering. I’ve been doing some collecting to keep my love of the game alive. It’s good that the magazines and sports channels have focused on the history of the game these past few months. Even Armando Gallarraga has been in the headlines, still fighting for his perfect game from ten years ago. Historians are having a field day, while signs remain posted at the gates, “No Baseball Allowed.”

Old Sport Shorts: Sherm Lollar Guy #1328

In these times of no baseball or other popular sports, it’s important to savor the past and why a silly game has so much personal meaning. I blame it on my dad, taking me to games as a kid. High school basketball in our hometown, Notre Dame football, and occasional trips to Chicago for the Cubs or White Sox were bonding moments for us. I used the same magic on my son. I can remember fiddling with the TV antenna to watch a game with either of them, although we had an electronic rotor by the time I became an adult. It sure beat aluminum foil or climbing up on the roof. My son also got to see NBA and college basketball, NFL football, auto racing, and soccer with me. We still share an interest in baseball cards, but he’s more for the Cubs than my White Sox.

My dad started as a Tigers fan, but eventually became a die-hard Cubs supporter. As a grandfather, he lured my son to the Cubs side. I had no choice but to play along, although my loyalties still lie with the Sox. It all comes down to one man, that I’ve never met, but a childhood memory keeps our relationship strong. In the 1959 World Series in glorious black & white, Sherm Lollar hit a home run against the Dodgers, and even though they lost the war, it was at least a battle won, and a lifelong attraction to the number 10 that he wore on his back. 

Some may joke that I’m still obsessed with this man who has been dead for 43 years. I did see him play with my dad several times at Comiskey Park, and still know the line-up of those White Sox teams of the 60’s. It wasn’t for another 46 years before they got back the World Series and actually won. I was there for two of the games in the sweep of 4. It’s too bad Sherm couldn’t have been around. Cancer took him at the early age of 53. Although, he did get a World Series ring in New York before he joined the Sox, and one more with the Orioles as the bullpen coach. It’s also a shame that more catchers have not been voted as Hall-Of-Famers, because they are the heart & soul leaders of any team. The glory always goes to the pitcher. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will ever get the defensive credit that he’s long overdue. 

I’m not a wealthy man that can spend a lot of money on baseball cards and memorabilia. They were like gold to me growing up, even though I abused a few Yankees on my bicycle spokes. If I had extra money, I would spend it at the neighborhood store on bubble gum packs and trade the duplicates with my friends. As a retiree, I reverted back to childhood and joined a group of collectors, knowing that I couldn’t compete with their high-priced Mickey Mantles or Ty Cobbs. Fortunately, for me Sherm Lollar was not on the Cooperstown wall and therefore his cards were relatively affordable. As it turns out, however, there were hundreds of them made by various manufacturers over his 28 years of playing and coaching, not to mention photos, articles, ticket stubs, yearbooks, score cards, cartoon likenesses, promotional items, and ads. He was even a Trivial Pursuit question, beanie pin, card game, and coin.  Sadly, he never got his own bobble-head or figurine, but there were glasses, plastic cups, mitts, catcher’s masks, and stamps bearing his likeness and/or signature. At the end of his career he owned a bowling alley, and provided a post card for patrons to get his signature. I was able to secure one of these, after his nephew sold some of his personal collection. 

I have Sherm Lollar’s signature on cards, photos, scraps of paper, and baseballs. My rarest find is his uniform #10 from the first four games of 1956. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve spent over $4,000 on items that mean little to anyone but me. I will probably never recover that investment even if he somehow gets into the Hall. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a movement on his behalf. I care for his memory and family, but I could have never gathered so much of his past on my limited budget. Granted, there are famous teammates and fellow All-Stars of his on some items, adding to their value. I have him in photos along side of Yogi Berra, Bill Verdon, Al Lopez, Marty Marion, Minnie Minoso, Early Wynn, Frank Hayes, to mention a few. 

Over the past month, with little to do, I’ve added to to my Sherm Lollar collection, that has to be one of the largest in existence. A photo of him with Billy Pierce showing off #10, another with Frank and Brooks Robinson, plus a couple of magazine pictures have been recently added to my bulging notebook. A 1960 ticket stub, a team photo from the 1951 St. Louis Browns, and a couple additional magazine clippings are in the mail. Within reason, I’ve vowed to add whatever I can, because within my circle of fellow collectors, that I have been separated from during months of social distancing,  I’m known as the “Sherm Lollar Guy” and have the t-shirt to prove it!

Old Sport Shorts: Opening Day #1306

A sad reminder of the state of our sports world arrived in the mail yesterday. I had ordered the Topps Now Opening Day card sets for the Cubs and White Sox, hoping to have them in time to take to Spring Training. Maybe use them for autographs? Needless to say, I’ve been anticipating their long-overdue arrival for months. The kid in me was excited to see which player had personally autographed his card, which is why I paid the overinflated prices. It was like a cheap prize in a Cracker Jack box, a unique bonus only because you found it. Last year, I got one signed by Ian Happ of the Cubs. Who would it be this year?

I still haven’t gotten my money back from the tickets I bought for that March Spring Training game that was canceled between the Sox and Cubs. When the cards arrived yesterday, it prompted another angry e-mail to the broker. Ticket-centers.com had assured a full refund in two to four weeks. It’s now been more than six weeks since the virus struck-out baseball, and they’re still stalling on reimbursement. In the meantime, Major League Baseball is already starting to issue refunds on regular season games that were missed in April. I feel bad for everyone associated with the game from both the financial and “love of the game” standpoints. The current state of the season is still up in the air, like a game-ending pop-up that never seems to drop. 

It was supposed to be Christmas, but when I finally unwrapped my card sets, I was immediately filled with disappointment. First, there were no autographs as I anticipated. Some of the photos looked like they were thrown together at the last minute, while there were definite short-cuts in the player descriptions on the back. This was on every Sox card: “With a burgeoning youth movement in full swing, the Chicago White Sox are ready to take the next step in 2020, after adding several key pieces to their promising core.” The Cubs offered: “With fan-favorite David Ross now at the helm, the Cubs will look to reclaim the top spot in the NL Central Division.” In my opinion, it was a pretty lazy effort in highlighting each respective player. Even though Topps surely struggled with player access, I still feel they need to do some make-goods to keep me as a customer. 

Baseball, like everything else, will never be the same, even when “normalcy” eventually returns. Discussions continue on playing this season without fans in the stadiums that surround Phoenix. It will be a far cry from my most memorable Opening Day at Wrigley Field on April 3, 1998 when they honored Harry Caray and topped the Expos 6-2. I still have the ticket stub and commemorative pin. Without people in the stands, at the least there won’t be annoying lawsuits from disengaged fans struck by foul balls. I suppose it would be better than no baseball at all, but the real experience is in going to the ballpark. I’m afraid the televised games will be as uneventful as the player descriptions on the back of my new cards. Plus, even if we could go to the games, it would take a six-foot pen to get an autograph. There may be an Opening Day, but there’s really no “open” about it.

Old Sport Shorts: Old Timer #1185

I spent yesterday in baseball mode, despite the big games in other sports on T.V. As I was traveling to my baseball card luncheon, for example, I.U. basketball somehow beat #11 Ohio State, despite 1-17 shooting in the last ten minutes of the first half. It was better that I was in the car and didn’t witness the pathetic 20-36 free throw shooting. Later in the day, I missed both NFL Playoff games because of a lengthy Old Timers Baseball Banquet. A few beers, four speakers and two unavoidable naps later, I was ready for bed. I did however enjoy a short conversation with 82-year old Pete Ward, a White Sox teammate of Sherm Lollar back in 1962. I think that he was disturbed that I was wearing a Cubs shirt while claiming to be a Sox fan. I also won a book by Jack Dunn, From The Third Base Coach’s Box.  

Today it’s raining buckets so I will definitely watch the Packers vs. Seahawks game. With the 49ers already in the winner’s bracket, West Coast fans are anticipating a Seattle vs. San Francisco match-up with the winner going to the Super Bowl. I’m also watching Purdue’s dominant first half performance against conference leader Michigan State. I’m not always a Purdue fan, but hatred is a relative thing. One of last night’s speakers was Mark Wasikowski, the new head baseball coach of the Oregon Ducks who was previously at Purdue. He talked of the in-state rivalry with I.U. In 2018 the Boilers finished 2nd in the BIG with a 17-9 record but were eliminated by Houston in the NCAA Regional. I.U. went a step further but lost to Texas, after a 14-9 conference season and a split record against Purdue. Texas failed to get through the first round of the 2018 College World Series

I last saw I.U. Baseball lose to defending National Champion Oregon State at T-Mobile Stadium in Seattle last year. Back in 2013 with Cubs’ star Kyle Schwarber in the line-up, Indiana made their first College World Series but also lost in double elimination to Oregon State. I followed University of Texas while we lived in Austin, and the success of I.U., U.T., and O.S.U. inspired me to attend the College World Series two years ago in Omaha. Texas was there, but I.U. failed to return. Oregon State emerged as the Champion in dramatic fashion. It was a sports bucket list accomplishment for me to attend the games. It was a lot more exciting than last night’s speakers that included another pep talk on luring Major League Baseball to Portland. I have a sinking feeling that I’ll really be an “Old Timer” when that finally happens!

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: New Year Review #1178

As I look back over the past 21 New Year’s Eve celebrations with my wife, 2 have been spent in the hospital, 3 with family & friends, 12 in fancy restaurants, and 4 at home with the dogs. Allow me to reflect on just this past year of memories that have been both good and bad, in no particular order of importance. Only two, including tonight, have ended with a relaxing night in a hotel room. 

The Year in Review:

My son turned 45

Two of my wife’s daughters wed great young men, so I’m now twice a step-father-in-law, joining my expanded family of a daughter-in-law of now over ten years

The two very different ceremonies were at The Presidio in San Francisco and Powell’s Rare Book Room in Portland. 

Both newlywed couples took gift honeymoons from us in Hawaii, while my son and his wife enjoyed our time-share condo in Orlando

We sold our stand-alone Portland condo in twelve days and at a profit. 

My oldest grandchild turned 12 and he took up golf

My middle grandchild turned 10 and we help her with dance lessons

My youngest grandchild celebrated her first birthday and I started her college fund

My wife joined me in retirement just a few months ago, while I just enjoyed my third full year

We traveled together to Thailand, Florida, Phoenix, Tucson, San Francisco, Walla-Walla, New York, Indiana, Maui, Vancouver, Chicago, Steamboat, Seattle, and McMinnville.

We saw Elton John, Pink, Goo-Goo Dolls, and Train in concert

I grew my Ancestry family tree to include over 18,000 relatives

We helped free a Jeep stuck up to its front axle in deep Panama City Beach sand 

I donated blood on several occasions 

I finished with over 15,000 Buffalo Wild Wings points to use for future “Leadership Meetings”

We moved to a downtown apartment and started using public transportation

We lost cat Frankie and schnauzer Tinker to old age

We attended our 7th Outstanding In The Field in Vancouver, BC – our first international dining event

My wife’s mother sadly died at age 97

We saw Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge, and Tootsie on Broadway

I missed my 50th high school reunion

I lost two college fraternity brothers

We saw the 60th annual Twilight Zone movie presentation on the big screen

I.U. soccer lost to I.U. Santa Barbara and failed to reach the National Championship like last year

We watched I.U. baseball win and lose in Seattle and Oregon State beat I.U. the same weekend. The Beavers were not able to return to the College World Series

I.U. football earned a spot in the Gator Bowl

I.U. basketball failed to make the tournament again

The Chicago Bears failed to make the playoffs

The Cubs did not win the Division or make the playoffs. The White Sox didn’t come close

The Portland Trailblazers enjoyed playoff success but fell short to the eventual champion Warriors.

I saw Oregon basketball beat Memphis at the Moda Center

Oregon earned a spot in the Rose Bowl

I’ve added to my Sherm Lollar baseball collection while drastically downsizing my Cubs memorabilia to accommodate our much smaller living space

I gave-up my once-framed I.U. jersey to its rightful owner Kent Benson #54

We had Portland visits from my wife’s Indy girlfriends, my wife’s youngest daughter, and our Decatur friends

We reconnected with many old friends around the country

We paid off all our credit cards and the balance on our Decatur, Illinois mortgage

We eliminated most of our wine club memberships

We invested in more Marriott Vacation Club points

We planned and paid for many trips next year including Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Spring Training, Alcatraz, the Great Pyramid, and Glacier National Park

We bought the Regal Unlimited movie pass for next year and can easily walk to the theater

My wife’s oldest daughter and husband bought their first house. They also adopted Falco to play with now lonely Tally, our 10-year old schnauzer

My wife’s youngest daughter took a new job with Stanford Hospital and moved with her husband to San Francisco

We’ll end the year and day #7,861 together with dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa and start the New Year with theme park visits with my grand children

We looked at retirement properties along the Gulf Coast of Florida

We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary at Joel Palmer House in Oregon wine country

We met my cousin in Phuket, Thailand

I finished Game of Thrones

We went to the King Tut exhibit at OMSI in preparation for next year’s trip to Egypt

I completed the 11th consecutive year of my daily running streak

I had just one minor cold this past year

I just now finished my 1,178th blog post

 

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: World Series Time #1107

We’re headed to the antique and collectibles show, knowing that we don’t have room for any purchases in our new apartment. In fact, we just spent weeks getting rid of many of our possessions in an effort to fit into half the space. However, just walking through the aisles will undoubtedly bring back many memories of similar treasures that may have passed through our lives. Each one has a story that is often times the clincher for a sale. For example, we still have goods from the Capone and Studebaker families, not to mention family heirlooms that have more meaning than value.

I’ve recently become interested in these shows because of my sports collection. For awhile, I had some custom built-in cabinets that needed to be filled. Recently, however, I’ve had to reluctantly pass much of this memorabilia on to my son and other friends.  I’m left with a guest room/office that my wife has graciously allowed me to decorate with my remaining autographed posters, balls, bats, Sherm Lollar uniform, and ticket stubs. I also somehow got a shelf or two to store my binders of baseball cards, pictures, lanyards, and big game memories. The windows in front of me look out at the surrounding hills and colorful leaves of fall. It’s World Series time – the Fall Classic! Who will be crowned Mr. October, or what looks like November?

One of the framed posters on the wall hold our World Series tickets from 2016 along with pins and pictures of the Cubs victory. Series hero David Ross was just named their new coach. I also have a plaque commemorating the White Sox of 2005 and their World Series sweep of the Astros. My media credentials from that accomplishment are stored in a binder. The Astros are back again this year and tied the series at two games each with the Nats. In 2005 the Astros were in the National League and the Montreal Expos played for the first time at RFK Stadium as the newly formed Washington Nationals. This is their first trip to the World Series, and they have so far failed to win a Fall Classic game at Nationals Park. They have another chance tonight before the event moves back to Houston. In fact, neither team has claimed a home game. 

The big story yesterday for me was not the World Series, but rather the I.U. football victory at Nebraska. This was a statement win for the Indiana Hoosier program that has always been firmly embedded in the second division of the BIG Ten Conference. I.U. had not won in Lincoln, Nebraska since 1959. I clearly remember watching on TV a 1978 drubbing by the Huskers of 69-17 in Bloomington, along with four other thrashings before yesterday’s 38-31 victory. Things were apparently different before I was born, as Indiana actually leads the overall Husker-Hoosier series 10-8 with 3 ties. To me, Nebraska has always been a football school and Indiana a basketball factory. Nebraska even had their legendary blackshirts on in their historic stadium to honor their great defensive squads of the past. To make victory even sweeter, the win makes I.U. bowl eligible and resulted in a three-game BIG streak for the first time in 25 years. Bring on Northwestern for a potential fourth!

To make the Fall day even better yesterday, the Oregon Ducks pulled out a 37-35 victory over Washington State Cougars for their seventh straight. I stayed up to watch the end even through it was well past my bedtime. I can’t imagine having to drive back to Portland from Eugene, even despite the adrenaline rush from a winning field goal with no time on the clock. It was a thriller, as the Cougars took a one point lead with a touchdown drive leaving less than a minute in the game. The Ducks will move into the Top 10 nationally with losses by Notre Dame and Oklahoma. 

It must be Sunday! The Bears will try to rebound against the Chargers as the Colts try to pick up their 5th victory against the Broncos. Oops, there goes another Bears field goal attempt off the uprights! I’m not sure I can watch any more. Instead, I’ll be antiquing but will be back home in time for World Series Game 5. If it weren’t for the NFL, a retiree like me wouldn’t know what day it is!

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Red Zone #1099

My favorite teams aren’t getting much TV support on the West Coast. Nobody cares about I.U., Indianapolis Colts, or Chicago Bears so I’m forced to follow games on the internet or the NFL Red Zone. I did watch the Ducks beat the Huskies yesterday, while monitoring I.U. versus Maryland on my phone. The football Hoosiers won their fifth game of the season – one away from a bowl invitation. After two straight 5-7 seasons and consecutive Decembers off, a holiday bonus game would be a welcome present. It’s about all I can ever expect from this consistently second division BIG Ten team. Even a major bowl appearance is probably never a realistic possibility. 

Rainy weather yesterday turned me into a couch potato, always a grateful role for a home – make that apartment – body like myself. It was rare to see both the Hoosiers and Ducks win at virtually the same time. The Timbers unfortunately were not as lucky as their season came to an end against Salt Lake. I.U. lost their first BIG conference game in four years to Maryland, reminiscent of last year’s trip to Santa Clare and National Championship defeat to these same Terps. College basketball is about to start, but the Hoosiers are expected to finish in the lower half of the conference – just like football. It’s frustrating when the round ball was always a welcome relief to a disappointing pig skin performance. Now, I.U. appears to be marginal in both money sports, with only soccer earning national respect. 

It’s the Nationals and Astros in this year’s World Series, certainly not what I expected. The Nats easily swept the Cards, proving once again just how poor the Cubs were this past season. However, it was good to see Cardinal fans humbled. We’ll see how the Cubbies perform next year without the services of Coach Joe Maddon, who will be guiding the Angels. I think perhaps the White Sox will be worth following in the future. My new office is now essentially an equal combination of Sox and Cubs memorabilia. Most of my Cubs merchandise was passed on to my son in Florida, since space did not allow. I’ll be taking some more items to him in a few weeks. 

The Hoosiers travel to Nebraska next week, a football team they haven’t beat since 1959. I was 8 years old and don’t remember, but I do recall some thorough thrashings by the Cornhuskers long before they were conference foes. My other team from Indiana, the Colts, are currently prevailing over the Texans in their quest to command the AFC South division. (Colts win 30-23). I’ve been a Colts fan since they were in Baltimore, but somewhere in the transition I began to follow the Bears. It’s rare when the Ducks, Hoosiers, Colts, and Bears win in the same week. It could happen by the end of the day, but the 5-1 Saints stand in the way. That’s next on “Couch Potato” Sunday, as I continue to watch the Red Zone

P.S, The Chicag Bears (No O) lost to the Saints at Soldier Field. Mitchell Trubisky was truly awful, and their pitiful offense was limited to a kick-off return along with a late touchdown pass, 2-point conversion, and an on-side kick recovery (nearly two) that led to another TD when it mattered little. Defense wasn’t much better, giving up a blocked punt for a safety. It was still 36-18 at the two minute warning and 36-25 with less than a minute remaining, despite their too-little-too-late comeback effort.  Final score: Saints 36 Bears 25 (17 rushing yards).   

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Hook Me Up #1086

I came back from Florida to a cluttered apartment filled with extra furniture and framed pictures that needed to be hung. We had even utilized an additional storage unit and every space in my car to hold excess items while my wife entertained friends from Indianapolis over the extended weekend. We got together yesterday after going our separate ways, to consolidate, terminate, and eliminate. As a result, our new place is slowly coming together to the point where we’re not stepping over one thing to get to another. Goodwill continues to be the beneficiary. 

Today, we’re having our TVs installed by Hook Me Up Solutions, including a new 55″ Samsung Q60 in the living room. I’m writing in the kitchen this morning while they finish work in my office/guest bedroom. I did manage to get my framed Timbers scarf and baseball bat cases hung on the wall before they arrived, but everything else will have to wait until they finish. When all is said and done, it will be but a mini museum of memorabilia, compared to my former room. I’ve got another suitcase full of autographed merchandise to take to my son’s house in Florida over the holidays, adding to what I just delivered to him last week. At least, he doesn’t have to wait until I die to inherit a good portion of my collection. Plus, I can visit it when I go to see my grand kids. 

Once I’ve finished setting up my office, I will soon return to the more sedentary retirement existence that I’ve enjoyed these past few years. I continue to be stiff and sore from the past few weeks of constant shuttles between condo and apartment. The Florida break was very welcome, although I did help me son organize and hang the Cubs “crap” that I gave him. He’s a fanatic, having even named his two daughters after former players Gregg Maddox (Maddux Alexander) and Mark Grace (Nora Grace). I did package up some items that hold no interest for him to unload at the baseball card show this weekend. I hope to trade them for smaller items that are more manageable in our limited space. It’s really very gracious of my wife to even allow me to display my stuff, considering that I don’t even have a garage any more. Likewise, my son’s wife showed equal “boys and their toys” patience, although she’s as big of a Cubs fan as he is. I retained most of my White Sox memorabilia, since they were my first baseball love. 

I’m only hours away from being officially “Hooked Up,” and once again have access to hours of television entertainment. There hasn’t been much time lately to sit and watch, and these tired bones can certainly use a another relaxing break of doing nothing. I’m glad I have professionals installing the equipment and miles of wires associated with our new system. It’s one less thing for me to do!

 

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Stinkin’, Sinkin’ Cubs #1075

Three 100-win Division clinchers, with the potential of five. Only St. Louis, the probable Central Division Champs with 89 victories will fail to exceed the century mark this season. This tells you a lot about their chances in the post-season. Does this reveal my bitterness as a Cub fan? It was almost a predictable collapse considering the consistent failure of the Cubs bullpen. It almost became a joke, having watched game after game of blown late inning leads. Joe Maddon is almost certainly a goner, despite the fact that he made the only possible moves to preserve victory. If it wasn’t Pedro Strop giving up the walk-off, it was Craig Kimbrel or Brandon Kintzler. It just goes to prove that if your last name starts with K, it doesn’t mean you can deliver one!

The real “K” leader, Yu Darvich finally got his sh*t together, but could typically only deliver six or seven innings. Today, Joe stretched him to nine, but he ran out of gas. Strop once again could not save the day and the Cards struck “Gold” in earning their first 4-game sweep at Wrigley in almost a century. Each game was a one-run loss by the Cubs in the last inning, with the first happening in the 10th. It was “Nightmare on Clark Street!” There will now be three meaningless games at Busch Stadium to conclude the 2019 regular season. The Cards will play on, after four frustrating years of playing second fiddle to their Chicago rivals. I’ve seen the taunting Facebook posts all day long – like they really have a chance in the Post-Season. All they’ve really done is edge the Stinkin’ Sinkin’ Cubs!

The shining star for the Cubs down the stretch was Nico Hoerner, who played his college ball at Stanford. He was the only member of the 2018 class to make the Majors this year. Injuries to Baez and Russell brought him off the couch to the diamond, and he made it pay-off. They might as well now give the entire All Star quality, yet injury-riddled, infield of Baez, Rizzo, and Bryant have an extra week of off-season rest and let Zobrist, Bote, Caritini, Happ, Kemp and Russell get the extra practice. They certainly didn’t contribute much to the success of this team, especially when it mattered. As we’re accustomed to saying as Cubs’ fans, “Maybe Next Year?” Let me also be one of the first to add, “Goodbye Joe!”

 

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