Well, it’s finally happened. The Cubs are in the playoffs. And while I still think 2016 will be the Season Of A Dream for the Cubs, one never knows what the boys have up their sleeves. After all, they did win 97 games, have one of the most exciting rookies in years in Kris Bryant, the big bat of Anthony Rizzo, and the lights-out pitching of Jake Arrieta. That’s why ESPN put the Northsiders at the top of their MLB Playoffs Rootability Index this year.
The Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night in the NL Wild Card Game to see who will go on to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. As a rule, Cardinals fans aren’t very fond of the Cubs or anything having to do with the Cubs. And that means many of them will automatically root for the Cubs to lose in any game, especially one that could advance them to face the Cards. But the smart Cardinals fan should rethink that notion, because Baseball’s Best Fans would benefit in a big way from a Cubs/Cards NLDS.
- Cardinals fans LOVE stats, so look at these 2015 season matchups:
- Cardinals vs. Pirates 10-9
- Cardinals vs. Cubs 11-8
- Sure, it’s a one game swing, but any advantage should be good for the Redbirds, and since it’s a game of inches, that one extra win from the Cubs may make all the difference in the world.
- It’s only a five game series, so Cardinals fans only have to drive to Chicago, which is a lot closer than Pittsburgh, to try and buy tickets to the two games in the Windy City and end up watching the action in a Wrigeyville bar. (For what it’s worth, I highly recommend The Cubby Bear, home of many of my brain cells over the years and right across the street from Wrigley Field)
- More Cubs fans than Pirates fans will make the trip to Busch Stadium for the same reason. Sure, some might get into the game, but most of them will be crammed into Ballpark Village drinking beer that’s just as expensive as inside the ballpark and maybe even listening to Joe Buck provide between inning commentary, which is punishment for any Cubs fan.
- And let’s be real here, St. Louis needs all the tourist money it can get these days. Think of the dough those giddy Cubs fans will drop while they celebrate having their team in the playoffs for the first time since 2008? Tony’s and Mike Shannon’s are gonna be packed, PACKED I tell ya!
- Heck, its only a FIVE GAME SERIES. Win 2 at home, knock off the Cubs on the road, and then rest up for whatever suckers the Cardinals face next. Bang, zoom. You get to beat your biggest rivals and then sit at home and watch Frank Cusumano carry on about how easy it’ll be to slaughter whoever dares to face the Mighty Cardinals.
- If anyone is going to ruin the Cubs’ chances of getting to the World Series, shouldn’t it be the Cardinals? Beating Pittsburgh would be nice and all that, but what satisfaction do you get from that? Mocking bottles of Heinz Ketchup? Cardinals fans deserve better than that.
So you see, Cardinals fans, there are plenty of reasons for you to toss aside your long standing hatred of the Cubs, at least for one night. Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain. Don’t you want to see the Cubs humiliated by The Cardinal Way? Wouldn’t you like to take a nice four hour ride to follow your heroes and see them advance to the NLCS by winning game 3 or 4 at what the late Steve Goodman called an “ivy-covered burial ground“? Well, that can’t happen if the Pirates prevail Wednesday night. Face it, Cardinal Nation, if the Cubs win Wednesday night, so do you. If they lose, it’s just another Red October without all the juicy hatred and rivalry the Cubs stir up in you. I bet Fredbird would even be celebrating a Cards/Cubs NLDS series.
The first thing I have to do in this post is gloat about the Cubs winning the last two games from the Hapless Cardinals. Did you see the game-ending catch from Addison Russell?
Some pretty impressive stuff as the Cubs seem to be peaking at just the right time. But carrying on about how well the Cubs are doing in mid-September isn’t the reason for this post, we all know what happens when Cubs fans count all their chickens before they hatch, as it were. So let’s move on, shall we?
One of my favorite podcasts is NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me“, a weekly game show produced in Chicago. Clearly the producers of the show have Cub Fever, as they had Cubs Chairman Or Whatever They Call Him Tom Ricketts this week on the “Not My Job” segment of the show.
You know I’m not a big Tom Ricketts fan, but I have to say I was impressed by the way he handled himself on the show and the actual glint of humanity and sense of humor he showed during his segment. In the event you missed the show, or you don’t believe that this guy has a humorous cell in his entire body, here’s the segment, courtesy of NPR.
OK, he’s no Harry Caray, but he was pretty good natured, as he should be since he’s selling tickets in September, historically not the most crowded time of the year at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
I just thought I’d share this with you, it’s almost a great moment in Cubs management history. Also, let me remind you that earlier this season I said this was NOT going to be the Cubs’ year. I still stick with my prediction that 2016 will be the Season Of A Dream. But the end of 2015 certainly is going to be fun.
One More Thing: It would be wrong for me not to note the passing of Chicago Air Personality and Sportscaster Milo Hamilton this week. Hamilton spent some time in the Cubs broadcast booth and many years with the Houston Astros. He was a fine broadcaster, had to endure a lot while working for the Cubs, and will be missed. May his memory be a blessing.
Back in the late 1990’s, I put my name on the Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List. A couple of years ago, during a period of, um, underemployment, my name came to the top of the list. And of course, I couldn’t plunk down the cash the Ricketts Family wanted for me to buy the upper deck season tickets that were available to me at the time.
But my luck has changed! Today, I got an e mail from the Cubs inviting me to the Season Ticket Waiting List. Woo Hoo! So I signed up. And look at the great news I got from my favorite sports franchise:
Yessiree, only 57,648 people are holding me back from getting my very own Cubs Season Tickets. An amount of people roughly equal to the population of Kokomo, Indiana stands between me and the chance to attend every game at the Friendly Confines, or attend a few games and scalp the rest of the tickets. But scalping is wrong and I’d NEVER do that.
Here’s a message to the 57,648 blocking me from basking in the warm glow of the Jumbotrons and using the soon to be remodeled restrooms at 1060 West Addison. MOVE ASIDE, BITCHES and let me get my tickets before the Cubs go to the World Series or I die, whichever comes first.
And since I’m predicting 2016 as The Year Of The Cubs®, you people better get out of the way soon.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve graced these pages, and I will be back with more soon. For now, though, sharing one of the very few good things I’ve seen about the renovation of Wrigley Field.
Originally posted on Cubs Vine Line Blog:
This season, the Cubs will debut a new twist on an old tradition. After each Cubs win at Wrigley Field, the team will keep the Wintrust “W” lit above the new video board once the ballpark lights turn off.
Though the left-field video board is definitely new, the concept of keeping a blue light shining after Cubs wins is not. During the major renovation of 1937, when the team constructed the modern-style bleachers and scoreboard and planted the ivy, the idea came about to install two lights atop the scoreboard along with the W and L flags. That way, commuters on the El would still be able to tell if the Cubs won or lost even after it got dark and it was no longer possible to see the flags.
The Cubs installed a blue light on the third-base side of the scoreboard to be lit following wins and a…
View original 94 more words
I worry about the Cubs. I worry that they stink, despite the last few weeks of decent play. I worry that their attendance is going to probably be down a million people from three years ago. I worry that the Ricketts family will ruin my beloved Wrigleyville neighborhood. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
The Cubs need many things, including better Public Relations. Recently, I saw an ad for a PR Coordinator to help in their quest to not be disliked (hated is such an awful word). But today I got this e mail from the team:
On behalf of the Chicago Cubs, we appreciate the interest you have shown regarding our recent employment opportunity. However, after careful review and consideration, the candidate we feel best meets our needs for the PR Coordinator position has been selected.
We will retain your resume in our database. Please feel free, however, to visit our website atwww.cubs.com to keep abreast of future job opportunities.
Again, thank you for your interest and best of luck in your employment search.
Human Resources Department
SLAP MY HEAD! Who on the planet would work harder to make the Cubs beloved? Who would try to distract people from the PR messes the team is facing? This guy! Heck, I’d even say I liked Clark The Cubs Mascot if they had me working for the team.
If anyone needed more proof that the Cubs Front Office is operating with less than a full load of brainpower, this should prove it once and for all.
Meet Clark, the new Chicago Cubs mascot. Yes, after all these years and in the season when the 100th Anniversary of Wrigley Field should be enough to keep fans pacified, the Ricketts family is introducing a mascot. Here’s what the team said about this allegedly cute yet disturbing addition via Red Eye.
“The Cubs are thrilled to welcome Clark as the team’s official mascot,” Alison Miller, senior director of marketing, said in a news release. “Clark is a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans. He’ll be a welcoming presence for families at Wrigley Field and an excellent ambassador for the team in the community.”
I do have to give the Cubs credit. They’ve already got me slapping my forehead and it’s only January 13. That may be the earliest in any year for that to happen.
UPDATE JANUARY 14, 2014 “Clark The Cub” (yes, that’s what they are calling him) visited kids at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center along with Cubs Rookie Prospects (Understandably, the REAL players didn’t want to be seen with him) and here he is in person in a well staged photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. I guess they couldn’t spring for a fitted cap for him so his hair has to poke out of the knock off adjustable cap.
Wow, the man who is trying to
redevelop and ruin Wrigleyville turn the Cubs into winners sent ME an e mail. Me and probably about a million other distraught Cubs fans on their mailing list.
I’ll save what could be about 500 pages of responses to this personal note from the owner of the Cubs, but I will say this to his last paragraph. I’ll be looking for you IF I decide to take out a loan to go to a game next year. Oh yes.
And tonight in St. Louis, where I live, the Cardinals take on the Dodgers in the first game of the NLCS. Something that I don’t think I’ll even have the chance to say about the Cubs until at least 2016.
A look back at the nightmare some called the Cubs 2013 season on the eve of the ultimate Cubs failure, letting the cardinals clinch the NL Central by losing to them in St. Louis.
And I didn’t even spout off about the whole Old Style thing, although I should have.
I haven’t posted about the Cubs all this season for one simple reason. They stink. The owners stink, the players try their best but overall they stink, and it’s been a horrible season. I haven’t even gotten the chance to get up to the Friendly Confines Of Wrigley Field for a game due to work commitments.
But when I woke up this morning and saw this story in what we used to call the World’s Greatest Newspaper, my blood went into boiling mode and I simply had to chime in with my thoughts.
Anheuser-Busch new Cubs exclusive beer sponsor
Large beer sign to go up in Wrigley Field’s right-field bleachers
By Josh Noel and Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune reporters
10:09 PM CDT, September 6, 2013The Cubs announced a deal Friday to make Anheuser-Busch their exclusive beer sponsor in 2014 and beyond, and they plan to install a 650-square-foot Budweiser sign in the right-field bleachers.
That’s bad news for Old Style, which has had an affiliation with the team for more than 60 years, as well as for Wrigleyville rooftop owners opposed to installing a large sign that could obstruct some views.
A source said the Cubs will install a mock-up of the sign when the team goes on the road next week. While it’s questionable whether construction on the $300 million ballpark renovation plan will begin this offseason as planned, the Cubs have the go-ahead to install the sign either way.
“Absolutely,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. “We could potentially put up the sign by 2014 (before construction begins). … We have the approval to put up a left-field video board and a right-field sign, and with Anheuser-Busch as our exclusive marketing partner, we can do it by opening day.”
The Cubs are running out of time to start the first phase of their Wrigley renovation plan, which is expected to take place over five offseasons. They had hoped to begin construction Sept. 26, the day after the Cubs’ final home game.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said during a radio broadcast of Thursday’s playoff game of the franchise’s Double-A Tennessee affiliate that the heavy construction likely would have to wait until after next season. He did say, though, that fans would start seeing some changes in 2014 and more in 2015.
Green said Friday that Ricketts’ comment doesn’t mean the Cubs are resigned to begin the major parts of the project after the 2014 season, but that several hurdles remain before they can start, and time is running short. They originally planned to finish an expansion of the home clubhouse before next season, which now appears unlikely.
Green said the “rooftop issue” still needs to be resolved before the ballpark renovation and work on a proposed $200 million hotel on Clark Street, across from Wrigley, can begin. The Cubs want assurances from rooftop owners they won’t sue over the contract they signed with the team in 2004 providing the Cubs with 17 percent of their revenue.
“We’re still talking to the rooftop owners to come to a resolution,” Green said. “Basically the (Ricketts) family is not comfortable making a $500 million investment with the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads.”
But the beer sign and the video board can be installed without the permission of the rooftop owners, and both could be up during the 2014 season, the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field.
As for the exclusive beer sponsorship, Cubs fans can expect to see Goose Island flowing at the ballpark in 2014. Brewery spokeswoman Ana Serafin said it had not been determined which Anheuser-Busch brands would be available, or in what quantity, but suggested the brewery’s “Chicago-influenced beers” would be obvious candidates.
Goose Island, which regained the beer contract this summer at the Pitchfork Music Festival, experimented with a pair of brews made just for the weekend-long fest. Though a considerably larger investment, would Goose Island consider a Wrigley-only exclusive too?
“A-B is being really supportive of our creativity,” Serafin said. “If we come back and tell them we want to create XYZ crazy beer and it would be perfect for baseball, they would listen. But we don’t know yet how creative we can get.”
For Old Style lovers and traditionalists who drink it only at Wrigley, hope springs eternal. Green said the team and its concessions management partner, Levy Restaurants, might choose to continue serving Old Style in 2014.
The Anheuser-Busch deal is a marketing agreement only. Budweiser will maintain naming rights throughout the stadium, but that doesn’t mean Budweiser products will be served exclusively at Wrigley, which would be illegal.
Still, the agreement gives Budweiser ample muscle when it comes time to set the Wrigley Field beer menu for 2014 and beyond. It appears likely vendors no longer will be selling Old Style in the aisles after 2013.
Whether the deal signals a seismic shift in Wrigley’s beer offerings is yet to be seen, but smaller craft breweries such as Revolution Brewing don’t sound optimistic.
“Sounds like a lot of dollars changed hands, and we just don’t do anything like that to sell beer,” Revolution founder Josh Deth said in an email. “We let the malt, hops and yeast do the talking, not the Benjamins. We’re hopeful the Cubs and Levy will want to pour actual craft beer made in Chicago. And I think the fans are too.”
I don’t drink a lot of beer, I’m a Maker’s Mark guy myself, but as long as I’ve been able to
use a fake ID to get beer drink, I’ve enjoyed a pure brewed Old Style at Wrigley Field. Just like eating a hot dog at a ballpark tastes different, drinking an Old Style at Wrigley made it taste better, way better. It’s part of the Cubs Experience, but now it looks like it may go the way of Frosty Malts and Ron Santo Pizza.
I understand times change, but Old Style has managed to stay in business for many years, partly because of the loyalty of Cubs fans, the Cubs organization, and the association the brand has enjoyed with the Cubs for as long as I can remember. Hardly anything beats sitting in the stands at Wrigley, even the Budweiser Bleachers, enjoying a semi-cold Old Style and seeing Starlin Castro blow a routine force out. But it looks like that may not be happening in the future.
Tom Ricketts and Cubs Management have done a lot to make me and other Cubs fans angry since they bought the club. I won’t list everything here, and don’t get me started on the Wrigley Field renovation plans. But this time they’ve crossed the Red, um YELLOW LINE when it comes to how they run the club and the kind of fan experience they give us.
So what can we do in answer to this unprovoked attack on the Cubs Experience? Sadly, not much. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them what you think, although they probably won’t answer you back. Anheuser-Busch InBev is allegedly headquartered here in St. Louis, and I know people down at “The Brewery” who will be getting calls and emails from me all next week. You could appeal to Kevin Feehan, the guy in charge of selling Budweiser in Chicago, to let the Old Style pour, but even if you could get him to respond, he’d probably blame someone in San Paulo or Brussels, the REAL homes of A-B, for the decision.
That leaves one final avenue of appeal, Levy Restaurants, who handles food service at Wrigley Field, and might actually have the power to keep the pure brewed Old Style flowing at the ballpark. Their phone number is (773) 975-3606 and you should join me in calling them during weekday business hours or contact them on the Interwebz and (NICELY) demand your Old Style. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter if you feel inclined to follow then and send them a NICE message about this abhorrent situation. Don’t act like a Chicago policeman and be all pushy and mean, ask them NICELY to keep Old Style at Wrigley Field. Who knows, it might actually work. And monkeys could fly out of my butt.
Some things, like the Cubs having a winning season, are an uphill battle. Getting Old Style in Wrigley Field might be one too. But I leave you with the encouraging words of Cub Fan John Belushi as you join me on the quest to keep at least ONE Wrigley Field tradition alive. WHO’S WITH ME?
- Budweiser Logo Coming to Wrigley’s Right-Field Sign (adage.com)
- Cubs Drop Old Style (wgntv.com)
- Tom Ricketts says quick fix not in cards for Cubs (suntimes.com)
The Chicago Cubs kick off their 2013 season Monday in Pittsburgh and have their home opener at Wrigley Field a week later. This is going to be another rough year for the Cubs, and I’m using the miracle of multimedia to illustrate my thoughts on what I once called the “2013 Season Of A Dream”, before it became apparent that a club dedicated to rebuilding, on and off the field and mired in politics has no chance of even finishing over .500.
First, my thoughts on video. Like the Cubs themselves, the quality is kind of substandard, and for that I apologize.
And because all of us Social Media Ninjas or Social Media Gurus or whatever the people who really don’t know a thing about social media want to call themselves these days say that everything you post needs a visual, I’ve created this with the help of the good people at someecards.com.
2013 CUBS CLUB MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS
- Personalized membership card
- Membership sticker
- 2013 MLB.com Gameday Audio for your computer*
- Opportunity to participate in an exclusive Cubs Club members-only on-field event*
- Exclusive email newsletter
- Access to members-only website with exclusive content and offers
- Opportunity to receive a 30-day trial to the MLB Insiders Club*
Not a horrible deal, but basically handing a double Sawbuck to the Rickets Family for nothing, except the Gameday Audio, which comes from MLB Advanced Media. And for the same 20 bucks, about the price of a hot dog and a Budweiser at the St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium, I can get all this cool geeked out stuff for my phone, MLB At Bat.
At Bat for Android Phones
- Multi-platform live audio access for At Bat 13 subscribers (portable to Mac/PC with a valid MLB.com account)
- Universal support for At Bat 13 subscribers, accessible on Android smartphones and tablets and other supported mobile devices
- Re-designed individual team pages
- Re-architected news section navigation
- Expanded video highlight integration
- One-time annual fee of $19.99 for the entire 2013 season
- MLB.TV Premium subscribers receive At Bat 13 for free with log-in
- Access your MLB.TV Premium subscription to watch live video
- Listen to available live radio broadcasts
- Customize At Bat’s home screen to feature your designated favorite team.
- Favorite team home screen widget for one-click access to your favorite team’s At Bat homepage
- MLB home screen widget for in-progress scores around the league
- Follow batter-by-batter action for every game
- Enhanced video library archive, searchable by player, team or keyword
- Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and players stats for every team
DO I LOOK STUPID? If I’m going to give up 20 bucks this year, knowing that the Cubs will not be great, tickets will be easy to find when I go to the Friendly Confines Of Wrigley Field, and the Cubs Club gives me almost nothing special, who do you think is getting my “contribution” this year? You betcha, MLB Advanced Media and At Bat 2013.
I’m not looking forward to the 2013 Cubs season from a competitive basis for sure, and I’m not sure if I’m even looking forward to having to hear about all the off field distractions that will contribute to a poor performance on the diamond. It saddens me that I feel this way even before the first pitch is thrown out. Perhaps I’ve just been kicked in the teeth enough over the years. Perhaps I’m setting realistic expectations for the year ahead. Or perhaps the dreams of this kid have finally evaporated like the foam off of a pure brewed Old Style.