Saturday, June 06, 2009
Monday, September 29, 2008
I was going to write about what it means to be a Cub fan, but I don't think I can fully capture in in words. And if I came close I think the only people who would get it would be other Cub fans.
I'm going to the first two games of the series against the Dodgers this week. On Wednesday I'm driving up to Wilmette to stay with my folks. Maggie is coming along for the ride as her schedule is much harder for Mary to coordinate around than it is for the other girls who are in school all day. My parents are graciously going to play with their youngest granddaughter while I play at Wrigley. I'm looking forward to the car ride with Mag. She's a hoot and we'll have fun on our nine hour tour to Chicagoland.
I won an online auction to get one seat in the right field bleachers for Wednesday. On Thursday I'm going with brother Brian and sitting in seats my sister is letting us have. Over these two days I know I'll be reminiscing about my past experiences at Wrigley with friends and family.
There are so many memories to share since we had season tickets since I can recall. What follows next is something I cannot control. It's a ramble of thoughts that jump into my mind when I think of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. It's the best I can do to convey what it means to me to be a fan. If you get it, you get it. If you don't, well I'm sorry. Here it goes:
The first set of seats my folks had were somewhere around the 8-10th row behind home plate. They were such choice seats that you could call the pitch before the ump hollered out. And these were in the days before they changed the net and a ball fouled directly back would roll up and down over your head on the much worn net to the sound of someone playing a slide whistle.
There was the hassling of opposing players "Hey! Your a hot dog Montenez! Montenez, you're a hot dog!"
And the players and coaches I knew and loved (and sometimes hated) who made those teams mine:
Bill Madlock, Mike Kelleher, Steve Ontiveros, Manny Trillo, Herman Franks Larry Bittner, Rick and Steve Reuschel, Steve Stone, Mike Krukow, Bill Buckner, Bobby Murcer, Ivan DeJesus, Bruce Sutter, Dave Kingman, Ron Cey, Dick Tidrow, Leon Durham, Bobby Dernier, Rick Sutcliffe, Keith Moreland, Jody Davis, Ryne Sandberg, Shawn Dunston, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Sammy Sosa and every other player who ever wore the blue pinstripes.
The time my dirty yellow hat was picked out of the crowd by Arnie Harris. Thanks Arnie for my fifteen!
The first time I went to a game on my own with my best friend John Stutz. I think we were in third grade and had to convince both sets of parents that we could do it. I knew the "L" stops by heart. On at Wilmette, switch at Howard, off at Addison. And make sure to save money for the trip home.
The time when the Cubs made the playoffs in '84 and my mother wrote a note for me to be absent from school because "Dan's grandmother is being buried at Wrigley Field today." Then going to the game and watch Ernie do a trick "throw" to home plate for the opening toss (he held on to the throw and flipped it over his back to home plate), listen to Jimmy Buffet sing the National Anthem and then watch Rick Sutcliffe hit a run home run as he pitched the Cubs to a 13-0 victory in game one over the Padres.
Or the time when John was grounded and we sneaked out to a game, only to be on tv during game highlights on the news that night.
Or sitting with my mom and having the men around us ask her how she scored a play on her scorecard. She taught me well.
Or sitting with my sister in the stands and realizing that title of biggest Cubs fan in the family might just need to go to her.
Being old enough to have an Old Style at the game. And then getting a better beer the next time.
Remembering when all hotdogs came with mustard already in the bun. And then learning the secret of how to roll the dog in the bun to spread the mustard around.
Sitting in Stutz's basement singing along to "Hey! Hey! Holy Mackerel! No doubt about it!" on his record player.
Learning to eat peanuts in the shell.
Clark, Addison, Sheffield and Waveland.
Sitting in the right field bleachers shouting "left field sucks!"
Sitting in the left field bleachers shouting "right field sucks!"
Sitting in centerfield bleachers shouting "you both suck!"
Collecting paper cups and "popping" them on the ground.
The summer I was fifteen and was an Andy Frain usher at Wrigley. My uniform was so big it made me look like David Byrne. But I didn't care because I had a job at Wrigley.
When I sing "Take me out to the ballgame" I cannot help but sing "if the Cubs don't win it's a shame" no matter what ballpark I am at be it National League, American League or Minor League.
Being able to completely understand how Steve Goodman could write both "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" and "Go Cubs Go!".
And getting close to tears the first time I heard Ralph Covert sing "Baseball Dreams".
Not being able to root for the Mets or Cardinals to win even if it helps the Cubs playoff chances. Ever.
When Mary asked me why I couldn't just watch the games on television I didn't try to explain it all. I still don't think I could. And when she asked me what I would do if they made it to the World Series and I couldn't get a ticket? I said it doesn't matter. I don't need one to be able to feel like I am there. I know that place inside and out and know a part of me will be there in spirit to cheer on my Cubs.
But I just may need to make a trip to Clark and Addison to be outside while the games are going on. Just in case I might find that miracle ticket.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Mary and I had an argument last night. It's not important what it was about, but let's just say that it involved a piece of dark chocolate and the kids not talking to her.
What is important is that we had an argument. It's been a while since we've had a good one and this week we've had two. I think they are related. In fact I think they are both really about the same thing: toilet paper.
Wait a minute you say. How is a piece of dark chocolate related to toilet paper? That just sounds like you are being gross. Okay, now that I think about it... it does sound like I'm being gross. But I'm not. It's just that I think Mary got upset about the dark chocolate thing because she was really mad that I bought the wrong kind of toilet paper. Not that I did though. I bought the right kind for everyone else in the world who likes to feel clean. Which, apparently, is not for her.
See, Mary likes Charmin Ultra. I don't. I think it's too soft. It's like wiping with a marshmallow. I never feel clean. I prefer something different. Anything different really. So I've been buying different brands to see if we can meet in the middle somewhere. And since Mary thinks the Scott toilet paper I brought home this past Monday feels like sandpaper to her tushy, that would mean we'd need to find common toilet paper ground that is somewhere between Sta Puft Marshmallows and 40 grit sandpaper.
I already opened the pack of Scott's so we can't return it. Mary, being frugal enough to not want to waste already purchased product, has said I can keep a roll of Scott's in our bathroom while she puts Charmin on all the other rolls in the house. I tried to trick her buy replacing the Charmin rolls with Scott's but it didn't work. I could hear her down the hall yelling at me when she found out. She's rather finicky, no?
I shared with her my marshmallow analogy and she didn't seem to like it. "You're a marshmallow" was all she could seem to muster in reply.
Well if I am a marshmallow, then I would want to wipe with Scott's. At least that way I'd be clean.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Okay. With school starting back up next week for the girls, I'm feeling like I'm ready to come back from summer break with a whole new attitude about blogging. I've been storing up ideas for posts and I'll start sharing again.
For the past few months I've tried to unplug from web 2.0 world and get as analog as I could. I felt like I needed to in order to focus my first full summer as a stay at home dad. I read somewhere that there are like 150,000 of us in the United States. A small number, but growing each year it seems. Anywho... I deleted a whole slew of online accounts such as my lens on Squidoo, my profile on LinkedIn and more. Scott and a few others noticed, but he was the one to get me back in the swing of things. He turned me on to Twitter.com and encouraged me to test it out. Sure I heard of it, but I couldn't fathom who would care to read little snippets of info without a full story attached to it. After signing up and playing around a bit I think I like it. It's micro-blogging. That's not blogging in 2.5 pt type, it's blogging in 140 words or less. I'm still in week one with it, but I'm thinking I'll keep up with it and work out how best to use it for my needs. You don't need to follow me on Twitter if you don't want to. You can catch me latest tweets over there on the right hand side of this page. Pretty nice eh? I think that will keep me from posting little tidbits here and instead I'll post my longer thoughts in full blog post form here on this site. Sounds like a good plan to me.
Now for some fun:
Sometimes I get bored. When I do I get to thinking about ways to cure the boredom. Since Twitter was so new to me and I was having fun with it. I thought... hmmm, if I were in charge of Twitter I'd like to know how could we expand our product offering. Twitter is nice and all, but could we target different niches with it? After about thirty seconds or so of brainstorming and about an hour trying to remember how to use Photoshop, I present to you the first Twitter line extension: Bitter.com