Hey there, Milk Duds, Joe Schlombowski here to point out that Ferris Bueller, one of the greatest things to ever come outta Hollywood — other than that human ice cream cone, Scarlett Johansson — turned 30 Saturday. I bring this up for three reasons: 1) Ferris was a Cubs fan. That one fact, all by itself, shoulda spelled “Oscar” for John Hughes’s, my friend. 2) Take a look at Ben Stein. You take away his Gillette Foamy for a few weeks and you get Joe Maddon’s twin. “Rizzo? … Rizzo? … Rizzo?” 3) You know how every last little thing works out for Ferris, no matter what? That’s the 2016 Cubs, pal.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
— Ferris Bueller
Words to live by. Why? Cuz what you’ve been watchin’ on the green, green grass of Wrigley Field this year is somethin’ special. Somethin’ unusual. Somethin’ that comes along every 108 years. Maybe. So enjoy it. Watch it. Replay it. Breath it in like the perfume of the aforementioned Goddess of Sultry, Ms Johansson. Why? Cuz this is baseball, jujubees. The credits will be rolling on this summer’s feel-good movie before you know it … and unlike Hollywood, you can’t count on 3 or 4 or 8 sequels. Sure the hell is fun to think about, though.
So, I gotta “what if” for ya: What if the Cubbies are flashin’ some long awaited bling next season. One reason to think that there just might be a sequel or 2 is the fact that at 30, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is older than the majority of the roster. Yeah, I know … baseball teams are like musical chairs from season to season. Still, most of this particular team are likely to have lockers here for a while. So if we can keep the staff from gettin’ too greedy (and I think you know who I mean) champagne soaked locker rooms are somethin’ the Cubs may have to get used to.
The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”
— Ferris Bueller
The Cubs are playin’ like Ferris this year; throwin’ caution to the wind; doing whatever they want; breakin’ the fourth wall. And like Ferris, they’re holdin’ the world in the palm of their hands … or the web of their mitts, in this case. So let’s raise a frosty Old Style to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — one of the best movies ever shot in Chicago, and hope we’re doin’ the same thing in November for the World Series Champion Cubs.
You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.
— Ferris Bueller
Hey there, fly swatters. Joe Schlombowski, super Cubs fan here with my 2 cents on the upcoming All Star break’s Home Run Derby. Unless you’ve been vacationing on Neptune, you’ve seen that Jake Arrieta and Maddison Bumgarner are lobbyin’ to show off their power hitting chops by participating. Maybe on Neptune — or Mars or Jupiter or even Uranus — that’s the way they do things, but on Earth, not so much, pallie. (By the way, I most definitely don’t wanna know how you do anything with Uranus.) On this planet, the Home Run Derby is for guys who are relative experts at hittin’ yard shots. Arrieta and Bumgarner? Pitchers. Damn good ones, too, but I don’t wanna see them pulling a rib cage muscle tryin’ to imitate Babe Ruth. Not Arrieta, anyway.
To me, the Derby is like the Miss America Pageant. Now I don’t know about women, cuz I’m a guy, but when guys are forced to watch the Miss America Pageant — and we all are now and then — we agree to it for one reason and one reason only; to see which babe looks the hottest. We don’t really give a crap about whether they can tap dance and juggle at the same time, or can give an intelligent answer to the question, “If you could be a hammer or a nail, which would you be, and why?” We just wanna see the swimsuit part — the part they’re really good at. That’s it.
Hey there, flap jacks. I freely admit that I’m not ever 100% sure what Theo is doin’. Hell, I’m not even 27% sure. But then that’s why he’s runnin’ the best baseball team in an 800 light year radius and I work in a sausage factory. I’m not complaining. Me and sausage are like Bert and Ernie, milk and cookies, Rogers and Hammerstein. But I think we can all agree that runnin’ the Cubs is a better gig, and definitely comes with the kinda fringe that puts my annual Christmas bonus case of red hots on the top of the shame pile. And hey, kudos to Theo. The Cubbies are treating the rest of baseball like a baby treats a diaper. Love it.
But this Shalamar trade with the A’s for Chris Coghlan? I don’t get it.
Life is good, Cubcakes. I used to wake up, slide out of the fart sack and pray to the Polish gods that we might actually win a game. Now? Well, I can’t wait to jump out of … of … okay, it’s still a fart sack (hey, I drink Old Style and eat Red Hots from a Pez dispenser, what’d you expect?) then pay my respects to Joe-Joe Maddon, the Polish god IN OUR DUGOUT, and wonder not if were gonna win today, but by how much. Yep, life is good north of a .700 winning percentage.
But let’s put the present aside for sec, uhm-kay? With the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft starting today, June 9 is all about the future: the stars of tomorrow that will lead each club to the Promised Land.
Or so they hope.
It ain’t that easy, Moses. I mean, who in the wide, wide world of sports can forget Shawn Abner? Just about everyone, that’s who! Abner was the first pick in the ’84 draft, ahead of guys named Bell and McGwire and Mullholland and Charlton and Maddux and Glavine and Moyer. Hearda them? Save for his mother and a handful of pals he grew up playing Whiffle Ball with in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Smokin’ Joe Schlombowski is one of the few people on the planet who remembers if Abner knew which end of the bat to hold. He did, but barely. Point is, first-round picks ain’t a sure thing.
Wow, there are a lot of assholes in the world, aren’t there? On the world stage you got your Kim Jong-un and Vlad Putin (and I’m just scratchin’ the surface here). America’s got the mouth that roared, Donald Trump, and the mouth that lied, Shrillary Clinton. And much, much closer to home — practically peekin’ over the backyard fence — we got Jay Farquhar, the friggin’ Mayor of Monee. I’ll say this, though, the size of the stage has no bearing on the size of the a-hole.
A couple of days ago, Farquhar, while coaching his son’s Little League team, got so upset over an umpire’s call, he friggin’ broke the guy’s jaw … in two places. Full disclosure: I want to personally rearrange an ump’s face at least once in every game, but 1) I would never actually try to do it, and 2) I’m not talkin’ about Little League umpires. Take Angel Hernandez, for instance. If Hollywood made a movie about the guy, they’d call it “Legally Blind.” And … AND … he’s one of those narcissistic umpires that thinks every last one of the 40 thousand fans packed into Wrigley came for one reason and one reason only — to watch him call the game. Idiot. “Angel.” Pretty ironic name considering where he’s gonna spend eternity.
Sorry, I got a little side-tracked there. My point is that Little League is a place where kids are learnin’ the game. This is how you throw the ball, this is how you catch the ball, this is how you hit the ball, this is what you do in this or that situation. That’s pretty much it. There’s no room for Earl Weaver lessons, and even if there was, the worst that could happen is kids would develop a more complete vocabulary. But that’s it. To my knowledge, Baltimore’s over-caffinated firecracker never ever took a swing at an umpire. Farquhar? Breaks a guy’s jaw. You’d think a politician would be more diplomatic, right? I mean they’re supposed to be masters at the art of compromise. Yeah, they may be corrupt, they may speak outta both sides of their mouths, but fists are typically not part of a politicians party platform. Not this guy, though. And I don’t buy his claim that he was acting in self defense. What a pile of crap.
There may be 6 or 7 people on Earth who don’t know that name … and that’s a liberal estimate. Muhammad Ali died last Friday. (I’d ask for a moment of silence, but silence and Muhammad Ali didn’t exactly go together.) Ali was a true heavyweight, and I’m not talkin’ about boxing. Life was his sport, and he excelled at it. Referring to his prowess in the ring, Ali used to say he was the greatest of all time. But his greatness wasn’t bound by the ropes, or his indescribable talent, or how hard he trained … not even if he won or lost. Ali was great because of his humanity, which is interesting because his chosen profession — boxing — has often been characterized as inhumane.
My first memories of this man were as a kid. My dad — who at the time continued to refer to him as Cassius Clay, as did the media — would rant about Ali’s conscientious objection to the war in Viet Nam and refusal to submit to the draft. I was way too young to know what was goin’ on. I didn’t know what the “draft” was, or where Viet Nam was, or why my Father wouldn’t call Ali by his chosen name. I mean, when he talked about John Wayne he didn’t call him Marion Morrison. Over the last 50 years, though, I figured out who my father is. Think Carlos Zambrano, only more so. I have to cut him some slack on this issue, though, cuz I also learned about the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad whom Ali followed, and whose teachings included his claim that “the white man is the devil.” Men aren’t perfect. That includes Ali, and my dad.
Hey there, crullers. Joe Schlombowski, super Cubs fan here, reminding you that today is National Donut Day. Or “Doughnut” Day. I’d usually take a stand on an issue like that, but the pure, orgasmic pleasure that defines one of these epicurean delights is all that matters. Arguing over that is like arguing over whether an ump missed a call cuz he forgot his white cane or his seeing eye dog. Anyway, today you should honor the little powdered or glazed or old fashioned wheels of pleasure by consuming as many as possible. In my case that would be just enough to not quite ruin my appetite for a few game day Chicago dogs. Not that the Snakes tend to upset my stomach like, say, the Mets do, but I also gotta think about my Schlombowskish figure.
Anyway, the whole reason I bring up Donut (or Doughnut) Day in the first place is cuz, so far this year, the Cubs have dished out 363 zeros to opposing teams. That’s 363 innings that the long, long line of highly-paid, bat-flippin’, best-on-planet-Earth Major League hitters have been stuffed by our staff and the marauding defense that hunts down and destroys anything they accidentally get their bats on. 363 zeros in the box score. 363 donuts (or doughnuts). Call ’em what you will — zeros, goose eggs, ohs, whatever — while Cubs bats have been channeling Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Willy Mays all rolled into one three-headed monster of ka-boom, our defense has been handing out donuts (or doughnuts) like it’s some kinda Good Samaritan thing.
You know how one of the traditions at Wrigley is throwin’ any opposition’s dingers back, like they’re contaminated (which they are)? Well, I’m thinkin’ that today we pelt the Snakes with donuts (or doughnuts) every inning they get zeroed. What do you say, Chicago?