Monthly Archives: September 2016


· Joe Sez, News · , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


I’ve been a Cubs fan since before the Big Bang, so you can imagine how, this year, it’s been pretty friggin’ impossible to wipe the smile off my face. I think it’d take a jack hammer and some C4. Or maybe some earth moving equipment or somethin’. I’ll tell you one thing: it’s thrown the missus off, that’s for sure. Why? Cuz until the 2016 wet dream edition of the Chicago Cubs, nothin’ on Earth (or Mars and Jupiter, for that matter) except the considerable charms of Mrs Schlombowski could give me this Howdy Doody face. Know what I’m sayin’?

We got a 19 game lead over the Cards, who are number 2 in our division. (And when it comes to the Cards, I think you know what I mean when I say “number 2.”) We’ve had the best record in baseball since the opening bell — except for about 5 minutes back in April. And right now, we’re 44 games over .500. If last night’s game hadn’t ended in a lame tie, and we’d have finished off Pittsburgh — and c’mon, is there any doubt? — we’d have won 16 outta 22 series match-ups so far, and 7 of those are sweeps. Point is, this has been a 100%, unadulterated, no-holds-barred, cup-runneth-over baseball season of Cubbie blue bliss. And it ain’t over. In fact, to quote Mr John “Bluto” Blutarsky, “Nothing is over until we decide it is.

Not that a post season run is a sure thing. I mean I’m talkin’ about the Chicago Cubs, here. Actin’ like Theo is gonna sprout a snow white Duck Dynasty beard and come down outta section 503 with “World Series Champions” etched on stone tablets would be pretty friggin’ arrogant. It would also be presumptuous and assholian, which would make me a Yankees fan. Quite frankly, I’d rather bathe in a tub of simmering yak doo than be saddled with that misconception. Anyway, I think you gotta stay grounded. Shit happens, my friend. The last time the Cubs got close enough to sniff a World Series trophy, the air was fouled by Steve Bartman. Remember that? This recurring Bartman nightmare not withstanding, I think you gotta enjoy the best season the Cubs have had in everyone’s lifetime. Stop and smell the ivy, so to speak, like me. I’ve been hangin’ out on cloud 9, the Bowksi-lounger dialed in at a jaunty 73 degree recline, enjoyin’ the occasional frosty, perfectly foamed Old Style, and day-dreamin’ about how I’m gonna fit a goat on the Weber. (I figure I’ll have to Dexter the thing with a hack saw or somethin’.) The Cubs are hot. Life is good. Short of the missus bringin’ me a cigar in her birthday suit, I’m about as happy as Bill Clinton at an intern convention.

And yet what the F do I see when I flip on Baseball Tonight or SportsCenter?! Is it the Cubs? No. It’s Adam Effing Jones playin’ the race card! Callin’ baseball a White sport! Jesus, Mary and Joseph Maddon … Talk about bitin’ the hand that feeds you. That’s like a friggin’ great white shark, pal. Jones is rakin’ in $16 million this year, and talkin’ about white privilege. And droppin’ grenades like 8% of ballplayers are black. Yeah? What about the Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans? That’s more like 40% people of color. When is Jones gonna talk about black versus brown versus every shade in between? They don’t count? Sheesh. If I said somethin’ like that I’d have the nightly news parked on my lawn. Not only is all this crap takin’ away from the real story of the 2016 baseball season — the Cubs — it’s not even one of baseball’s biggest problems. Race? Really? Are you friggin’ KIDDING me? How ’bout declining attendance, nobody playin’ Little League, rules changes that are dialin’ up the wuss factor … If you’re gonna go all Reverend Wright on us, Mr Jones, pick a real problem. And by the way, if you can figure out how to get Cam Newton, LeGarrett Blount, and Derrell Rivas to play baseball instead of football, bring it the F on! Baseball WANTS those guys! Especially if they end up on the north side of Chicago. You wanna make a difference? Drop one of your sermons on the LeBron Jameses and Antonio Browns of the world that gets ’em to choose a diamond over hardwood or a gridiron.

And then there’s Mr Colin Bench-Me-But-I’m-Still-Gonna-Figure-Out-How-To-Get-On-The-Cover-Of-Time-Magazine Kaepernick. Are you kiddin’ me? I’m clicking around the channels lookin’ for stories about what swamp creature from the Everglades Joe Maddon has brought into the Cubbies locker room to lighten the mood, and I get Colin Kaepernick takin’ a knee during the playing of our National Anthem. Hey, it’s a free country, great, but Colin, write an F-ing op ed piece in the New York Times. DON’T TRED ON MY FLAG. Especially when you’re usin’ $100 bills for toilet paper. Yeah, we have problems, and you donatin’ a million bucks to help is a big deal in my book. Lord knows I can’t do that. But seriously, crappin’ on the stars and stripes just pisses people off (just in case you couldn’t tell). And one more thing … The cover of Time Magazine. Keeeee-ryst. I’ll tell you who should be on the cover of Time friggin’ Magazine. General Douglas MacArthur, that’s who! John Freaking Glenn! Mother Theresa! I’ll tell you who should NOT be on the cover of Time Magazine: NOT a toll collector on the New Jersey turn pike! NOT a pilates instructor from Austin Texas. NOT someone who says the droplets on their windshield formed a perfect likeness of Elvis. Not ANYONE connected with the I. F-ing R.S. And MOST importantly … NOT A SECOND STRING QUARTERBACK who throws as many interceptions as he does touchdowns.

This fall should be about the CHICAGO F-ING CUBS! I want Kris Bryant on the cover of Time Magazine. Kaepernick throws passes at 47 miles per hour. Aroldis Chapman throws the cheese at 105 miles per hour. I want Aroldis Chapman on the cover of Time. You hear me Time Warner?! Put Aroldis Chapman or Kris Byrant or Jon Lester or Joe Maddon on the cover. (But wait until we win the Series please, I don’t want you bubble brains to jinx it. If you get stuck for ideas (Does the Barbie cover ring a bell?) I’m sure the Sports Illustrated guys could send you a swimsuit model or two.)

So, is baseball a white man’s game? NO, IT’S NOT YOU STUPID PUTZ. Is Big Papi white? Is Felix Hernandez white? Is Theo Epstein comin’ over tomorrow to wash my car? Is Giselle tryin’ to make ends meet by workin’ as a waitress at Denny’s? NO is the answer. NO! You hear me, Mr Adam Jones? The Cubs are 19 games ahead of the Cardinals. THAT SHOULD BE THE F-ING HEADLINE.

Alright, I gotta go open another can of my blood pressure medicine. Cheers.



· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez ·


Hey there, oven mitts. I know I’ve said before that I don’t believe in countin’ billy goats before they’re bar-b-cued, but I also believe in bein’ prepared. Soooo … just in case the planets align and the Cubs put an end to 108 years of losin’, I offer the following delectable billy goat recipes, each of which would be perfectly paired with a frosty Old Style. And some of that melted cheese crap they serve at the ballpark, too. If you can figure out how to whip up some of that, you’ll be at the pearly gates themselves. Bon Appetit.

Goat Stew. Yum yum.

Curry Goat. Not to be confused with Furry Goat.

Curried Goat Stew. It’s like a combo of the above.

Goat Tacos. Where Mumbai and Tijuana meet.

Jamaican Curry Goat. Ya mon.

Another Goat Curry. How many do you really need?

How about a little Nepali Goat Curry?

Then there’s Indian Pressure Cooker Goat Curry

And Goat Barbacoa, whatever the hell that is.

Personally, I think I’d run the goat through a meat grinder (it’s more symbolic that way), mix her up with some spices and stuff the whole thing into a casing. That, my friend, would be friggin’ deeeeeelicious. Don’t forget the relish, onions, maybe some kraut, a nice hot, spicy mustard, a few peppers and about 3 dozen napkins. Maybe pour the Old Style into a glass. World Champions gotta be a little more refined and all, you know.



· 2016 Cubs · ,


Based upon my incredible talent as a poet, I offer the following. You know the tune.

99 Chicago Cubs wins on the board,
99 Chicago Cubs wins!
Add one more,
Pop and Old Style and pour!
100 Chicago Cubs wins on the board!

That’s it, my fellow fanatics. #FlyTheW



· Joe Sez · , , , , , , , , , , ,


When I was a kid, my dad used to take my brothers and me to Cubs games. Not all the time, but once in a while. Even took my sister once, but she fell asleep on his lap which meant he couldn’t get up and cheer when circumstances called for it. Oh yeah … that was the Cubs of the 1970s — no need to stand and cheer.

Goin’ to Wrigley was one of my favorite things as a kid. Still is. There’s nothin’ like that first glimpse of the impossibly green grass, the perfection of the infield carved from it, and the billowing clouds pushin’ across Chicago’s summer sky. But what sticks in my mind most from those trips to Wrigley was how tall everybody was. Walkin’ in the crowd was like bein’ in a forest of human redwoods. Even in our seats I couldn’t see a thing unless everyone was sittin’ down and I was up on my knees. That’s how I remember watchin’ most games at Wrigley. Makes my ACL swell up just thinkin’ about it.

My dad loved baseball. And more than that, he loved the Cubs. April was the most optimistic month in the Schlombowski household, but there was always a measure of it, no matter how far outta first the Cubs fell. “A 10-game win streak starts today, Joe,” he’d say as he was leavin’ for work. And when he’d get home, it’d be “See, I told ya,” or “I meant tomorrow,” depending on what the Cubs did that day. When they were on the road, Dad would haul our crappy, old black-and-white TV out on the stoop to escape the suffocating heat in our apartment, and watch the games with our neighbor, Mr. Kowalski. They’d smoke cigars and listen to Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo try as they might to carry a team that was neck-deep in billy goat curse. The smoke seemed sweet, and curled up through the screen on the window of the room my brothers and I shared. I’d fall asleep to the sound of Jack Brickhouse or Vince Lloyd, the muffled conversation, and my dad’s occasionally animated and always colorful commentary on whatever the Cubs were doin’, and whoever was doin’ it to ’em.

To me, the quintessential ($5 word score!) Cubs fan was long ago defined by the intersection of my father and the Chicago Cubs. At Wrigley, I’d look up at him from my seat and see a guy who loved the experience of just being there much more than the game’s outcome. It was about the theater of the sport — its ebb and flow, the glacial pace interrupted by periodic moments of volcanic excitement. My father saw himself as a player in this nine-act play —the jester, if you will — the guy in the stands who has people three sections away laughin’ their asses off, and wishing they had the wit and courage to sling crap at the opposition like he did. You know, the kind of icy yet good-natured barbs that sting, but make one smile at the same time. If they gave a gold glove for that, my dad would have a trophy case full of ’em, and a couple of boxes in the garage for the ones that wouldn’t fit.

Dad wouldn’t pull punches if the Cubs needed a wake up call, either. “That’s part of bein’ a good fan,” he’d say. He taught me that you gotta hold the Cubs’ spikes to the fire when they F-up. And they do F-up. Two words: Greg Maddux. I learned that if you blindly defend a player’s on- and off-field brain farts, or an ownership that’s smothered in lame sauce, or hemorrhoid-inducing front office moves that make you lose your will to live, you’re not a real fan. You’re a “homer.” You’re like Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, the guys that do radio for San Francisco — two guys that wouldn’t say anything negative about a Giants player if he stole his grandmother’s life savings and blew it at the track. You could pour their broadcasts over your friggin’ pancakes, my friend. Real fans, Dad taught me, were loyal as a golden retriever, but didn’t act like public defenders when the Cubs play was criminally bad.

Don’t get me wrong. Except for my mom and us kids, my dad loved the Cubs more than anything. Sometimes bowling night would take the pole position, but that was in the off-season. Mostly, though, he lived and died with the Cubs, but did it in a rational way. And THAT, my friend, is what separates Cubs fans from all others. We don’t turn into raving phycho killers when the Cubs lose, and we don’t become obnoxious, our-shit-don’t-stink St Louis fans when we win … actin’ like our team is the best thing that ever stepped foot on a diamond … includin’ the ’27 Yankees.

I think it’s been all the years of sleepin’ in the rest of baseball’s garbage that’s given us some perspective. Of course, those decades of ineptitude (another $5 word score) have given us a lotta heartache, too. But you won’t find Cubs fans, even this year, countin’ any chickens just cuz we’re havin’ the best season since 1908. Giants fans, on the other hand? Crimminy … they’ve been sayin’ how 2016 is a lock for their 4th ring in 7 years just cuz it’s an even numbered year. And they been doin’ it since last year. Arrogance anyone? Makes me glad I didn’t grow up in San Francisco, where they serve crap like gluten-free flatbread, strawberry lavender spa water and fried Brussels sprouts with lemon aioli in their ball park. That ain’t baseball food! But that’s cuz those ain’t real baseball fans, either. They’re mostly new money tech geeks goin’ to games cuz it’s a “cool” thing to do, not cuz they grew up with posters of Mays and McCovey plasterin’ their bedroom walls. Me? My room looked like the friggin’ Chicago Cubs wing at Cooperstown, I had baseball cards of every Cubs player since they were known as the Orphans, my glove was an Ernie Banks autographed Rawlings, and Sister Mary Rachel used to yank my Cubs hat off me so I wouldn’t wear it up for communion.

It’s no surprise I turned out this way — with a blue pinstriped soul and a heart covered in ivy. I was brain washed … only it was carried out in a subtle, methodical way as to not be identified with such a negative term. That’s how it works with fathers and sons. It’s gradual — an almost imperceptible indoctrination ($10 word bonus) that takes decades, and from which there is no salvation. It’s passed along from father to son, like your great great grandfather’s pocket watch, only with the Cubs it’s a pocket watch that, until last year, was more like a friggin’ sun dial. No modern digital readout, no stop watch functionality, no Swiss movement. Sentimental, but not workin’ that great. Still, in spite of the Cubs bein’ the Cubs for the past 108 years, stickin’ with ’em has been a source of pride. Of course it’s been a source of frustration, depression and the frequent four-letter word salads, too. Mostly, though, bein’ a Cubs fan is a matter of character — a demonstration of loyalty and brotherhood, perseverance and patience. Anyone can root for the Yankees and their 27 rings, but it takes a special person to follow a team that’s lived in the basement longer than your grade school hockey skates. Can you imagine the Hollywooders in LA stickin’ with the Dodgers on a century-long drought? Not a friggin’ chance. They don’t even stick it out for one game — typically showin’ up late, leavin’ early, and braggin’ about beatin’ the traffic instead of the slapdicks in the other dugout. Pathetic.

Anyway, my father is guilty. Guilty of makin’ me love somethin’ that hasn’t loved me back. Guilty of makin’ me a slave to hope. Guilty of makin’ me go back to a well that’s been as dry as the chalk between third and home. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why? Because of everything that makes a Cubs fan a Cubs fan — none of which has ever had a damn thing to do with wins or losses. How could it? If followin’ the Cubs was tied to the record you wouldn’t have three million churning through Wrigley’s turnstiles every year. You wouldn’t flip on the radio for a game in Pittsburgh and, based on the crowd noise, swear to Jesus they were playin’ at home. You wouldn’t have 108 years of “wait until next year” cuz the Cubs woulda left years ago for greener infields outside of Chicago.

So, here’s to you, Cubs fans, especially you, Dad, for dyein’ me in the wool. I raise a frosty Old Style to all of you. You make goin’ to Wrigley like sittin’ in my living room with 40,000 of my best friends, and what the hell is better than that? (Except for playin’ hide the sausage with the missus, of course.) Meetin’ one of you, anywhere — like Pauly, one of the faithful I met the other day in Seattle, of all places — is like runnin’ into a long lost friend. Thanks for that. You’re the best. Each and every one of you.



· Joe Sez, News · , , , , , , ,


Yesterday, Padres GM A.J. Preller was suspended for 30 days by Major League Baseball for bein’ a total jack wagon. (Translation: an underhanded, diabolical, deceitful, double-dealin’, duplicitous, deceiving, cheatin’, lyin’, two-faced weasel.) Technically, it was for keepin’ 2 sets of medical records on his players to intentionally deceive trade partners. But ask any GM on the short end of a trade with Preller and he’ll tell ya the guy is a friggin’ jack wagon, dirt bag, phlegm wad, ass hat or some other term fit for someone tryin’ to slip ’em damaged goods.

Not to be left outta the race for the Pants On Fire award, the Padres brass, consisting of Ron Fowler, Peter Seidler and Mike Dee said in a joint statement. “To be clear, we believe that there was no intent on the part of A.J. Preller or other members of our baseball operations staff to mislead other clubs.” Yeah, right. Dry that one out and you can fertilize both the infield AND the outfield grass at Petco. Twice. If there wasn’t any intent to deceive, why the two sets of medical records? Riddle me that, Batman. As ESPN’s Buster Olney noted in his piece yesterday, Padres athletic trainers were supposedly instructed to maintain two separate medical files on their players: one for the Padres and another for “industry consumption.” I have a little trouble gettin’ my head around baseball as an industry instead of a game, but either way, somethin’ stinks at Petco Park, and it ain’t cuz it’s the 7th inning on free chili dog night.

Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. Baseball, for whatever reason, can’t seem to get past its desire to cheat. Not everybody, obviously, but there’s always a few Barry Bonds types lurking in the shadows. What’s unusual in this instance is that Preller doesn’t wear a uniform … which makes him more like Marge Schott than A-Rod in the “gettin’ suspended for bein’ a D-bag” department. This ain’t the first time Preller’s conniving ass has been hauled into the commissioner’s wood shed, either. He’d barely set foot in San Diego in 2014 when the team was reprimanded cuz he broke baseball’s rules governing workouts. And before that, when he was still with the Rangers, he chalked up his first suspension for violatin’ international signing rules.

The guy has GOT to share a bloodline with Hillary Clinton.

Instead of playin’ by the rules, he’s fixed on seein’ how many he can break. And anyone thinkin’ this is no big deal is dead friggin’ wrong. The Sox — both White and Red — as well as Miami, all had dealings with the Padres under Preller’s black ops medical management, and in at least two instances ended up with injured players. We’re talkin’ deals where millions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the integrity of the game. (As if there’s any whiff of that floatin’ around in San Diego.)

And that’s what I can’t quite figure about Manfred’s decision. A 30 day suspension without pay? BFD. That’s like makin’ Preller stand in the corner until the bell rings. There’s virtually nothin’ goin’ on this time of year that requires his attention. Plus … I don’t know what the guy makes, but in today’s “show me the money” world of professional sports, I know it’s a number that comes with 6 zeros after it. Yeah, losin’ a month of it is a lot of money; like 5 or 10 times what I make in a year. But unless the guy has multiple ex-wives or a gambling problem, he’ll hardly feel it. Will a lesson be learned? I think not. His track record speaks for itself.

What’s really great about all of this is that the Padres are playin’ .425 ball and are 20 games back in their division. Hope it was worth it, Preller. Sure doesn’t look like it from my barcalounger.


PS. Now … I gotta get back to celebratin’ the Cubs clinching the Division. I know it was official yesterday, when St Louis lost (the next best way to do it other than beatin’ St Louis ourselves) but today’s walk-off was the icing, baby. #LetsGo