Everything there is to know about the Chicago Cubs super fan, and master of the cheap seats.


I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was a kid. Since before astro turf. Since before reality TV and Blackberries and SUVs and the DH and $4-a-gallon-gas and CDs that I break a fingernail trying to open. Since Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks. I came out of the womb saying, “Looks like a nice day for a ballgame. Let’s play two.” I’ve got ivy growing on my living room walls and installed bleachers on my neighbor’s roof — where I celebrate each win (103 this year, not countin’ the playoffs) by flashing the big blue W tattooed on my left cheek. (According to the missus, the W is bigger and bolder than it used to be.)


I work, sleep, eat, and watch baseball. That’s pretty much it. Once in a while, if I’m lucky, I play hide the salami with the missus. (During a commercial break.) I think Bull Durham is the best movie ever made, although anything with Diane Lane, Salma Hayek or Scarlett Johansson definitely gets two thumbs up. I say Bill Murray singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley … well … it’s like the opera of baseball. I believe Go Cubs Go should be our national anthem, and I love everything that ever came out of Buddy Guy, Clapton when he was with Cream, Van Halen, Ernestine Anderson, and Mozart. Surprising to some is the fact that, unlike Cardinals fans, I read. Ball Four is my holy bible, pal. I’ve also wolfed down all of Pat Conroy, loved The Cubs by Glenn Stout, and have been able to recite Casey at the Bat since I was old enough to pee. And there’s nothing — nothing — like Ring Lardner.


Early in July, with the 2008 mid-season classic just around the corner, The editors at “Playball Magazine” caught up with super Cubs fan (or perhaps more accurately, Cubs activist) Joe Schlombowski, enjoying a few Old Styles at Harry Caray’s, where he discussed ‘man boobs’, when and why it’s occasionally better to listen to the Cubs on the radio than watch them, and thoughts on everyone from Bud Selig to Opie Taylor.

PB: Joe Schlombowski, thanks to agreeing to talk with us. First question is kind of an obvious one, how long have you been a Cubs fan?

JOE: Since I was a kid. Since before astro turf. Since before infomercials and Blackberries and SUVs and the DH and $4-a-gallon gas and CDs that I break a fingernail trying to open. Since Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks. I came out of the womb saying, “Looks like a nice day for a ballgame. Let’s play two.”

PB: Really?

JOE: Well, no. Actually, I think what I really said was, “The Mets fucking SUCK.” But with stronger language.

PB: What do you think about Barry Bonds?

JOE: All I know is that you look at a photo of Barry when he was on the Pirates and he weighs about 180. Look at him now and he’s Godfreakingzilla. He’s popping out of his uniform. You’re telling me he got all that muscle from protein shakes? I don’t think so.

PB: It could be HGH, human growth hormones. And you know that’s undetectable so far. How should baseball police that?

JOE: I don’t know for everyone else. But here’s what you do with Barry. Call a big press conference, roll the cameras, and make him take off his shirt. Why? ‘Cause he’s 41 years old and he has no man boobs. It’s not natural. Prince Fielder has man boobs. So do Clemens and Randy Johnson. John Kruk had them when he was 30. Big Papi wears D cups and he’s only 33. Anyone over 40 with no man boobs, they’re on the juice. Ban ‘em for life.

PB: I’m not sure how that would go over with the players’ union.

JOE: Yeah, well, they’d just find another way around it. All the old players would start getting boob jobs. You’d have Jason Giambi bumping into Pamela Anderson at Dr. Hootermacallits Clinic in Beverly Hills.

PB: Who’s the better hitter, Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard?

JOE: Derek Lee.

PB: Joe, you’re such an avid Cubs fan, what do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies.

JOE: Yeah, sure. I cook, I garden, I collect stamps, and I go to the opera. My favorite is Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Runner up, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. And I’m a vegetarian.

PB: Really?

JOE: No. Dammit, you’re a sportswriter, don’t be a putz. No wonder all of you believe Bonds. Sheesh.

PB: So no hobbies?

JOE: I work, sleep, eat, and watch baseball. Once in awhile, if I’m lucky, I play hide the salami with the missus. During a commercial break. And the only green thing I eat is M&Ms.

PB: Do you have any advice for Cubs fans this season?

JOE: Keep the faith, lugnuts … and a couple Tums does wonders for those extra spicy brats. Listen, this is our year. It’s destiny. Even if we meet the Angels in The Series, I’m not worried. They’re from la-la land. The Angels. It’s like playing a team called the Mamas Boys. The moment they hear a couple of Midwestern-inflected f-bombs, they’ll tighten up like a minnow in a shark tank. The Red Sox have thicker skin. But they don’t have Manny. It’s like Gilligan’s Island without Mary Ann. Why bother. And the Rays. Not the Devil Rays, just the Rays. They’ve been neutered. As soon as they have to stand in against Zambrano, they’re gonna wish they could grow a pair of those little Devil Ray balls back. I could be wrong. But I don’t think so.

PB: Joe, it’s time to put you on the Budweiser Hot Seat. I’m going to give you a few names, and I want you to say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

JOE: Bring it on.

PB: Bud Selig.

JOE: The best case yet for lunar colonization.

PB: Albert Pujols.

JOE: I think all girls should be allowed to play baseball.

PB: David Wright.

JOE: David Wrong.

PB: Prince Fielder.

JOE: For a guy who wears tights, he’s pretty good.

PB: Ryan Howard.

JOE: Opie, on The Andy Griffith Show.

PB: No, Ryan Howard, on the Phillies.

JOE: Oh. He’ll be able to hit a curve ball one of these days … when we put a man on the sun.

PB: David Ortiz.

JOE: Objects in the mirror are fatter than they actually appear.

PB: Thank you, Joe Schlombowski. You are off the Budweiser Hot Seat.

JOE: Thank God. And next time, do me a favor, put me in the Old Style Hot Seat.

PB: Thanks for talking with us, Joe. Got any last advice for any of us non-Cub fans?

JOE: Yeah. (Gives us the Joe Schlombowski ‘hit and run’ sign.) I learned this at Yankee Stadium last summer.

Joe Schlombowski was interviewed by Playball contributing writer, Dan Swanson.