Hey there, rice cakes. The Cubs were swept by the Cards yesterday. (Yeeaacchhh! Man, those words taste like a giant turd hoagie.) The reason why seems apparent to me, and it’s got nothin’ to do with talent. Talent we got. Heart we got. Spirit we got. Youth we got. Pitching we got. The mixing bowl runneth over, so to speak, so what in the helllllllll happened over the last 3 days then?
I think most guys are gonna say that baseball happened, and losin’ a few in a row is no reason to call out the National Guard. And I get that. The first two games were close; coulda gone either way. We make a couple of mistakes … don’t take advantage of some opportunities … that’s baseball. But what happened yesterday was a friggin’ cake disaster. It was the baseball equivalent of opening the G-D oven door on a half baked angel food. Pfffffffft. Flat as a pancake, pal. I’ve done that a couple of times myself — with a real cake — and it’s never failed to turn the missus into Mr Hyde. Why? Cuz it’s 100% avoidable, and each time it’s been the result of me positioning my head for a really good view of my lower intestines. (Note: Not to be confused with being a White Sox fan.)
Not keepin’ your eye on the ball doesn’t work out too well in baseball. That goes for off the field, too. And it’s that kinda crapola, in my less than humble opinion, that had the Cubs quietly slinking out the back door of Wrigley after gettin’ swept in the finale with the Cards.
Only they weren’t doin’ it quietly. No sir-eee. In fact, they headed for Miami lookin’ a lot more like the cake display at 31 Flavors than a Major League baseball team. Seriously, there are only two things in the world the color of Maddon’s suit; Play Doh and Lady Gaga’s fingernails. Apparently, this was some sorta theme trip; one of Maddon’s ideas, I guess to keep things lose in the clubhouse. But here’s the thing: 1) They weren’t in the clubhouse. 2) They play a game for a living, and if you can’t be loose when you’re makin’ silly money playin’ a game, then dressing up like pimps ain’t gonna help much. And 3) acting like a bunch of teenage girlies when you haven’t won the Series since the Ottoman Empire was in power is flat out tempting fate, my friend. I think if you’re the Yankees then, yeah … there was a time when you could get away with that. The Giants have won 3 championships in 6 years. They could get away with it, too. But the Cubs? Maybe it’s just me, but I think you gotta earn the right to be colorful by demonstrating your mastery of the game. You win a ring, you can dress like Liberace all you want. But until you decorate your finger, it just means you’re unfocused.
And that’s the point. If you’re the Cubs, it should make you physically ill to drop 3 in a row to your arch rivals. You should be mega-pissed off … and playin’ dress up should definitely NOT be on the line-up card. Neither should posing nude for ESPN the Magazine, or, if you’re a pitcher, lobbying for a spot in the All Star break’s Home Run Derby. I mean really … the season ain’t even half over yet and what I’ve been seein’ is a team — and a few players in particular — who act like winning the Series is a foregone conclusion. I don’t care that they have the best record in baseball. That doesn’t last if they’re not focused, or if they’ve forgotten that it’s been 108 years since they showered in champagne.
It’s not fun to lose boys, not if you’re a fan anyway. And it’s definitely not fashionable. You wanna clown around, play Pretty Pretty Princess, become Playmate of the Month? Fine. You’ll be golfing in October … like usual.
Ask yourselves this: Would Ernie do it? If the answer is “no”, then don’t.
You know that part in Bull Durham when Nuke LaLoosh is pitchin’ naked, and then Crash wakes him up and they talk about it like it’s a common baseball player dream? I always thought that was just a big Hollywood cow pie designed to make baseball players interesting to movie critics. Nope. In fact, Arrieta is livin’ his own Nuke LaLoosh dream in ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue” (coming out July 6th).
Now I don’t have anything against nudity. The missus will definitely confirm that aside from the Cubs using the Cards for a roll of Charmin, I’m at my jolliest when she’s all dressed up in her birthday suit and there’s nothin’ good on TV. And I’ve let more than my share of guys cut in front of me at the barber shop cuz I was busy checkin’ out the naughty bits of the Playmate of the Month. But I gotta draw the line at Jake Arrieta, my friend.
First of all — and this point is so major it counts for 3 points all by itself — Arrieta is a guy. I don’t really give a crap that he has some super human healthy lifestyle and is built like the Rock. Nobody wants to see the J-man’s bat swingin’ in the wind. Maybe Mrs Arrieta. Maybe some of the bimbettes I see swooning at Wrigley when 49 is pitchin’. Maybe the guys over in Boystown. But that’s it. If I wanna see a guy naked, I can look in the mirror. In fact, it’s because of the naked guy starin’ at me in the mirror in morning that I don’t wanna see Arrieta, or Dwyane Wade, or all 300+ pounds of Vince Wilfork pretending their in a Michelangelo fresco. No offense to athletes and their athletic bodies, but as long as the Internet is still plugged in, there’s greener grass. Know what I’m sayin’?
Now I’m sure there’s some sorta Freudian head-shrinker mumbo-jumbo that can explain why one of the best pitchers in baseball felt compelled to pitch naked in the desert for ESPN. But if I’m pullin’ down Arrieta’s pay check, I don’t really need the money. So what is it? I know there are parts of San Francisco where you can just walk around in broad friggin’ daylight without a stitch and it’s ok. Maybe Arrieta is one of those kinda guys. I don’t know. Pitchers are a different breed. Mark Fidrych used to garden on the mound. Carlos Zambrano had to be hauled off the field in a straight jacket with monotonous regularity. And Al Hrabosky? Well, let’s just say big Al wasn’t called “the mad Hungarian” for nothing.
And where’s the front office? You tellin’ me Theo is good with this? Where’s Major League Baseball? Usually orgs like those are screwed down so tight you can’t slouch in your chair without gettin’ fined. Posin’ nude? That’d usually get your naked ass fired. I guess this is a non-factor, though, cuz this particular issue of ESPN the Magazine, along with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (girls, though … really hot ones) are generally accepted … and mostly tasteful. That and the itty bitty fact that Arrieta is pitchin’ like some sorta Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, 50mm Howitzer mishmash this season. In my opinion, though, if God had wanted ballplayers to pose nude he wouldn’t have invented pinstripes.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.
Hey there, moon pies, Joe Schlombowski here. Let me just say that I’m not a huge basketball fan. Yeah, I watch it enough to know Steph Curry is silk in a Dubs uni, and LeBron James is the 6′-6″ basketball version of John McEnroe, but that’s pretty much where it ends. I’m not big on Timex sports — sports with clocks. Of course that means I’m tryin’ my best to ignore what that brain fart, Rob Womanfred, is doin’ to baseball along those lines.
Anyway, I’m not here to pinch a loaf on Womanfred (although that would give me a world of satisfaction). I just think that Stephen Curry, and probably the rest of the NBA, could use a lesson or two from baseball on how to misbehave when it’s called for.
Last night, Curry and the Warriors we’re gettin’ rear-ended by the stripes in a really obnoxious manner, so when 30 fouled out, it was his moral obligation to let loose with a really stupid, childish and inflammatory gesture. Instead we got the Clark Kent temper tantrum, which was about as interesting as a butter dish. Was he pissed? Sure. You could even tell. But that rant which lasted … what? … an entire 5 seconds and including throwin’ his saliva-coated mouth guard, wouldn’t have even registered on the Tommy Lasorda Scale — which is just like the Richter Scale, only instead of earthquakes it measures the magnitude of baseball meltdowns. Lou Piniella? He was at least a 9.5. Billy Martin? A solid 10.8. Earl Weaver? Weaver broke the friggin’ scale. I’m just sayin’, if you’re gonna get thrown out, you might as well make sure they hear every word you have to say, including the ones that Tommy Lasorda was so fond of.
Of course I could be wrong. But I’m not.
Hey there, sponge cakes, Joe Schlombowski, unofficial Cubs weatherman here, reporting on location from the apparent source of global warming; Jake Arrieta’s right arm. The human funnel cloud leveled everything in his path today, taking his record to 11-1; best in the National League. In weather terms, Arrieta’s got some kinda convection thing going; a transfer of some serious heat; updrafts and downdrafts which make for a pretty unstable atmosphere around home plate, my friend.
I’m no meteorologist — and what do meteors have to do with the weather anyway, I’d like to know — but it doesn’t take a guy with a weather map to see that the jumbo-sized WWF smackdown the Cubs are unleashing on the rest of baseball this year is lookin’ one helluva lot like a Cat 5 hurricane. In fact, you know how hurricanes get names like Isabel, Alex, Bonnie … Fred maybe? Well, I’m thinkin’ what we got here oughta go by Harry, in honor of the best baseball broadcaster to ever utter the words, “Holy Cow!”
Lemme just digress here for a moment and say that I don’t get the whole naming thing. I mean, naming I get, but wouldn’t you wanna name hurricanes after people you DON’T like, instead of just regular people. Hurricane Hitler or hurricane Saddam or hurricane bin Laden seem more along the lines of appropriate names for a hurricane. How ’bout Blogojevich? Yeah, I like that one. Maybe Hillary. I’d say Trump, but he’s just a prevailing wind; a lot of hot air but not much else. Anyway … back to Harry.
What’s curious about Harry, is that unlike every other hurricane ever recorded, it’s pretty much 72 and sunny wherever the Cubs happen to be, while just across the diamond — literally, like as far as Robbie Alomar can spit — it’s time to climb down into the storm cellar and wait it out. It’s definitely some kind of baseball version of wind shear mixed with a large Canadian low or somethin’. Whatever the hell it is, I friggin’ love it. It’s beach weather for Cubs fans, for sure.
So, the extended forecast is lookin’ good. Let’s hope hurricane Harry doesn’t blow itself out.
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