Hey there, pool cues. As you know, the Cubbies logged their 9th straight win yesterday. Nine. Three times three. The square root of 81. The number of planets in our solar system. (Yeah, yeah, everybody heard about Pluto gettin’ demoted to “really big ice cube” status, but lemme tell you somethin’: I don’t give a crispy crap what National Geographic says … Pluto is still a planet in the Schlombowski solar system, pal. I think they only said that cuz they were tryin’ to sell magazines. That’s it. Besides, if any celestial body deserved to be nixed, it’s Uranus.) Anyway, like I was sayin’, we posted number 9 yesterday, and that, my friend, is a pretty long streak. It’s not 10, but 10 is cliché. Don’t get me wrong … I like 10. And today, when we get there, I’ll totally disavow any knowledge of 9. But there’s something a little too Alexander Hamiltonish about 10, don’t you think? Furthermore, everybody rides the 10 bandwagon. Hell, I’ll be right up front on it myself! People like 10. Maybe cuz it’s a nice round number. Maybe cuz it represents perfection. Or maybe, just maybe, cuz of Bo Derek. I know that’s a lost reference on anyone under 50, but I’ll tell ya … You wanna talk about heavenly bodies? Bo Derek is one you wanna land on and explore, my friend.
Anyway, as a non-conformist (Sister Mary Elizabeth used to call me a hellion and a rebel, but I know she meant non-conformist) … anyway, as someone who likes to up the down staircase, and because, as I already mentioned, the Cubs are ridin’ a 9 game winning streak, I wanna Sesame Street the number 9.
Why 9 is a good number:
1 Baseball games have 9 innings — more if you go extra innings, fewer if you get rained out. But unless Rob Womanfred institutes 7 inning games to speed things up (a moronic idea of Donald Trumpian proportions), I think we can agree that ballgames are 9 inning affairs.
2 You got 9 guys on each side. Actually there are a lot more than that, but only 9 in the line up at any one time. Unless were talkin’ that sissy DH kinda baseball they play in the American League. That makes it 10 a side. Which is yet another reason why the DH is an abomination whose sole purpose is to give a job to fat guys with no glove. Pathetic. Real baseball has pitchers who hit, so I’m stickin’ with 9.
3 Ted Williams, Roger Maris, Bill Mazeroski, Graig Nettles, Matt Williams, Enos Slaughter, Minnie Minoso, and the straw that stirs the drink — Reggie Jackson — all wore number 9. Yes, Jackson wore it until he went to the dark side. Nettles already had it. Doesn’t really matter, though. You could take everyone off this list except for Ted and the number 9 would still be one of the greatest.
4 The first World Series, in 1903, was a best-of-nine affair arranged between the champions of the older, and I might add, better National League (founded in 1876) and the American League. Of course leave it to the Pirates to blow a Series they were favored to win. The Boston Pilgrims upset Pittsburgh, 5 games to 3.
5 There are usually 9 Justices on the Supreme Court. Not right now cuz Scalia passed, but normally you got 9 so you don’t have stuff endin’ in a tie. Ties suck. I would think that even Bud Selig has learned that lesson by now.
6 There are 9 months in the average human pregnancy. That’s a pretty good 9. I mean we got billions of people on this planet so it’s workin’ pretty well. Yeah, some of ’em are jaggoffs and/or root for the Mets, and probably shoulda baked longer or somethin’. But overall, I’d say that 9 has worked out.
7 Two words: Nine Ball. Rackin’ up the resin at Wrigleyville North with a couple of buddies and a pitcher of Old Style is pretty high in the male bonding line up. Although now that the Cubs have turned into an actual Major League baseball team, and nobody leaves the ballpark ’til the last out is in the books, it’s way tougher to get in. Makes the missus happy, though.
8 It’s been 108 years since the Cubbies won the Series. But I hasten to point out that 108 is evenly divisible by 9. Twelve times, to be exact. And 12 happens to be the number of months in a year. And this year belongs to the friggin’ Chicago Cubs, my friend. You DO see how the dots connect, right? 108 years; 9 fits into 108 twelve times; 12 is the number of months in a year; this year is ours. Sister Mary Elizabeth woulda said that’s Schlombowski logic. Makes perfect sense to me, though.
Why 9 ain’t such a good number:
1 Cats have 9 lives. I have seen a few road kills in my day, though. Kinda hard to imagine the fury bundle of indifference gettin’ up from bein’ Wiley Coyote’d into the asphalt. It’s fair to say I’m not a cat person. Cats treat you like you’re the pet. And they stink. Walk into someone’s house and you know right away if they got a cat or not. Plus, if it weren’t for cats, there’d be no cat ladies — 70 year old former librarians livin’ with 43 felines and wearin’ an ugly print bathrobe 24/7. And, of course, there’s the friggin’ cat curse at Wrigley. My blood pressure goes ballistic just thinkin’ about it. Cats havin’ one life is quite enough. Nine? That’s a friggin’ horror movie.
2 There are 9 squares in tic-tac-toe — perhaps the stupidest game in the history of history. It’s fine for little kids, of course, but once you’re old enough to pick your nose, you figure out that you can’t win it … unless you’re playin’ against a White Sox fan. (Speakin’ of nose pickers …)
3 Niners. As in the San Francisco 49ers. They misappropriated the number 9 by callin’ themselves the Niners. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I don’t really give a crap about football. But if I did, I’d be a Bears fan which oughta explain what I just said about the Niners.
4 Dante’s Divine Comedy describes nine circles of Hell. I never finished it, but why would I? Bein’ a Cubs fan and all, I’ve had my own circles of Hell. Plenty of ’em. Way more than Dante, by the way. Readin’ about 9 more would be like bein’ roommates with Steve Bartman. Who needs that?
5 Nine is considered a lucky number in China. A lotta dynasties used a nine-rank system in their hierarchy, and it’s a number that’s related to tales of dragons and Emperors. Kowloon, a district in Hong Kong, literally translates to “nine dragons.” Why is all this bad? It’s friggin’ China, dude. Does Tiananmen Square ring any bells?
On balance, I’d say 9 is a pretty friggin’ good number. Most especially when its the number of Cubs consecutive wins. And let’s not forget that Javier Baez wears 9, and he’s one of the reasons that the Cubs will be takin’ home the hardware this season. For those of you who think otherwise … I got a 9 for ya. Imagine I’m foldin’ down all my fingers except one. There’s your 9, pallie.