27 September 2007

Wirt$ as in Hurt$

Nothing amazes me more than those people who don't want to speak ill will of the dead. For decades, the man at the helm of the Chicago Blackhawks organization has terrorized and abused his own fans so much that, if they were not one of the Original Six, they would likely be out of the league and gone.

Now, upon his death, semi-positive articles appear praising him for what he's done. Look, I realize that _I_ personally could never run a professional franchise, so my views are, and always will be, from the perspective of a fan. Without totally trashing Wirt$, the papers are being kind by saying that he did things "his way". Well, all apologies to Frank Sinatra, but honestly, Wirt$ did things the "typical Chicago owner way" and that is just for himself and rarely for the fans.

We've not had a Stanley Cup Champion here since 1961. 46 years of drought with only 5 Cup appearances, the last being in 1992 and 1973 prior to that. Only 4 playoff appearances in the past 12 years and only 2 of those since 1997. We're pathetic while new franchises in warm weather win the Stanley Cup.

Look, you can Google online to see all of Wirt$ crimes against this storied franchise and you can read about it in Career Misconduct by Mark Weinberg who was the impetus behind The Blue Line independent fan newsletter sold outside the Stadium prior to every home game, so I'll just say that he was a classic "old money" guy who made a fortune in Liquor, Real Estate and Sport and spent NONE of it back reinvesting in the one thing he owned which impacted people the most, the Blackhawks.

I only would say that if his funeral is to be televised, that it's not made available to anybody in Chicago. I mean, surely he'd want it that way so that it would encourage mourners to show up versus sitting at home and watching it. So if your favorite pub has Judge & Dolph as their liquor distributor (where he used to be like Al Capone) or you're at a stadium where Bismarck is the food provider (owned by him) or you even think about going to a Blackhawks game keep in mind that he did it all for himself and his family and not for the fans.

R.I.P. Mr. Wirt$, I'm sure you were a good family man and an fun guy to be close to, but you've done nothing over the last 40 years but ruin the franchise I loved the most. For that, I can only imagine you'll need to come to some resolution with. He was born in Detroit, so I bet down deep, he was always a Redwings fan ;-p

25 September 2007

Freedom's just another word

I really do believe that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America are spinning so fast in their graves that they could tunnel through to China.

The ever-increasing efforts of censorship in the US are reaching new heights every single day and the people who are supposed to protect the freedom to speak seem to be caving into to supposed "majority" voices.

Look, I think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an ass. He was part of the group of terrorists who took our hostages in 1979 in Iran and I will forever hold him responsible for those actions. But boycotting Columbia University for taking the opportunity, when he was going to be in NYC anyway, to allow him to speak is ridiculous.

We are supposedly a country of ideas and of free speech. To claim that free speech is only for Americans is ridiculous. It is for us and if we're true Americans we extend that right to anyone we engage in conversation. Voltaire's quote that "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" was said BEFORE the Constitution was written so the "free speech" ideology has existed even before we were our own sovereign country.

I think what happened yesterday was EXACTLY what should happen. He stood up, answered questions with preposterous self-deluded answers and was laughed at by the supposed "liberal students and administration" of Columbia. This reminds me of a phrase that my Father used a lot to me when I was younger. "I used to think you were stupid, but then you opened your mouth and removed all doubt".

Mahmoud was seen for exactly what he is. A delusional dictator who touts the company line in the face of objection. This is someone who supposedly understands the west, but is so ingrained into the ways of the Middle East that he can only see things one way, the closed minded, religiously driven way.

So if the protesters, Fox News Channel and all of the other minority noise-makers had their way we would have never seen this leader of a dangerous nation without his clothes on.

Everyone should just calm down and allow people to speak. We've become a society of Jerry Springer shows where you have to "shout down" the opposition as a way of "winning". Often, if you just shut your own mouth and allow stupidity to reveal itself to you, its even BETTER than shouting them down.

That's what Freedom of Speech is supposed to be. Allowing someone to say their piece, and your equal opportunity to protest it, ignore it, debunk it, or just leave it alone and stand on its own two frail feet.

Check it out if you care about our ever decreasing right to speak our minds.

24 September 2007

Magic #4 and #79

So after a Saturday and Sunday where the Cubs won and the Brew-crew lost, the "magic number" is down to four. This means that any combination of Cub wins and Brewers losses which equal 4 has the Cubs clinching the Central division and a playoff spot.

Mary Kay and I were there on Saturday and the atmosphere is that of 2003, 1998, 1989 and 1984. It's happiness heaving from every aisle. It's people of all types being friendly to each other and leaving their worries at the turnstiles (although those aren't used anymore).

Mary Kay was amazing in attending the game. Given that she's constantly tired from the pregnancy and everything that comes with that (frequent bathroom runs and the newly found gestational diabetes), she was a trooper and still wanted to see the Cubbies on their way to post-season folly. Thanks to one of the best friends' in the world, Richard Owen, we were able to swap our season tickets (Upper Deck Box) for his "other" set of season tickets down in Field Box so that MK didn't have to walk the ramps up to our seats in the UD. Saturday's "magic number" was 79, which meant 79 days until Baby Lo's birth.

So it's looking like playoff baseball (again) in the year that my son will be born. It IS only fitting as this kid already has two Cubs jerseys, a Cubs winbreaker/pants combo, his "my first Cubs hat" hat and sipper bottles and other things bought for him. So the only question left is whether or not the "curse" is passed on, or, he's born the prodigal son of a championship team. Either way, his very own personalized paver brick will be bought upon his birth and placed into the walkway around Wrigley for the 2008 season. (Hopefully close to mommy and daddy's brick which is in the Mark Grace section, 3rd column from the right and just under some asian sounding named folks).

The Cubs have gone to a four man rotation at the moment, getting these guys ready to pitch frequently as is known to happen during the limited amounts of playoff games. Given our record we likely will not have home field advantage at any stage of this campaign although the wild card race is getting a bit dicey. This means the first playoff games since 2003 will be on October 6th and 7th. Based on all the talk amongst our season ticket group, Richard and I will likely be going on the 7th (also Bears v Packers that day). That would be game 4 prior to heading back to the other teams' city (if we haven't won it by then).

Hold on to your hats folks, the ride is going to be worse than a roller coaster.

Is the Rex Grossman experiment done?

So after last night's performance, Lovie Smith, still the general said that "Rex is still our QB" to the media about 2,000 times. What I can't figure out is if it's because he's decided to live and die by this kid, or if he's been told to say this from the penny pinching management of the Bears?

Now, I realize that the Bears made it to the playoffs and the Superbowl last year with Rex starting every game, but last season included just as horrible performances, however they seem to have been spread out a bit more than they have been already this year.

You just don't see any fire in his eyes when they show him on t.v. When things start to go poorly, they show him on the screen and he just looks like he's dreaming of being anywhere but right there on the field with the greatest football team in the world (my opinion). His passing choices (those that Ron Turner gives him) turn into adventures and against any defense worth its salt, are batted down or intercepted.

Next week brings the first NFL Norris Division contest of the year with the equally as bad Lions (although they are 2-1). If we can't get our poop together for this one, a change MUST ABSOLUTELY be made in the ship's captain position. With the Packers 3-0 and a 2 game comfy lead over the Bears, we either sheep or get off the pot!

Rex came off the field at one point last night to the chants of Griese!. He knows that the hangman's gallows await if it doesn't get better. Let's see how much of a competitor he is. We have back to back road, division games, followed by a return home against the Viqueens. We could be fighting the Pack for the lead, or basically done for the year by October 14th. It sure would be nice to be leading the Pack!

05 September 2007

What else, the Cubs...

So many things have happened in the last week of Cubdom, so where does one start? The Cubs are now on a two game slide and barely hanging on to the NL Central lead, and one has to think that if they could put together a 5-game run (given that Milwaukee and St. Louis are just as unstable), they could breath a little easier. This brings me to my first point, the "loser mentality" that is pervasive throughout the organization.

I can only hope that with new ownership for 2008, that the house is fully cleaned out from broadcasting booth to ticket management. Last night, Bob Brenly (who is nowhere close to Steve Stone when it comes to color commentary) said that Monday's loss didn't hurt the Cubs because Milwaukee and St. Louis both lost as well. He went on to say that at this time of year, it's more important that days click off the calendar and that you maintain the lead and that "although it'd be fantastic to win and put some distance, it's not the end of the world". Bob, is that truly what you thought when Arizona was on it's way to winning their division and the World Series? He went on to say later that inning that in an upcoming 5 games with St. Louis, that if we could win 4 of them, we'd be in a good position.

Why put so much pressure on the team to go .800 in a 5 game set? Not many teams can pull that off against the crappy teams of the league, let along a team fighting them for the division title.

Look, the hope of a Wild Card is basically gone for any team in the NL Central. At 3 games over .500, the Cubs are in the lead and would be 6 games out of the Wild Card spot, so the only option for the post season is to win the division outright. Every single game is very important and to pish-posh a loss which had our $91 Million ace, lose his cool and look horrible (for the 5th game in a row), is unacceptable. Steve Stone would not have "forgiven" the team and would have been very honest about how a champion wins in this sport. I, as a fan, do not accept the "just stay above the waterline" mentality and if that's what we're getting in the booth; a booth that was created by the current management after the previous booth criticized the team openly during the Dusty Baker regime, then I have to believe that this thought process has infected every person that is in charge of running my club.

Jim Hendry can sit there and make moves and talk about everything he's done to put a winner on the field and to be fair, he's done a TON, in fact, a lot more than I thought he was going to do, but when the rest of the organization is happy with "just getting by", then it's time to roto-root the pipes and change the thought process.

Mark Cuban, even if it means you have to over-pay for this franchise, PLEASE DO IT! For all of the things that people hate Mark about, (his mouth, his brashness, his finger in the face of the old guarde) he is one thing when it comes to sports, he's someone who cares and bleeds the team colors. We can only hope that this is where it ends up as the Tribune and the Wrigley's before them have watered down and milked the fans for long enough.

I made a reference to Zambrano and I'll only give him this one paragraph. Carlos, you said that the fans only care about themselves. 40,460 per game are not there for their health, they are there because there's actually a glimmer of post season play again. Post season play that you've had a part in bringing. You lamented all off-season about how the club wouldn't give you a sweetheart deal. You have it now. Don't be like every other top contract player and now relax cuz you're set for life. I know you apologized yesterday, but seriously, we all know that the club made you do it to protect their image. If you truly want to apologize, you'll learn to keep your emotions in check, pay attention to your coaches and get back to the form that had you roll off 14 wins after a rocky start. Bring us a win, bring us to the post season, and get us to a World Series and all of this crap quiets down and goes away. You have a lot of years ahead of you in a Cub uniform so keep that in mind the next time you want to shoot your mouth off. The people you see support Santo, Banks, Williams, Sandberg, Harry Caray, will keep you in their hearts for years if you just do your job and do it well.

That's a long paragraph telling a millionaire how to act. For now, I'll sign off. It's going to be an interesting month.