Recently by JCB

A Modest Suggestion Regarding the Sale of Wrigley Field

By JCB on Sunday, January 6, 2008

Shawon Dunston Worst Defense Award: To attorney Michael Guinan, who, in a futile attempt to explain away federal income tax charges, said he spent nothing for food on several long yacht trips in the Bahamas because he “speared fish and trapped lobsters and traded with the natives for bread and vegetables.”

  —from an article I ran across in researching this piece, published in the Chicago Tribune Business section titled “End-of-Year Accounting,” December 31, 1985.

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Did you know that Wrigley Field was the first ballpark to let crowd members keep foul balls?

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Late December Meanderings on Unfortunate Moments and Mark Prior

By JCB on Saturday, December 29, 2007

“I cringe at the Bartman references”

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I was trading text messages with my friend TK about the Holiday Bowl, Texas versus Arizona State. You probably saw the highlight of the guy—reported to be coach Mack Brown’s son-in-law, Chris Jessie—coming onto the field and probably touching the football with his thumb while it was still in play on account of what turned out to be a backward pass and therefore a lateral, a live ball, by ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Not long after, deconstructing the replays, the announcers referred to that other interference play. The one Cubs fans remember all too vividly. Especially those of us who were at the game.

And of course, if you search Google today for “youtube chris jessie” the first clip is captioned “The Holiday Bowl Bartman.”

I’ll admit that I was already thinking about the 2003 NLCS moment, pleading in my mind, “Please, please don’t go there,” even before the announcers went there. Game 6 exists for me not only as a memory of sight and smell and sound—remembering how it was to watch Mark Prior pitch with the will of over 40,000 people within eyesight and millions more around the globe behind him, ballpark smells mingling with chilly Autumn air, and cheers growing louder, promising the ultimate crescendo—but more, a memory of emotion, the utter nauseating turbulence of having some of your strongest hopes dashed in a matter of minutes. This feeling, or its memory, does not leave you.

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Regarding Barry Bonds

By JCB on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I haven’t been following the Barry Bonds indictment story that closely. I heard about it on ESPN when the story broke, and elsewhere on some news channels, and I read a few pieces online here and there. I figured—like most of us probably figured—that our intuition turned out to be right, that Bonds must have tried to cover something up, that he must have not only used steroids but used them knowingly and lied about it, and that the government had finished up its investigation and so was ready to reveal its evidence proving all of this.

The media didn’t help with avoiding our jumping to this conclusion. The familiar refrain was that “If convicted on all counts, Barry Bonds could spend as many as 30 years in jail.” They all quoted the indictment, but never refuted the suggestion that this would lead to a conviction of some sort, effectively suggesting conviction in listener’s minds. Not once did anyone I heard mention that having enough evidence to get an indictment is a long way from having enough evidence to convict. It may be that Bonds is guilty, but regardless, initial portrayals painted it that way.

Last weekend, in any case, I had a little time to kill while drinking some coffee, so I finally read the indictment court document.

My reaction: “That’s it???”

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Photos: Games 80 & 81

By JCB on Sunday, November 18, 2007

I've been catching up on some work—and procrastinating a bit—so I decided to post photos I took at the final two home games of the season. Long overdue, but on the other hand, maybe with the doldrums of winter just around the corner we can all use a visual reminder of how great late September was for us.

First though, farewell Jacques Jones. We were all a little bit curious when the Cubs went after you a couple of seasons ago. You were a streaky hitter, and your arm in the outfield was somewhere between abysmal and awful. But, you had a good attitude, and came through for us with a few timely hits. We all wish you the best wherever else you land.

Also, Nick Cafardo writes for the Boston Globe online that Kerry Wood is on the Red Sox' radar. HELL. 'On radar' is a long way from anything substantive (like negotiations), and little tidbits like this are how unfounded rumors start, and really, Wood is certainly on every team's radar—winning pitchers with 97mph fastballs who are potentially free agents are not exactly inconspicuous—so any beat writer could have written this exact blurb, but of all the teams... the Red Sox?? HELL. Say it ain't so.

(In case it was Wood's last regular season home game, there's a few extra photos of him below. Consider this my anti-jinx.)

On to the photos.

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Roger Angell on Joe Torre

By JCB on Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I started reading the latest New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” section this afternoon, which led with a comment entitled “ So Long, Joe.” Discussing the significance of Joe Torre’s exit from New York, the comment was so well written that I thought to myself, “Man, this reminds me of Roger Angell—it’s really good. I hope he writes a baseball essay this year, and I hope it comes out sometime soon.” Turns out, as I reached by byline at the end, it wasn’t his post-season essay, but the writer was Angell, and it’s better than really good.

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Seasons Ending

By JCB on Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dr. John at Voodoo Fest 2007

We left City Park in New Orleans on Sunday night a few hours after the sunset, as Dr. John was nearly finished. It marked the end of the Voodoo Music Experience festival, but for me it also marked more: the end of the music festival season, and the end of the first part of the semester, prior to the mania of over a month of law school exam preparation. And as we settled in Sunday night to watch the final innings of the World Series, it marked the end of baseball season.

I would be lying if I said I was not a little bit glum to see the seasons end.
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Torturous Series

By JCB on Thursday, October 25, 2007

My friend AMC is a songwriter who recently married and moved to Boston where she is now studying at Berklee College of Music. She recently e-mailed me a few lyrics she started writing this week about being in Boston right now. Of course, with a caveat, as it’s still a work in progress :) The last verse goes like this:

Baseball riot

too much excitement for one night

won't get quiet

til the morning light

but you'll be glad to know I survived

despite the baseball riot, I'm alive

And of course, she hit it right on the head when she began her e-mail, “Sorry about your intense baseball jealousy.”

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Just Like That

By JCB on Sunday, October 7, 2007

I suppose the proper thing to do is to tip your cap to the Diamondbacks because they certainly played well. It wasn't just that the Cubs played feeble baseball--although they did. The Diamondbacks still had to capitalize--and capitalize they did.

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Little to Say

By JCB on Friday, October 5, 2007

We know one thing for certain: the Diamondbacks can hit fastballs.

There is little to say, because there is a lot to say: the Cubs played poorly in numerous respects, and lost a critical game. The outlook is now very bleak. A sliver of hope remains, smaller even still in our heads than in our hearts.

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Out of Rhythm

By JCB on Thursday, October 4, 2007

It wasn’t the wrong move, exactly, pulling Zambrano after the sixth inning. There were plenty of reasons why—on paper—it was probably the right move. But at the time, it certainly felt to me like the wrong move even before it all went wrong.

Baseball is a game of rhythms, and last night, the Cubs stepped out of the rhythm of the game, I thought, a risk that wasn’t worth taking, and they paid the price.

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