In my visits to Wrigley Field in recent years, I have enjoyed a wide variety of vantage points.
I had the pleasure of watching the great Greg Maddux pitch from a second-row club box seat. I've also sat in the field boxes, terrace boxes, terrace reserved seats, and upper deck boxes - behind home plate and down both lines. I've even watched a couple games from rooftops across the street. But I had not sat in the bleachers since 2004 - two years before the seating area was renovated and named the "Bud Light Bleachers."
In a 1920 court deposition the Chicago History Museum recently published on its Web site, White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte - one of the infamous "Eight Men Out" who were banned from organized baseball for life for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series - claimed that he and his teammates had heard that several members of the crosstown Cubs were offered $10,000 to throw the 1918 World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
I turned 41 on April 1 and I can't think of a better birthday present than the one my wife, Denise, gave me this year - three tickets to this year's Opening Day game between the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.
I remember fondly throughout my childhood the February day in which my father would bring home a stack of baseball preview magazines.
I would devour those things and have continued the practice into adulthood. All of that reading material has helped me get through those final few weeks without baseball, but I learned long ago that such publications should not be believed as gospel.
(Editor's Note: Sixth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
Greg Maddux is my all-time favorite Cub.
I watched Maddux grow up before my eyes, from a green rookie to the best pitcher of my generation. Maddux, besides being great, was reliable, modest, never made excuses when he failed, and was a great teammate. The team always came first. What was there not to admire about the guy?
Consider me among those who has been underwhelmed by the Cubs' offseason activity up to this point, but it seems that every piece of less-than-exciting news has been surrounded by a silver lining.
22-37, 4 saves, 4.78 ERA with Cubs
(Editor's Note: Tenth in a series identifying the 100 worst Cubs of all-time.)
Tim Robbins played Eby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in the 1988 movie, Bull Durham. Nuke was a young pitching phenom who was described by his catcher Crash Davis as a prospect who possessed "a million-dollar arm and a five-cent" head.
I always considered Crash's description of Nuke an apt one for Kyle Farnsworth, a young flamethrower who teased Cubs fans with his blazing heat and some fleeting success but failed to fulfill his promise because of a lack of commitment to his career.
Outfielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman, 2004-05
.261 BA, .284 OBP, 4 HR, 35 RBI with Cubs
(Editor's Note: Fourth in a series identifying the 100 worst Cubs of all-time.)
My grandfather turned 90 earlier this year.
Pops is no saint, but I have always been struck by his ability to make friends. It's a testament to his talent for relating to others that a week does not go by when somebody in our neighborhood asks me how he's doing or tells me a story about a good time they had with him.
But the fact that he has been a Cubs fan since at least the 1930s has to be penance for something. The man has been subjected to more bad baseball in his lifetime than anybody else I know and has not even enjoyed the experience of watching his favorite team play in the World Series since 1938. He was serving in the Pacific while the Cubs participated in the 1945 Fall Classic.
"Wait 'til next year!" my late grandmother would mutter whenever she'd hear a Cubs fan speak those words. "It's always wait 'til next year with those Cubs!"