I wish Chicago Sun-Times columnist Joe Cowley would stick to telling White Sox general manager Ken Williams how to do his job.
In Thursday's Sun-Times, Cowley, a former longtime White Sox beat writer, advised Cubs fans to not get their hopes up in regards to the North Siders signing St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. He suggested that any Cubs fan who dares dream of Pujols donning a Cubs uniform in 2012 should "pick up the nearest stapler and punch it into your chest to help snap you back to reality."
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."
(Editor's Note: Twenty-eighth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
My friend, Terry, gave me a call on Wednesday morning, May 6, 1998, and asked if I wanted to join him for that afternoon's game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Houston Astros.
So much has been written about the Cubs' 103-year world championship title drought that it has become cliche. So much venom has been directed at Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, club management, and many of the team's players in the blogosphere that it makes one wonder why they are fans.
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.
Predicting which young players will succeed at the major league level is anything but an exact science.
During my visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., I was fascinated by an original copy of a 1952 report filed by Brooklyn Dodgers scout Al Campanis regarding a Puerto Rican teenage standout named Roberto Clemente.
(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?
You don't put together a 103-year championship drought without a few infamous and embarrassing moments. Cubs history is full of head-scratching and gut-wrenching moments. I believe these are the 13 worst:
It was a surprise to learn Friday that longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild has left the Cubs after accepting the same position with the New York Yankees.
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!"
The 2007 Cubs Convention at the Hilton Chicago featured a panel discussion of the 1989 NL East champion Cubs. The panel consisted of seven members of that team: Mike Bielecki, Doug Dascenzo, Mark Grace, Les Lancaster, Ryne Sandberg, Dwight Smith, and Jerome Walton. The quote that sticks with me from that discussion came from Grace.
"1989 was my favorite year in a Cubs uniform," said Grace, who that year as a 25-year-old led the team in RBI, played first base superbly, and went an incredible 11-for-17 with five extra-base hits in the North Siders' disappointing loss to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series.
The Cubs entered September of 1989 in first place, but I was still feeling insecure. I was hopeful that the North Siders could win the National League East but had a lingering feeling in the back of my mind that they would somehow blow it.
For those of you wishing to relive some happier times and for younger fans who weren't around for the ride, I recommend "The Boys of Zimmer: The Story of the 1989 Cubs."
How do you know that you're in a room with somebody who went to Notre Dame?
The 1984 Cubs ushered in the "yuppie era" at Wrigley Field. Seemingly overnight, the ballpark transformed from a slowly decaying, outdated, quirky facility to a 40,000-seat singles bar, a tourist attraction, and a baseball shrine. Harry Caray went from being an old, washed-up White Sox announcer to the hip grandfatherly Cub Fan, Bud Man. The bars that surrounded the park changed from quaint family-owned dives with juke boxes to corporate-owned establishments with dee jays. In the old days, the surrounding rooftops were usually empty and only occasionally would someone be seen watching the game from an across-the-street perch. After Ryno, Jody, The Sarge, and The Penguin, the rooftops became Big Business.
It was great to see Scott Sanderson at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night as the guest conductor for "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Hero: Ryan Theriot went 2-for-4 and accounted for half of the Cubs' hit total.
I do not believe that Lou Piniella will be fired, but I'm quite certain that when the Cubs open the 2011 season, Uncle Lou will be sprawled out on a hammock in the backyard of his home in Tampa, Fla.
Hero: Carlos Silva improved to 5-0 after working six-plus innings. Silva allowed two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four. He was removed in the seventh inning after walking Troy Tulowitzki and serving up a two-run homer to Todd Helton. Silva, who was just 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA the previous two seasons in Seattle, became the first Cubs pitcher to improve to 5-0 since Greg Maddux in 2006 and the first pitcher to win his first five decisions with the North Siders since Mark Clark in 1997. The only other 5-0 pitchers in the majors this season are San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, and Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees.
When 47-year-old Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer pitched a two-hit, complete-game shutout in the Phillies' 7-0 victory over Atlanta on Friday, he became the oldest hurler in major league history to pitch a complete-game shutout. It was Moyer's 234th major league victory since the Cubs traded him to the Texas Rangers on Dec. 5, 1988.