It's Opening Day for baseball fans, well, if you are a Cubs fan it is. Today is the home opener at Wrigley Field, which is getting something like a $500 million makeover over the next two years. Allegedly.
Hey Tom Ricketts, can I just get about half-a-mil to invest in Jivewired? Hey Theo Epstein, how about endorsing Jivewired as the go-to website for the best indie music?
Jack Brickhouse - Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Moment of silence.
Harry Caray - This Bud's for you, and another moment of silence. Did you get goosebumps when you read that? I got goosebumps typing it.
The last two series against Pittsburgh and Atlanta didn't count, right? Those were warm up games. Well, maybe not if you're last name is Upton.
Here I sit in my Ron Santo jersey and 1945 vintage Chicago Cubs hat knowing that a championship likely won't happen on the North Side of Chicago this year. But it's Opening Day, and you know, hope springs eternal.
Cubs fans are already saying "Wait 'til next year," and this may be the earliest instance of that phrase since the College Of Coaches fiasco. That's not saying the Cubs can't make what seems to be insurmountable legitimately possible, but they would certainly be the darkest of dark horses to factor in to the 2013 postseason.
Anybody can have a bad century. Or two. I hope not.
Here's a cool story. My father was one of the biggest Cubs fans ever. He used to work with a lot of the Cubs players (he handled their life insurance policies and investments and helped them find off-season jobs) and when I was a kid I got to meet a lot of the players: Fergie Jenkins, Glen Beckert, Don Kessinger, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Joe Pepitone, Carmen Fanzone (yes THE Carmen Fanzone), Jose Cardenal, Jim Hickman, Milt Pappas and my favorite, Ron Santo.
I never met Kenny Holtzman, dad said he was the biggest crybaby in professional sports. Dad actually rooted against Holtzman during his two no-hitters and did a jig when Holtzman was traded to Oakland for Rick Monday. When Holtzman came back in '78 it was the week my dad was diagnosed as terminal. Coincidence?
I also never met Bill Madlock because he replaced Ron Santo. Sacrilege.
I used to get free White Sox tickets for straight A's and perfect attendance and Dad would burn them or give them away to my friends. We lived on the South Side of Chicago, so all my friends were White Sox fans anyway. A few years before he died in 1979 he took me to one Sox game, a doubleheader against the Red Sox, which I remember because of two distinct events:
1. It was Banner Day, and fans were allowed to bring banners to the ballpark and march them the entire circumference of the field in between games. The White Sox had an outfielder named Claudell Washington and apparently he wasn't a fan favorite. A couple jokers brought two banners, one covering the other. The one they showcased on the field at the onset of the event said "Go Go You White Sox!" but shortly thereafter they dropped that one revealing a banner behind it that said "Go To Hell Claudell!" They were removed from the field and escorted out by security. Classic White Sox fandom.
2. My father sat next to me and my best friend Joe Talty through the entire doubleheader on a dreary, miserable day, no less, never saying a word, never uncrossing his arms from across his chest, and complaining throughout the entire drive home about how Comiskey Park smelled like piss and looked ridiculous and downright ghetto with all that white paint. Classic Dad.
I wasn't a White Sox fan but to me it was free baseball, and I loved baseball. In retrospect, I can see why it irked my dad. He had access to free Cubs tickets and we could have gone to any game I wanted to go see, home or away. I guess I was just trying to deal with the peer pressure of living near Midway airport and being the only Cubs fan within a ten-mile radius. I acquiesced for a year or two. Probably not the proudest moment for Dad.
One thing I don't understand however: Dad named me after Mickey Mantle. Not a Cub, but a Yankee. Mantle was his favorite player, that I do know. Still, a Cubs fan naming his first son after a Yankees player? Maybe "Ernie Canter" didn't have the ring my father had hoped it might. Or maybe my mom threatened him with castration.
My father did work with one White Sox player, Tony Muser. I hope dad didn't sabotage his financial portfolio or life insurance policy.
I know he didn't, he was far too ethical. But I am sure he thought about it.
At any rate, before my father died he said to me, "At least in your lifetime you will get to see the Cubs win the World Series."
It's been thirty-five years since dad made that promise and we're all still waiting. Just add it to the list of curses.
- The Billy Goat Curse
- The Black Cat Game
- The Bartman Game
- The Curse of William Canter
And consider this - the last time the Cubs won the World Series radio still hadn't been invented. The last time the Cubs won the National League Pennant was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan.
Still, I'm going to celebrate Opening Day today and hope it doesn't get rained out. I'm also hoping Carlos Marmol doesn't pitch, but that's a story for another day and lots of beer. Today's Monday Mix playlist is dedicated to my father, to Opening Day for all of baseball and to my favorite baseball team of all-time, the Chicago Cubs.
THIS WEEK'S TOP FIVE LIST
Cubs Opening Day Facts
1. The Cubs are 20-12 against the St. Louis Cardinals and 14-8 against the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day.
2. In 1880 the Cubs beat the Reds 20-7 on Opening Day. In 2004 the Pirates beat up on the Cubs, winning 13-2.
3. In 1984 and in 2003, the closest the Cubs have come to getting to the World Series in this generation, the Cubs won their home openers, beating the New York Mets 11-2 in 1984 and beating the Montreal Expos 6-1 in 2003. In 1908, the last year the Cubs actually won the World Series, the Cubs won their home opener 7-3, beating Cincinnati. In 1945, the last year the Cubs made it the World Series, they beat St. Louis 3-2 on Opening Day.
4. The Cubs all-time record on Opening Day is 77-58 with two ties. Both ties were against St. Louis, the first coming in 1911 and the second in 1965 when the game was declared a 10-10 tie due to darkness after 11 innings.
5. The 1969 Opening Day victory came thanks to Willie Smith's eleventh-inning pinch hit home run against the Philadelphia Phillies. I can still hear Jack Brickouse's call: "Deep to right, back, back, hey, hey!" Brickhouse hollered loud enough to be heard in the background of Vince Lloyd's equally exciting radio call in the WGN radio booth.
Smith was mobbed as he crossed the plate by most of his teammates and several fans. Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel.
You just got goosebumps again, didn't you?
THIS WEEK'S FACEBOOK FRIENDS
Cubs Den, written and edited by John Arguello, is an award-nominated blog that brings back old school baseball writing while keeping up with the statistical trends that add depth to our understanding.
The Cubs Den blog strives to bring it's readers the best in terms of original analysis, scouting reports, news, rumors, and other features.
Cubs Den is more than just a blog. It's a community where Cubs fans can get together and speak intelligently about their team and baseball in general. It's a true collaboration of writer and reader and we think that's what makes Cubs Den the most unique and insightful blog around today.
The blog also features great pieces from writers Tom Loxas and "Felzz" and a whole lot of fan interaction in the comments section. I tend to stay out of the comments section, I get far too impassioned. In fact, I can't even read their 2013 amateur draft posts. Everyone wants the Cubs to take a pitcher, but I vote for Clint Frazier, who will have a Mike Trout-like impact on the Cubs. I also tend to temper the value of current Cubs players in trade talk speculation as well. Matt Garza is not Justin Verlander, and I'll leave it at that. But make no mistake, John's readers are very cool and I am the board blowhard, hands down. So I just stay away. Better for everyone's sanity, including John's I'm sure.
I also happen to know that both John and Felzzy have great and eclectic tastes in music, they both dig on the Replacements, and though they enlighten me on all things Cubs baseball, I'd certainly like to think that Jivewired helps them discover new music.
You can Facebook Friend The Cubs Den here but do yourself a favor and check out the Cubs Den Website and blog:
Arguello has been a Cubs fan for as long as he can remember.
As a kid he heard stories about Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, and Billy Williams as well as the Milt Pappas perfect game that "shoulda been." That's what made him love the Cubs (Note: It was a perfect game, and not adding salt on the wound, but Kerrry Wood's 20-K game was a no hitter as well, official scorer be damned).
It also helped that the crosstown rival White Sox were on Channel 44 and, no matter how he adjusted the rabbit ears on his 1970's black and white Zenith TV, he couldn't get anything but a gloomy picture of Comiskey Park and those odd uniforms...were they really wearing shorts or did the antenna need adjusting again?
I wonder if he remembers when the White Sox broadcast games on ONTV?
Anyway, great stories and a clear reception is as good a reason as any to become a fan of the Cubs and of John's blog. And a century of "wait 'til next year" has yet to change his mind. Or mine.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Chicago sports reporter Tom Shaer on Jack Brickhouse, a video that opens up with Smith's famous Opening Day home run. Goosebumps again!
ABOUT THE MONDAY MIX
The Monday Mix airs from 12:00PM to 5:30PM CDT each Monday and is designed to help you get through that brutal after-lunch, energy-sucking span that kicks off every work week. This particular show will be a mix of old, deep album cuts and new indie music with a lot of genre crossover. No Adele. Sorry.
What else does The Monday Mix do? Well, it helps you discover new indie music by combining some really great under the radar tracks with more established songs that were, once in fact, under the radar as well. The hope here is that the culture shock of discovering your next favorite band won't be so enormously imposing if we surround the new stuff with some of your old, familiar friends.
Jivewired supports independent musicians by paying royalties for airplay on Jivewired Radio. Please help us support indie artists by listening to our station and by purchasing indie music. Thank you.
The links on the radio player will give you download options if you really dig on the music and some of the songs are offered for free.
To listen, just press play on the radio widget to the right or use this link to open in a new window that will allow you to listen when you navigate away from this page:
Launch Jivewired Radio
MONDAY MIX PLAYLIST 04.08.2013
01. Lee Elia Rant courtesy of Radio Bloopers
03. Drunk In The Day by Wally Dogger (for Lee Elia)
03. A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request by Steve Goodman (for all Cubs fans)
04. North Side Gal by JD McPherson
05. Pump It Up by Elvis Costello
06. Glad Tidings by Van Morrison
07. Busted Up by The Rplacements
08. Champion by The Chevin
09. Tessie by Dropkick Murphys
10. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
11. Dark Horse by Laura Marie
12. Float On by Jennie Arnau
13. Willie, Mickey & The Duke (Talkin' Baseball) by Terry Cashman
14. Dreams I'll Never See by Molly Hatchet (for Dad)
15. Ain't Messin' 'Round by Gary Clark Jr.
16. Home by Marc Broussard
17. Get Off This by Cracker
18. The Pursuit Of Happiness by Ben Sollee
19. Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
20. Saint Of Me by The Rolling Stones
21. Roxy Brown by Popstranglers
22. Earl Weaver Rant courtesy of Radio Bloopers
23. Winners & Losers by Social Distortion (for Earl Weaver)
24. Jump by Van Halen
25. Go Cubs Go by Steve Goodman
26. Hold On by Alabama Shakes
27. Brand New Kind Of Blue by Gold Motel
28. Stranger by Lovebettie
29. ELT by Wilco
30. Summer Home by Typhoon
31. Give It (Once In A Lifetime) by Lambchop
32. Maybe On Monday by Calexico
33. Centerfield by John Fogerty
34. Milwaukee Man by Hugh Bob & The Hustle
35. Lost Highway by The Replacements
36. Entertainment by Phoenix
37. Long Hard Journey Home [Live] by The Radiators
38. Ready To Go by Guards
39. Road To Nowhere by The Talking Heads
40. Down With The Sickness by Disturbed
41. Enter Sandman by Metallica
42. Ball & Biscuit by The White Stripes
43. Whatever It Takes by New Day Dawn
44. Slide by Goo Goo Dolls
45. Learn To Fly by Foo Fighters
46. Can't Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers
47. Don't Be Lonely by The Bodeans
48. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band
49. Out Of My League by Fitz & The Tantrums
50. Takin' State by The City Champs
51. Friends by Uncle Mingo
52. Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machine
53. Ivy Covered House by The Ducktails
54. In The Dark by The Iveys
55. The Sweetest Thing by JJ Grey & Mofro
56. We The Common by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
57. The Clap Hands Song by T-Bird & The Breaks
58. Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
59. Get It by Buffalo Killers
60. Sun by Two Door Cinema Club
61. Cold October by Escondido
62. The Promised Land by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band
63. Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys
64. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards by Tame Impala
65. Hoka Hey by The Outer Vibe
66. Kids by MGMT
67. Sad Days, Lonely Nights by Left Lane Cruiser
68. The Red, Red Dirt Of Home by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
69. 100 Yard Dash [Live] by Rahael Saadiq
70. Feels Like Home by Stonehoney
71. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
72. Before We Run by Yo LaTengo
73. See What It Brings by Mutlu feat. Daryl Hall
74. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
75. Shipping Up To Boston by Dropkick Murphys
76. Devil by Well Hung Heart
77. Jump Around by House Of Pain
78. New Year by Beach House
79. Crackerbox Palace by George Harrison