William Henry Harrison — The best president ever?

For awhile I’ve been toying with the idea of changing baseball allegiances from the Cubs to the White Sox. The Cubs have been frustrating of late (and by “of late” I mean, of course, for the last 102 years). But I’ve decided that there’s simply no way I could ever become a Cubs turncoat. It’s just not possible.

However, what I can do is change my allegiance to my favorite president — naturally. Like so many others, I do admire Abraham Lincoln. He’s probably been my favorite for the longest. I even have a bust of Honest Abe in my apartment. But for years my favorite president has been Millard Fillmore. Mostly just because of his name. Millard. Fillmore.

But as of this morning, I’ve decided to switch. My new favorite president of all time is now William Henry Harrison — the 9th Commander-in-Chief of this nation. My reason for this switch is simple: he was in office for too short of a period of time to really do anything wrong. Who can criticize me for backing a president who was in office for 31 days. The biggest mistake of his presidency might have come just moments after he was sworn in when he gave the longest inaugural address in history. Had he known his actual term in office would be so short, perhaps he would have shortened his speech and gotten to work.

Of course, there are those who argue that his term was short because of his speech. It was nearly two-hours in length, and given on a cold, rainy Washington day. And Harrison ultimately died of complications from pneumonia stemming from a simple cold. It’s since been proven that weather can’t really give you a respiratory illness, but the fact remains, he didn’t wear a coat or hat as he gave his speech. He also happened to be the oldest president elected to office until Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. This sort of tells me that it’s pretty unlikely that his mother was still alive to tell him to put on his wraps.

Basically, I’m backing this guy on the potential of what could’ve been. Who knows? Had he been able to go full-term, maybe he would have been the one to write the Emancipation Proclamation. Or invade Normandy. Or solve the Cuban Missile Crises. Who can really say.

But if that’s not reason enough, he was also penniless when he died. Now that’s something I can definitely relate to. In fact, Congress voted to give his wife a presidential pension. Even better, she was granted the right to mail all of her letters postage free. Sort of the precursor to email, maybe? She should’ve started her own catalog company with that pension.

There you have it. I still root for the Cubs, and now I’m gonna start shopping for a W.H. Harrison Fathead..

The Marlon Byrd, The Witch, and The Wardrobe?

Sometimes I think that names are spelled peculiarly for a reason. For example, Marlon Byrd spells his last name with a “y.” Why? Would it not make sense to be Marlon Bird? It’s a clue, you see, into his real identity. Don’t you find it disturbingly odd that the spelling of “Byrd” and the word “satyr” both have strange uses of that same letter “y?” It’s almost incomprehensible to me that this phenomenon isn’t on the lips of people nationwide. Do I have to spell it out for you?

Marlon Byrd is a satyr.

Look at him when he’s in the batter’s box. Just try and convince me this guy isn’t living in a cave in Narnia. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in love with the addition of Byrd to the Cubs roster. I just wish we’d gotten more half-men/half-beasts sooner. I hear Mister Tumnus has a pretty wicked screwball.

The best Mr. Tumnus picture I could find.

Marlon Byrd — A true man-beast.

Holy Cow!

Today is Harry Caray’s birthday. He would be 93 today were he still alive.

180px-caray_the_gibberian.jpg

Those sentences spelled backwards would be:
Evila llits eh erew yadot 39 eb dluow eh. Yadhtrib s’yarac yrrah si yadot.

Cubs misery spells cheaper souvenirs.

I’ve decided not to attend any games at Wrigley Field this year. At least, not until I can recognize that some effort has been put into fielding a good team. And certainly not while Dusty Baker is still their manager.

Here’s the way I look at it. The Cubs are bad. They’re playing about as bad of baseball as I can remember watching them play. If this was a bad movie, I wouldn’t pay money to go to the theater to watch it. I might catch it when it comes on television.

I’m not any less of a Cub fan. In fact, I hope people recognize how this might make me more of one. I’m sacrificing one of the things I love because I refuse to put money into the pocket of the organization that is helping to contribute to my having a lousy summer. I still root for them everyday. I still wear my Cubs hat with pride. I’m just not going to feed the Tribune Company any more of my money.

Sell the team, Tribune. Sell it to Mark Cuban, actually. We’ll be winning in a year.

Is it White Sox apathy? Or can a Cub fan really be sort of happy for them?

I’m guessing this will be my last post about the White Sox for awhile. They won. The World Series is over. Sadly, so is the baseball season.

It’s sort of hard to believe that I live in this city and am as big a baseball fan as there is but yet I don’t really care that the Sox won. I was really wondering how I’d react to this. As a monumental Cub fan, I didn’t know if I’d be jealous, angry, happy, sad, or what.

I realize now that I’m just apathetic.

No, I guess that’s too strong a word. Because it’s not like I didn’t care at all. I wanted to see them win for the sake of my parents, who both root for them.

And don’t get me wrong, I was pulling for the Sox. But I was pulling for them the same way I was pulling for the Red Sox last year. I don’t have anything invested in them, but it would be nice to see them win it. Oddly though, I could have said the same about the Astros.

I’m sure there are a lot of Sox hating Cub fans out there that are pissed off and angry. I’m sure there a lot of Cub fans who would say that I’m not a true Cub fan because I don’t despise the Sox. My dad is a Sox fan. So I grew up with a sentimental attachment to them. My heart is always with the Cubs, and as I said before, you may love the Cubs as much as me, but there’s no one out there who loves them more. But it’s impossible to discount sentimental factors here.

Ironically though, I probably have more reason to be a Sox fan than most of the fans that have jumped on the bandwagon in the last two months.

I remember going to a game at old Comiskey over 20 years ago. I believe we were sitting in the bleachers with my cousins and uncles from my dad’s side of the family when my dad took a hit from a pigeon square on the shoulder. I mean this pigeon just unloaded, and I was sitting right there and received some residual splashes. I cried like a little bitch. I guess I should have known then that I could never grow to love the White Sox, because they remind me of pigeon shit. But my point is that I was raised to root for the White Sox. But the Cubs were the team that I connected with.

My dad would come home from work early some summer afternoons and I’d be sitting and watching the pregame show with Harry Carey and my dad would ask if I wanted to go to the game. We’d hop on the el and get there shortly into the first inning and basically have our choice of seat. This was before the Cubs fan base exploded in 1984. This was in the days of Dave Kingman, Rick Ruschel, Ken Holtzman, Bobby Murcer, Bill Caudill, Bruce Sutter, Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus. I even remember Bobby Bonds as a Cub for a short time in 1981 (but that’s mostly because one of my first baseball mitts was a Bobby Bonds model). The thing is, my dad was a Cub fan, too. He’s one of the few people I know who is so even keeled and non-judgemental when it comes to any sort of favoritism, that his personality allows him to have a connection to both teams. When it comes down to it and the Cubs and Sox face off, I think he finds himself pulling for the Sox pretty hard, though.

A lot of it comes from my grandfather, his father-in-law. He was the biggest Cub fan I knew and ultimately the reason I grew to be the fan I am. But he was also such an amazing person that my dad, a lifelong Sox fan, grew an affinity with the Cubs based solely on his love, respect, and admiration for my grandfather.

So, although I wish it were the Cubs that just won the Series, I’m not jealous. Actually, not even in the least. I’m no more jealous then when the Red Sox won last year. I’m no more jealous than when the Yankees won any of their championships. The White Sox might as well be a team from Milwaukee, as far as I’m concerned. I’m happy for them, and for my dad. And I guess I’m even happy for my Uncle Joe, who I think might truly hate the Cubs. But alas, we can’t all be perfect.

Granted, this all might be a different story had the Cubs been in the playoffs this year. And don’t get me started on what it would be like to actually lose should the Cubs and Sox ever face off in the World Series.

But for the next year, the Chicago White Sox are the world champions of Major League Baseball. And they deserved it. They looked pretty phenomenal.

Take a cue from that, Cubbies, it’s time to step up and play like professionals.

And in one final note, I’d like the record to show that I actually picked the Sox to win their division way back before the season started. The proof is here in the yearly Negative Waves baseball preview. (Note that with the exception of the Astros, I also picked every other playoff team as well.) I wonder if anyone can find a single prognosticator that picked the White Sox to finish higher than third place, let alone win the division and beat the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs.

Sox fans looting Wrigleyville? Let’s build a Loop Wrigley.

I can’t help but wonder, if the Sox win the Series tonight, there’s no doubt that there will be some overturned cars and looting and such in certain areas of the South Side. But the question is, will there be activity on the North Side as well? I mean I wonder if wriled up Sox fans will drive into Wrigleyville and wreak havoc on Cub fans.

I say this as a Cub fan, but with luck, maybe they’ll burn down Wrigley Field. Don’t get me wrong, I love that place, but I’m not sure I’m convinced that the Cubs can win as long as they play there. Too many players love to come to Wrigley. They love the atmosphere. It brings out the best in them. Why do you think there are so many Cub killers out there? I believe it’s because they get fired up to play in Wrigley so they just end up beating the crap out of us.

Or, it could be because the Cubs have to play so many day games year after year and it wears on the team. Thus, they fade down the stretch.

Or maybe it could be because Dusty Baker sucks as a manager and they should never have hired him back this year.

Here’s my vision for a new Cubs ballpark. It would be built downtown. We might have to take out an office building or two along the river for this plan to work, but bear with me. I’m thinking it should be built along the south bank of the Chicago River, right about the spot where the north/south and east/west Wacker streets meet. Actually, check that, it should be built over the river. Imagine, an entire ballpark suspended over the river like that. Fantastic. What about traffic and parking, you ask? Simple. We build feeder ramps off the Kennedy/Dan Ryan and Lake Shore Drive. Four-lane super-ramps that take travelers to a baseball only parking facility that will be built below the river. A series of glass elevators will be built all along the four corners of the ballpark, so that those riding in them can see into the murky depths of the Chicago River. Similarly, glass tubes holding escalators will serve a similar purpose. These will of course be lit with Cubbie colors and will not only be a convenience for fans, but will also provide a glorious new feel for the city’s landscape.

The stadium itself will look amazing from the outside. It won’t look anything like a ballpark. It will fit in somehow with the surrounding buildings and will reflect the water from the river below. We must remember that it has to be built high enough so that ships with tall sails can navigate below it. Therefore it would be a considerably forimdable structure.

The interior of the ballpark will blow visitors away. Upon entering the belly of the park, fans will feel as if they are entering a secluded rural hideaway. The playing surface will be flawless, of course, the stands will be enormous, but yet amazingly intimate. The outfield wall will still be made of brick and will still have the ivy growing on it. Naturally, the ivy from Wrigley would be replanted here.

And there would be a retractable dome. But it would literally be a dome. None of this silly sliding roof crap that’s going on all over the place. It would open like something out of a James Bond movie. Like a giant Silly Putty egg being cracked in half and sliding open. But it would be totally glass, so that the sun would still be a factor and we could see the rain pouring down. However, if it’s raining with no lightning, the roof stays open. It’s only closed if a game is in jeopardy of not being played.

Think about the possibilities. Think of how this would revitalize the city. Not that it’s losing steam or anything now. But this would also help the downtown area expand to the south and west a little more. Those who live and work in the loop could just walk to the game. It would actually result in sort of a return to the old days, when you’d see so many men in suits at a game.

It would be magnificent.

Sadly, I know my dream of a downtown ballpark will probably never be fulfilled. This makes me sad, because I know this would be a truly fantastic idea.

Mr. Trump, you’re building a big ol’ tower downtown aren’t you? Why not just make this part of it? I’m sure the Cubs will agree.

Since it’s my idea, I call I get free front row season tickets right behind the Cubs on deck circle.

Cub fan and a Sox man.

Last night the Chicago White Sox clinched a trip to the World Series. This is seriously an amazing feat, considering they haven’t been there since 1959 and haven’t won one since 1917. But the side effect of this is that the Cubs are getting as much press for not getting there as the White Sox are. People keep wondering if Cub fans are upset that the Sox are the team bringing a Series to this city. Why are we focusing on what Cub fans think? Why aren’t we focusing on the fact that the Sox are where they are?

I’m a Cub fan. You may be as much a Cub fan as I am, but there’s no way you’re more of one. I cried in 1984 when they lost. I shed a tear again in 2003. I’ve taken pilrgimages to follow the team. I’ve had glorious summer days ruined because the Cubs have blown a lead going into the ninth inning of a game. When the Cubs and White Sox play their cross town series, I’m always hoping the Cubs rub the Sox so far in the dirt that they can taste Chinese food.

But now the fact of the matter is that the Cubs are at home, like me, watching the White Sox. I find it ridiculous that people think that because I’m a Cub fan I shouldn’t be rooting for the Sox. Who thinks this actually makes sense? If I were a Cub fan living in Utah or New Mexico or someplace, then that’s one thing. But I happen to be a Chicagoan. As I said in a previous post, I love Chicago. If the Sox can win this World Series, I’ll be ecstatic. That’s not to say that I’ll have the same enthusiasm as a true blue White Sox fan, but that goes without saying.

Plus, as a Cub fan, I can’t possibly root for the St. Louis Cardinals. I hate the Cardinals. And though I’m intrugued by the Houston Astros, I can’t root for them either. These are two teams who are in the Cubs division, and therefore are rivals. True rivals. The Cubs and White Sox aren’t rivals. They just compete for a fan base in the same city.

I’m sick of this crosstown rivalry thing that goes on between Cub and Sox fans. It’s fine to have an allegience to one team rather than the other, but for god’s sake, why does it seem that so much hate can be spurned based on our team affiliations.

So here I am, in late October, and I’m rooting for the White Sox to win the World Series. If they don’t win, I won’t be that upset. They’re not my team. Let’s say for a minute that the Texas Rangers were in the Series and were playing the Philadelphia Phillies. I’d be rooting for the Phillies because Mike Schmidt was my childhood hero and therefore I became a Philly fan. But if they lose, I won’t care.

Same goes for the White Sox.

Let’s take note for a second that one of the most beloved Cub fans of all time was the late, great Harry Carey. Let’s not forget that before working for the Cubs, he was the announcer for the White Sox. In fact, it was on the south side that he began singing the seventh inning stretch that we all revere to this day. And before working for the White Sox, he was with the St. Louis Cardinal organization. I figure that if a guy like Harry can put aside regional differences, so can I.

Harry 2^2

If he were still alive, I have little doubt he’d be pulling for the Sox.

(Holy cow, do I miss Harry.)