The late, great Harvey Dent once said:  “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Powerful words from a man who would become the perfect Phantom of The Opera cosplayer soon after.  But to continue my expulsion of emotions from the aftermath of the Cubs becoming a bonafide champion, I recently came across an article that perfectly explains the two paths the organization can take going forward. 

Over on Deadspin, there’s a great piece written by Hamilton Nolan titled, “Congratulations Chicago. Now Get Over It.”

It boils down to the Cubs fans either taking the High Road, Yankee-like, We-Expect-To-Win-Every-Season-So-What approach… or becoming insufferable Red Sox Massholes imbued with the false bravado that comes with ending a ridiculously long Championship drought and acting like the awful years never happened. 

If anything good that might come out of this unpleasant reality I’m about to spend my winter suffering thru, it’s that the Cubs choose the former route.  Taking this dynasty seriously, focusing on crushing their competition like they are mere gnats buzzing too close to their ears is a path I can respect.  It’s boring as hell, just ask the San Antonio Spurs, but this season is put on the shelf, never to be fawned over the following season. 

Dear God, what have I done?  The Cubs have won a World Series and all I can do is write about it.  Fuck. Ok. Next post will be about something completely different.  Anyone got a topic to let me babble on for a few hundred words?  Leave a comment! 

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Worst Case Scenario: A White Sox Fan’s Thoughts on a Cubs Championship

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Well Thank God That’s Over…

Let’s get this part out of the way:  The Chicago Cubs were legitimately the best baseball team in the Major Leagues this season.  They deserved this outcome based purely on every objective analysis of their organization.  The Front Office (Theo “F-You” Esptein, et. al.), the Manager (Joe “He’s been into Wilco way before they got famous” Maddon), and the players (guess what… being god awful for 3 years can pay off if you actually have competent people running the ship; see previous 2 mentions) all came together and steamrolled the entire league, making this postseason run a foregone conclusion since May.

That being said:  This is one of the best (yes, more on that in a bit) and the absolute worst case scenario as a fan of my team, the Chicago White Sox.

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He’s the hero Sox Nation deserves…

 

First with the Bad.  11 Years ago, a most wonderful thing happened:  The Chicago White Sox went and won their first World Series title in 88 years.  And despite what a depressing number of media outlets failed to mention, it really did happen and there’s no givesies-backsies.  Anyway, I digress.  So the Sox have their moment in the sun, things are super duper, and then…

…that’s it.  See, the White Sox went ahead and had a decent follow up 2006 season winning 90 games.  Unfortunately, 2 more teams in the division ended up with more and the Sox lost their chance to repeat.  And that was the end of the Sox brief run as Kings of Chicago Baseball.  At the same time, a little known franchise that played baseball 8 miles north of Comiskey (still the name dammit) named the Chicago Cubs went on a run of mini-success.  The 2007 the Cubs eked out a Division Championship (later on getting swept in the first round).  The 2008 Cubs dominated the National League, got the best record…and again got swept out of the playoffs in the 1st round.  (full disclosure:  This writer was employed by the Chicago Cubs for these seasons.  I took their money in exchange for providing services and got access to lots of great behind the scenes stuff, like peeing in a stall next to Tim Robbins, who I assume was doing the same thing.)

And what were the White Sox doing then you ask?  Well 2007 the team cratered to a 72 win record.  2008, they made a small amount of history having to win 3 straight games against 3 different teams (the last one a tiebreaker won by a Solo Homer by Jim Thome) to make the playoffs…only to lose to Joe Maddon’s (heh) Tampa Rays.

From 2009 on, the White Sox have reverted back to their mid-1990s ways.  Being consistently mediocre and occasionally awful.  What made this period (still ongoing by the way) so intolerable is that the Sox have actively tried to build a winner through free agency and trades.  Suffice it to say, that plan has not worked.  2012 was probably the most agonizing season as the Sox were in first place for the entire season up until the last 2 weeks where a tailspin of a losing streak sent them home in Robin Ventura’s first season as manager.  There’s plenty of awful here too.  That 72 win team fortunately got the Sox their current ace and uniform slasher Chris Sale.  A turd-filled 63 win season netted top pitching prospect Carlos Rodon.  But for the most part, it’s been washed up all-stars (Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr, Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, etc.) steering this leaky ship towards the Bermuda Triangle of irrelevance.

The Cubs, however decided that enough was enough.  The 2008 team, while dominant, was made up of mostly older veterans, guys who were decent players but all on the back 9 holes of their careers.  So when Theo Epstein, former GM of the Boston Red Sox came available, the team wasted no time throwing all the money at him.  He signed up and told Cubs fans what they were longing to hear:  We Are Going to Suck.

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Soon to be modified slightly…

And suck they did.  Boy howdy.  Theo decided to trade any and every player on the roster that had any semblance of immediate value to a team that knew were not going to be part of an eventual young core.  The result?  Multiple seasons of 60-70 wins with a team the Bad News Bears could take down in a 7 game series.  But Wait!  There’s More!  The pleasant benefit of being that bad is consistently drafting high in the following year’s draft.

2013 – 61 wins the previous season nets them Express Men Model and hitting machine Kris Bryant.

2014 – 66 wins gives them 3rd place Chris Farley impersonator and baseball clubber Kyle Schwarber.

You might recognize those names as key cogs of the current Cubs machine and guess what?  They are young and don’t cost stupid money (see Heyward, Jason)

Then 2015 comes.  Bryant and former Red Sox cast off Anthony Rizzo are joined by Red Sox champion Jon Lester and blaze into the playoffs with 97 wins and somehow have to play a Wild Card play in game on the road.  They do and go on to get to the NLCS, only to be swept by the NY Mets (Apu Nahasapeemapetalon’s favorite team).

And then the 2016 Cubs-Stomp-on-every-MLB-team-lovefest happens and what did my White Sox do?  GLAD YOU ASKED.

::inhales deeply::  TEAM ASKS DISAPPOINTING BAD PLAYER TO STOP HAVING HIS KID BE IN CLUBHOUSE EVERY DAY…PLAYER BALKS AND RETIRES (saving the team 13 million dollars, silver lining!)…STAR PITCHER UPSET…HAS PRESS CONFERENCE CALLING TEAM PRESIDENT A LIAR…HANGS JERSEY OF CHILD WHO IS, I STRESS, NOT AN ACTUAL WHITE SOX PLAYER…TEAM STARTS SEASON ON FIRE…RECORD IS 23-10…THOUGHTS OF CUBS/SOX WORLD SERIES BEING SERIOUSLY PONDERED (HA!)…TEAM SUDDENLY IMPLODES…RECORD PLUMMETS… GAMES ARE LOST…TEAM HOSTS THROWBACK JERSEY NIGHT…STAR PITCHER UPSET WITH UNCOMFORTABLE UNIFORMS…CUTS UP LITERALLY ALL OF THE TEAMS THROWBACKS…FORCES TEAM TO PLAY IN NORMAL UNIFORMS…PLAYER SUSPENDED…MORE GAMES LOST…ROBIN VENTURA BECOMES DEAD MANAGER WALKING…ORGANIZATION FUMBLES INEVITABLE FIRING…ANNOUNCES STADIUM NAME CHANGED TO LITTLE KNOWN MORTGAGE COMPANY NAME GUARANTEED RATE…LOGO INCLUDES A RED ARROW POINTED DOWN…NAME IS DERIDED THROUGHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA…NAME GOES INTO EFFECT NOVEMBER 1ST… NOVEMBER 2ND CUBS WIN WORLD SERIES…

::exhales::

Yeah, so all that.  Which leads me to why this is actually a good thing for the White Sox.  And that is any and all goodwill created by the Sox winning the World Series in 2005 is null and void.  It still happened (yes, SportsCenter… I see you) and they can’t take away the memories of that October.  But it’s officially been wiped from the collective sports memory at large.  This Cubs thing is real, like climate change.  I tried to ignore it (kidding, I believe in CC, but you get what I mean) but its no longer just talk.  It’s happening happened.  And now the White Sox are right back where they were for 88 years prior to 2005.  Invisible.  They are John C. Reilly’s Mr. Cellophane.  If the Sox win a game, is there truly anyone there to see it?

So what now?  Basically, this will should force the Sox to choose one of two paths:

A) Tear the team down to the studs (of which there are very few).  Trade every worthwhile player (Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, any veteran making more than the minimum salary) for the best deals possible.  Lose as many games as possible and pray the amateur scouts can find the top notch prospects to build a new core (like a certain blue clad team I remember).

B)  Go all in and actually spend big money wisely (again, not this organization’s strong suit) while keeping your ridiculously affordable core of great pitching talent.  And not getting washed up pros 5 years too late, actual talent that has many years of prime performance ahead of them.

Because this stuff as currently constructed is broked.  Humpty Dumpty style.  In the NBA, they’d call it NBA Hell (teams that are not good enough like the Cavs or Warriors, but not terrible enough to get high draft picks like the Knicks or Kings)  Being mediocre is the worst feeling as a sports fan because ultimately, nothing can be gained from it.  And with a rapidly dwindling share of the Chicagoland sports market, the Sox cannot afford to go another 5,10,20,50 years being overlooked and marginalized.  Pick a lane and commit to it.

Ok, that ends my catharsis.  I don’t expect Rick Hahn or Kenny Williams to read this, but if you do guys…just know that I do not envy you all sitting on that stage at SoxFest 2017 as Bob from Bridgeport lays into youse guys for letting the Cubs set up a reign of dominance in this city for years to come.

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My Brother and My Cubs fan Father, during happier times…

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365 Days Later…

And now for your annual Chicago Gore Post!

It has been literally a whole calendar year since my last entry and that is… I don’t even know what word to use.  

  • Incredible?
  • Sad?
  • Impressive?
  • Depressing?

I’ll let you (you did stay around waiting for another post didn’t you?) decide on that. But for now I think it’s best to recap what’s happened since the last time the Earth was in the same space in orbit of the Sun. 

  • I left off with my wife 8 months pregnant and I’m extremely happy to announce that we had a baby boy!  His name is Thomas and he most definitely inherited his mother’s button nose.   
  • Unfortunately he had to stay in the NICU for 3 more days before we could take him home!   
  • Halloween came a few months later and a Navy Captain chose the wrong time to step into our “Turn You Back to a Baby” Machine.   
  • A dress went viral on the Internet. My poor poor wife insists its Black and Blue.  Clearly, for sane people, it’s White and Gold.   
  • I got a new job!  Still working for the State of Illinois in IDES but now I’m an Administrative Assistant working downtown instead of trekking 40-50 miles back and forth to the burbs!   
  • Easter came and my son crushed it.   
  • Travelled to Milwaukee. Consumed beer. Baby sick. New teeth. Little sleep.       

And that’s about it!  Ok, so I’m a bit biased… I’m completely and absolutely in love with my now 9 month old son and he’s kind of a big deal.  

Sorry I didn’t post much but I will try (ha!) to post a wee bit more frequently than once a year!

See ya!  

 

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Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice

Day 3 of The Daily Post’s Writing 101 assignment asks:

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Song #1 – Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley)

Why would I dare Rickroll my own post?  Well because it was just so catchy, just so viral way back in 2008… it just had to be the song that me and my just married wife walked down the pier immediately after the ceremonies! (yes, I got married on a pier with Lake Michigan on either sides of us… jealous much?)

Song #2 – Harder, Better, Faster, Stonger (Daft Punk)

This song means a lot to me for some reason… maybe only for the fact that it was my first introduction to the awesomeness that is this masked duo.  It was synced to this pretty cool flash video that I found on ebaumsworld in college, riiiight when flash videos started gaining popularity.  It’s just got a great rhythm and beat to it and its also something I came to have in common with my wife as she also loves Daft Punk too! (hmmm.. seems to be a theme to these song choices… lets see what Song 3 has to say.)

Song #3 – Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy (Ren & Stimpy Show)

Probably the quintessential cartoon show of the 90s, Ren Aand Stimpy is one of those shows that you don’t realize at the time just how…. insane it really is.  This of course is the one song that everybody and their cousin can sing word for word (duh… only 4 words!)  and yes… another song that me and my wife (yes! 3 for 3 in wife references! someone’s getting a foot rub tonight!)  (her.) came to find out we share a fondness for once we realized just how dirty and silly the show was.

 

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Writing 101 Day Two: A Room with a View

The Daily Post’s 2nd writing assignment asks the question:

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

That’s a good question.   I think I would take advantage of light-speed travel and zip right over to:

Yeah, that’s pretty much it.  I figured I could use light-speed travel to go off to distant galaxies… go to the far corners of the globe in the blink of an eye… or something else fantasical and wonderful. 

But I really just wanna be home.  With my wife.  And my soon-to-be-born child. 

I want to rest my head on her belly and feel the gentile prods of its feet and hands pressing outward.

I want to be sitting Al Bundy-style, on the couch… watching the late night Sox game.

Most of all, I want to be home because…

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Writing 101, Day One: Unlock the Mind

(note: tastefully copied from the post put directly on The Daily Post’s site, which was not evidently the “right thing to do”.  Now back to your regularly scheduled blog)

Aw hell, enough with the excuses why I haven’t written in forever.  Lets just do this shall we?  I’m going to take part in Writing 101, the June posting thingy on The Daily Post.

Here’s the Day One assignment:

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Ok, I’m free writing.  It’s kinda freeing (ha!) how this feels honestly.  I don’t have to worry about picking a topic to write on… I don’t have to worry about it being interesting, or funny, or topical, or dumb, or worry about the approval I deperately seek… Wait, why am I so desparate (or is it desperate?) for attention when I write?  I mean… i guess i’ve answered my own question right?  Why else do we write?  We are selfish…so damn selfish.  I just need… I dunno… validation that there’s something more to this (sometimes) hum drum existence.  I feel alone in my thoughts.  I want them to get out. I want them to be read and to be enjoyed and I want to create something real!

Speaking of which, I have literally created something real in the sense that I have created a real life human being.  Well, its there in the oven still.  My wife’s 7 months pregnant now with out first child and that was a doozy in itself to do… See me and my wife went thru infertility problems.  You know, how there’s some people who just get pregnant without even really trying?!  Yeah… that didn’t happen for us.  It’s like, quality control for the human race I guess.  Randomness/chaos rules.  Some of us reproduce like goddamn rabbits, some of us get born with lazy swimmers and tubes that aren’t exactly spotless. 

some do.  Some don’t.  And that’s just how the cookie crumbles right?  So we took about 2 years or so… seeing doctors, having procedures, getting shot with needles, taking cocktails of pills that even Whitney Houston would raise an eyebrow at.  Not sure why I took the sideswipe there on Whitney… but hey, crack is whack right?  Anyway, spent about a year spinning our wheels before we met this awesome fertility doctor who… through his magic wand and a couple of implantations was able to do what your intrepid blogger couldn’t.  And I couldn’t be more grateful. 

By the way, technically the day she was “impregnated” impregnated (oops, no quotes necessary, that is actually right)  was FRIDAY The 13th!  SO once our child becomes the next Bill Gates/Barack Obama/Jimmy Smits/etc. and cures cancer/ends world hunger/creates a decent movie vehicle for the talent that is Jimmy Smits/etc.  we’ll finally be able to end the nonsense surround that superstitious day!  Yah!

Ummmm, oh right, what’s next?  I like this whole stream of consciousness thing, I’m just typing what hits my brain and then my fingers decide to hit the right keys in the right order and BOOM!  wORDS!  sTUFF!  i FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE CAPS LOCK!!! ok, there we go.  hmmm… how much time is left?  tick tock tick tock… Ok, i think my time is up… break time is done.  Time to go make the donuts and let the public have their way with me.  Peace out and don’t let the door…yeah bye.

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Can You Skinny Dip Safely in an Atomic Lake?

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So I tried looking up a business that makes Atomic Cakes using the Maps app on my phone.

Thanks to my fat fingers, I am now aware of the fact that such a lake exists. Awesome random find I must say.

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