Category: Cubs

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Unconventional Visitors: Union Turns Up at Cubs Convention!

If you attended the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton hotel last weekend you might have encountered a labor union activist and not even noticed.\n\nYou may have been handed a stylish drink coaster for the light beer you were nursing in between giant swills of the Cubbie kool-aid.\n\nYou may have noticed the baseball graphic on the front of the cardboard coaster that read: “Celebrating 123 Years.”\n\nIntrigued you may have flipped it over, treatment help beverage in hand so as to prevent a drink ring on the hotel furniture, click and read what was inscribed on the back: “For 123 years hotel workers in Chicago have had union contracts.  Sheraton Hotel workers have great wages and benefits.  Wrigley Field Concession Workers have the same Union, and when the new Wrigley hotel opens, the workers should have Sheraton quality jobs.”\n\n“Great wages and benefits,” you might have thought to yourself, your mood elevated with thoughts of sunny, day-baseball games in mid-January.  “Yeah, those hotel workers should have quality jobs.”\n\nAt least that’s what Unite Here! Local 1 hoped you would think, as staff members fanned out over three floors of the Sheraton hotel to mingle with fans last weekend.  They were there to build awareness and support for good jobs for Chicago’s labor force. Continue reading

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2013 Chicago Baseball Wrap-Up

Baseball in Chicago in 2013 was a thing that happened.  It was a thing in the most distasteful sense of the word.  It was as an embarrassing thing you didn’t tell your friends about at parties.  An ugly thing living in the basement that the bug guy had to spray for.\n\nNow it’s all over, pharm for sale mercifully.\n\nThe Cubs and White Sox combined for a record of 129 wins and 195 losses.  Players and team personnel made honest efforts, I guess.  Other than that, the best thing we can say about this season is that no one was fatally injured.\n\nThe White Sox hoped to compete in 2013 by wringing out one more productive campaign from a few key veterans and projecting contributions from some young players who had yet to prove much in the big leagues.\n\nInstead the team was a post-apocalyptic nightmare—overtaken by fire, flanked by smoke plumes, with a ruptured piping system spraying primordial radioactive gook from the bowels of the earth from Bridgeport to Bronzeville.  Charged with subduing the flames was a crew of stopgap White Sox players with boy band names: Conor, Dylan, Jordan, Josh, two Tylers, and a Casper.  They were as ineffective as FEMA after a hurricane.\n\nThough credit needs to be given to White Sox pitchers, they performed well for the most part, including a brilliant season from Chris Sale, one of the game’s great young talents.  Mainly, the problem in 2013 was that the White Sox were playing with half a team.  Our Pale Hose were last in the American League in runs scored and second to last in baseball.\n\nAfter a sputtering start, the Cubs jettisoned payroll before the trade deadline (again) and then crash landed at Clark and Addison like a Bill Swerski Superfan having a heart attack strapped to a hang glider.  In August and September the Cubs played 55 games and lost 38 of them.\n\nFollowing a finish like that, fitted-capped heads are going to roll.  And the ever-stubbled manager Dale Sveum has been meat-axed accordingly.\n\nSo long Dale, we hardly knew how ye’s surname was pronounced.\n\nThis wasn’t supposed to be a banner year for Cubs baseball but a season of progress for youngsters around whom future banner-year teams would be built.  Unseemly numbers from Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney aside, this was accomplished by and large, considering also the development of some high-profile minor league players.\n\nAnd any season the Cubs are able to get rid of Alfonso Soriano (who was traded on July 26) should be considered a success.  Paying thirty-seven-year-old Soriano $18 million annually to play left field for the Cubs in their current form is about as useless as ketchup on a hot dog, or ketchup on a skyscraper for that matter.\n\nThere were some fond farewells at the conclusion of this season worth mentioning.\n\nLongtime White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko exited an otherwise meaningless final game at U.S. Cellular Field to enthusiastic applause.  Odds are against Konerko returning to the Sox next year; he’s a free agent contemplating retirement.\n\nI’ll always have the indelible memory of Konerko knocking a first-pitch fastball into the seats for a grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, which I watched at a bar called Puffer’s at 3356 S. Halsted St.  That establishment is gone now because nearby Sox Park is like a weed sucking the life force from all things beautiful and nourishing that surround it.\n\nSpeaking of ballparks, 2013 marked the end of Wrigley Field as we know it.  Ownership is going to make it into a theme park sponsored by the City of Chicago.  Spilling out all over Sheffield Avenue will be elephants dressed like Andy Frain ushers and small bears on unicycles juggling baseballs while balancing bats on their snouts.  If that sounds more like a circus than a theme park, how about this: a rollercoaster called ‘69 Cubs that takes you 400 feet in the air before dropping you sixty stories into a giant hole in the ground?\n\nAnd years from now, when people are screaming for their lives whilst taking the plunge, all hopped up on Cubbie nostalgia and Budweiser, will they be thinking about baseball in 2013?\n\nNo.  Not one of them.\n\nBecause besides people like that suffering from low levels of brain function, this Chicago baseball season was utterly forgettable, with only this forgettable wrap-up post to prove it ever happened.\n\nThis post will appear also at The Third City.\n\n 

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Cubs Plan (Almost) Approved: “Wrigleyville is being turned into Rickettsville”

About five months ago, best viagra medicine following a public subsidies snub by the mayor in January, viagra usa and Tom Ricketts commented publicly on the need for a Wrigley Field renovation.  Making a classic owners argument, medical Ricketts insisted that the team needed more revenue to meet players’ wage demands.\n\n\”I’m…representing the fans in terms of trying to make sure that we get the financial resources of the team to be as large as they can be,” said Ricketts in February.\n\nCSN’s Patrick Mooney pointed out that the Cubs team payroll had decreased from $146 million in 2010 to $125 in 2011.  In 2012 it fell to $88 million.\n\nRicketts blamed the Tribune Co., the previous owners of the ball club, for bloated salary obligations that were “unsustainable” from an operations standpoint, insinuating that the company was operating the Cubs at a loss with cash from other businesses.  Ricketts was intent on running \”a closed system. Every dollar does stay in the baseball organization.\”\n\nAccording to the article, given the Cubs new self-sustaining business model, they were a mid-market payroll team.  Unless the Cubs could generate more revenue, the team was unlikely to have the resources to pay the players who would bring a long-overdue championship to the North Side.\n\nIt’s a compelling narrative, if you’re wont to believe sports team owners.  But in my experience, anything uttered by a sports team owner should be met with great skepticism.  Because I’ve found that, for all their charm and chumminess, sports-team-owner sorts are really sleazy mega-millionaire opportunists.\n Continue reading

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Save Wrigley Field? Ah, Save it!

If you typed \”wrigleyfield.com\” into your web browser a short time ago, unhealthy hospital the magic internet pixies would have led you to a page with links to information about the ballpark: its amenities, here rules, health and whereabouts.  For a few bucks you could have your photos from Wrigley Field printed here, commemorating that day filled with sunshine and laughter and whiffs and gappers.\n\nAll at Wrigley Field, the only place in seven solar systems where Old Style beer tastes like the sweet nectar of divinities.\n\nIf you’ve checked in at wrigelyfield.com more recently you may have been shocked to find that Wrigley Field is in peril!  “RESTORE WRIGLEY FIELD” reads the website banner, with all of the seriousness and gravity that only all-caps can imply.\n\n“Restore it?  Of course,” you think, wondering if you’d even like baseball if it wasn’t for Wrigley Field, “what can I do?”\n\n“Lend your support by signing the petition to save Wrigley Field!” instructs the website.\n\n“Done!” you exclaim, typing in the information required and then sending it off to the Cubs via magic internet pixies.\n\nA short while later you feel a little embarrassed, like maybe you shouldn’t have been so hasty.  You think maybe you’ll check in with Chicago Sport & Society—‘cause those guys sometimes know what they’re talking about—to see if they have anything to say about it.\n\nWell, sorry fictional person, you’ve been bamboozled by a cynical PR strategy, your emotions played like a ballpark organ, your mind baffled by the old hidden ball trick!\n Continue reading