Last night I opened my computer, fully intending to get some writing done while occasionally checking on Twitter to get updates on the Cubs game. Well the game was delayed because of rain but then I noticed the super-bright Scott Smith was having a conversation where he was soliciting thoughts and opinions on how to build a better media landscape in Chicago. I offered my own paltry takes, which made it into Smith’s Storify collection of everyone’s offerings. There’s a lot of great thinking in here, so read the whole thing.
The Cubs take the field in Pittsburgh today for the first game of 2014. While the 2013 season largely eluded me I’m excited about the start of a new one, maybe because this winter was so mind-crushingly oppressive.
But the fact remains that so many of the games this season, as they have been for the last 12-15 years, won’t be played during the day. And I’m sorry but night games just don’t work for me and wouldn’t even if I did have a cable subscription, which I don’t. Too many of the games have increasingly been on channels I didn’t get and, quite frankly, I’ve got other things to do in the evening.
Plus, my contention that a reliance on night games on one of a half-dozen cable channels is killing generations of potential new fans remains firmly in place. As I’ve said before, the fandom of myself and my generation was built on being able to turn on the game on WGN-TV as soon as I got home from school every day. If it was a 1:20 game I could still catch the 7th inning or so. It it was a 3:05 game I could catch it starting in the 2nd or 3rd. So I saw almost every home game and many of the road games throughout my entire childhood.
If you’re making games inaccessible – they’re currently not part of WGN Radio’s streaming either – you’re not giving the fans the in they need. Why would I pay $200-$300 for a bunch of us to go to a game – or even for an MLB multimedia package online – if I’m not already invested in the team and the players?
Anyway, media theory aside, today the Cubs take the field for the first time in the 2014 season. The snow has indeed melted away from Wrigley Field, though the team won’t play there until the weekend. The wind will surely be blowing since it’s April in Chicago, though which direction is anyone’s guess. And a legion of fans will get their hopes up that predictions of it being an ugly year are over-stated and that somehow the ragtag team that’s been assembled will at least make things interesting in the NL Central this year.
The Cubs have an official mascot. His name is Clark, and he’ll make his debut Monday during a visit to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Pediatric Developmental Center.
I was originally going to say something snarky and mean about this, but then realized that was just being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. This is a mascot meant for kids, not professional marketers pushing 40, which is the demographic most of the commentary is coming from. So I’m going to sit back and let this one just blow past me, like many of the Cubs hitters do.
See what I did there?
Congratulations to one of the, by all accounts, nicest guys in professional sports. Always a class act on the field, obviously a mentor to younger players of all kinds and just a great pitcher. Too bad his career was sullied by so much time spent in Atlanta. :)
Maddux broke into the majors with the Cubs in 1986 and after a couple rough seasons blossomed into a perennial All-Star in 1988. After winning his first Cy Young award in 1992, Maddux left for the Atlanta Braves where he pitched from 1993 until 2003, winning three more Cy Young awards (1994-1996) and the 1995 World Series. Maddux returned to the Cubs in 2004 and pitched two and a half more seasons in Chicago before finishing his career with the Dodgers and Padres.
Because I’m just a big old softy who’s a sucker for pictures of cute baby animals born at local zoos and such.
Thought #1: There are many upgrades that are needed at Chicago’s Union Station. But I think we can all agree that one of the most urgently needed is something at the entrances akin to the membranes that surround the Gungan city in The Phantom Menace that dry you off when you walk through them. Someone get on this.
Thought #2: One of my favorite past times while walking to the train station in the evening is counting the numbers of umbrellas that have been stuffed into garbage cans on the sidewalk out of frustration when they completely failed their owners.