Posts Tagged ‘Ron Santo’

 

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

This coming Sunday, Ron Santo will finally be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. It’s a polarizing discussion around Chicago, mainly dividing Sox and Cub fans as one of baseball’s most popular tribal war finds another thing to disagree about. The arguments can be made on both sides, but I’m firmly in the pro HOF camp when it comes to Santo (as an aside, I think one of the sillier arguments compares Aramis Ramirez to Ron Santo, or puts Paul Konerko’s numbers next to Santo’s. If you don’t understand era’s in baseball don’t draw these comparisons).

That argument is old and I grow tired of it.

What I have issue with is the posthumous induction. Anyone that cared about Ron Santo or the Cubs in the past 20 years knew that, for right or for wrong, getting into the Hall was Santo’s biggest dream. Perhaps it was even his mission, secondary to his JDRF foundation. Santo was not a gifted radio announcer. In fact he was awful, and I listened mainly out of necessity (in the car, away from a tv, etc etc) than desire. There was an odd feeling listening to Hughes and Moreland after his passing, it didn’t sound right and it still doesn’t, but that’s because Santo became the Cubs on the radio.

When I see the frequency 720 I can only think of Ronnie. The various phrases he’s known for run through my mind and I think of the baseball related things he wanted in this world. A Cubs World Series win and a Hall of Fame induction.

He got the latter, but it comes too late for him to enjoy it. It doesn’t matter all that much, he is finally getting what he deserved, but it is coming from a place of spite rather than being based on merit alone. Make no mistake, Santo earned much of that spite, he was by most accounts, a dick on the field and could be off  it as well, but the final spiteful act committed by the Veteran’s Committee was petty.

The Veteran’s Committee was by all accounts, the committee to elect fringe players into the Hall. Ron Santo, in my humble estimation, was not a fringe player and deserved the honor long before this cabal was formed. In typical old player fashion, they kept him out of the Hall, but paid lip service to Ron Santo the player in public.

I don’t know what conversations were held behind closed doors to justify the act. I don’t know what they used to discredit his HOF credentials, what I do know is that the posthumous induction reeks. The voting process has become a joke. People vote against players simply because no one wants to allow a 100% vote through. Nobody can be a unanimous Hall of Famer. This is beyond idiotic. I’ve come around on the Pete Rose HOF argument, and I would be fine with certain ‘roid freaks entering the Hall, and that’s a different discussion for a different day.

For now, Ron got his wish. It was long overdue, but knowing the boneheads that vote on such things, completely expected.

[audio http://awmr01.podbean.com/mf/web/pxh9vn/Episode009.mp3]

 

In this episode we absolutely hate on Skullsplitter, talk some Cubs, some Starlin Castro, switch out to PBR, sent a shot across the bow at another show, curb our expectations for the 2012 Cubs season, talk Cubs prospects, lament the Cubs starting rotation, we time travel a little bit, we talk about the Blackhawks recent streaks,  we try to figure out which Chicago coach gets fired next, we discuss what John Starks is up to now in honor of Linsanity, we remember Slam Ball, we have an impromptu Celebrity Basketball draft,  Andy finally starts reading Moneyball, Andy and Raul think the Sox will suck this year, and we do a top ten most misunderstood athletes.

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

To be a Cubs fan is to constantly have your heart broken. It’s an endless tease as you flirt, you dance, you indulge, you bear your deepest secrets, pushing all the chips in. Things look great, your singing songs of joy and celebration, enjoying the free flowing beverages at Wrigley, joining in arms with your fellow fan as a collective is born and begins to hope for a celebration that would rock Chicago to its core.

And then disaster strikes in some form. The team chokes, the Cubs rip your little baseball heart out and show it to you as it still beats. The realization sets in, you are the sacrifice to the goat. You’ve been victimized by a franchise that specializes in it. Your soul is crushed and you’re all alone in your existence as solator de catuli, a constant loop of heartbreak completes its cycle once again.

Next year is our year. Black cats, billy goats, day games, Bartman, bad management, cheap Tribco, Leon Durham, Alex Gonzalez, Dusty Baker, the Dodgers, lack of left handed power; all of these are reasons, excuses, prepackaged ideas that are sold to we the Cub fan as logical reasons for why it didn’t happen this year, and that it’s ok to celebrate the culture of losing that is prevalent on Chicago’s north side.

I wasn’t born into Cubdom, so perhaps I’m missing something, but I was never particularly in love with “Cub Culture.” It strikes me as a loser’s mentality that seeks to justify it’s own pathetic existence by clinging to ghosts of the past that were never accomplished and can only superficially be called great. Yes, some Cubs can be called baseball legends, but the 1969 team has 4 Hall of Fame players and failed to reach the postseason. Perhaps Andre Dawson changed the culture at Wrigley following an awful 1987 year, but again, Cubbie blue failed to play deep into October.

It’s a general rule that when the Ivy goes red the Cubs go away. when the first hints of winter are dropped at the footsteps of Chicago, the Cubs decide to go into hibernation. They haven’t sealed the deal since 1908.

Ah, the years. 2003, they should have won the whole thing, but unfortunate circumstances and powers beyond our realm of understanding conspired to keep the Cubs from winning. It was clearly Bernie Mac’s fault, or Bartman’s fault, someone is to blame! 1984, baseball conspired against us! We lost home field advantage because we wanted to cling to our tradition of only playing day games at Wrigley! Long live the Wrigley day game! Leon Durham’s glove was cursed! We shoulda beat the Tigers! 1969, there was clearly something wrong with that black cat that crossed St. Santo, that was the best Cub team in history!

And so forth. The rationalizations need to stop. For the majority of 100 years the Cubs have sucked. I’m only 25 and I converted. I’ve been a Cub fan for only 14ish years and I’m already sick of it.

Wrigley isn’t a cathedral, no matter what the pandering pundits want to tell you. It’s a quaint, old piece of baseball history that is allowed to go away. The Cubs have never won anything in that corporately named stadium, the last time the Cubs won a World Series they played on the city’s west side, near Paulina and Taylor at West Side Grounds. Wrigley can have a corporate sponsorship. It’s ok, it was already named after the Wrigley gum company. I don’t see a movement to restore the original name of “Weeghman Park.” In fact, I doubt most people even know that it was called that before the Wrigley’s bought the stadium and renamed it to sell more gum.

It’s time for us to grow up Cub fans. We need to stop clinging to the ghosts of the past that are haunting us. They are no cause for celebration. Venerated as they may be, the almost cases of the past need to remain where they are. Theo Epstein is here. The Culture is going to change in both the intangible and tangible. Our Cubs will have an organizational philosophy.

This year doesn’t matter. 2013 probably doesn’t matter either. The Cubs signing Ramon Ortiz for pitching depth doesn’t matter. The rotation being a misfit collection of one Ace, two #3 starter’s and a few #5 starters doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

For once, we can confidently say that next year won’t be the year. Nor the year after that. No more chasing overpaid free agents, it’s time to build from within. It’s time to draft and raise players to understand a brand new Cub way.

This year isn’t the year, it’s all about the long term success of the Cubs. and I’m ok with that.