Column: A brand new baseball mile marker, a former Cubs proprietor’s legacy and a White Sox flashback for the ages

Memorial Day traditionally has been the first precise mile marker inside the prolonged baseball season, no matter its relative insignificance in a six-month marathon.

In lieu of baseball’s ongoing quest to rush points up, we’ve decided to fluctuate that arbitrary milestone to Might 21, sort of the quarter pole of the season. Coincidentally, that’s moreover the date for this week’s Sunday baseball smorgasbord.

Actuality bites

Veteran TV sports activities actions director Marc Brady as quickly as said curiosity in Chicago Cubs telecasts weren’t primarily relying on the workforce’s place inside the standings.

“The humorous factor is the crew’s file doesn’t play as a lot into what’s fascinating as one would assume, as a result of it’s a actuality present and every single day is completely different regardless,” Brady said. “You can have a very good crew that wins by 10 runs each sport and be boring.”

We gained’t be able to verify that precept this season. The Cubs aren’t constructed to win by lopsided margins day-to-day. Ditto the White Sox.

However Brady’s stage was that curiosity in a workforce shouldn’t wane as long as a variety of the video video games are shut and the storylines are steady.

And that has been the case with every Chicago teams, win or lose. There continues to be a function to watch a dropping workforce. It’s as a lot because the broadcasting retailers, NBC Sports activities Chicago and Marquee Sports activities Community, to go looking out these storylines and assure followers preserve tuned.

Largely they’ve hit their goal, whatever the Sox’s horrific start and the Cubs’ present downward spiral. Chicago has educated followers on both aspect of metropolis, they normally can see when points aren’t working. Apart from the Cubs’ West Coast journey in April all through which former Cub pitcher Rick Sutcliffe went overboard in praising everyone inside the dugout, the asserting teams have been continuously truthful and balanced.

However the competing postgame displays couldn’t be further completely completely different. The Sox postgame analysts, led by former supervisor Ozzie Guillen, normally haven’t any qualms about criticizing supervisor Pedro Grifol and his avid gamers after losses. The Cubs postgame analysts, within the meantime, seldom question the strategy of supervisor David Ross or criticize avid gamers for blown video video games. Exhibit A was Wednesday’s 7-6 walk-off loss in Houston, that features a gut-wrenching bullpen collapse.

Simply take into consideration how Guillen would’ve handled it had the Sox expert the identical pain-inducing loss.

Worst Cubs proprietor?

Former Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell, who died Thursday at age 81, was remembered for his precise property presents and his affiliation with this newspaper. His transient stint because the particular person accountable for the Cubs went nearly unmentioned.

In all probability merely as successfully. Although the Cubs gained back-to-back division titles all through Zell’s transient reign in 2007 and ‘08, his stewardship left so much to be desired. After his $8.2 billion leveraged buyout, which put the company into bankruptcy, Zell put the Cubs up available on the market on opening day in April 2007.

Zell was not embarrassed to say he had no use for baseball. White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf instructed the New York Occasions that Zell was not solely a disinterested proprietor nonetheless “truly dislikes” baseball.

“He by no means would have purchased the Cubs in the event that they didn’t include the Tribune,” Reinsdorf said. “It’s simply one other asset to him.”

Zell primarily handed the keys to the Cubs over to President Crane Kenney, who was the workforce’s spokesman on most points, along with a report in 2008 that Zell wanted to advertise naming rights to Wrigley Area.

“This factor has obtained a bit of lifetime of its personal,” Kenney said on the ‘08 Cubs Conference. “(Zell) is taking a contemporary have a look at the whole lot. As he asks questions, I’m accountable to provide him solutions. When he asks ‘What are we getting paid for the naming rights as we speak?’ I inform him ‘Nothing.’ He stated: ‘What are they price?’ ”

Kenney said he reeled off numbers of quite a few teams’ presents.

“I give him that info, and (Zell) says, ‘Properly, I can do fairly good math right here — $400 million appears to be the benchmark, and also you’re telling us we’re being paid nothing?’”

Zell wound up conserving the Wrigley title and in 2009 supplied the Cubs, Wrigley Area and their share of Comcast SportsInternet to the Ricketts family for spherical $900 million. Kenney wound up being retained by the Ricketts family after working the search committee and spearheaded the renovation of Wrigley Area.

Based on Forbes, the Cubs are worth $4.1 billion.

Sunday morning flashback

Fifty years previously this week, on Might 20, 1973, the Sox had one of many worthwhile promotions inside the historic previous of Chicago sports activities actions — Bat Day at earlier Comiskey Park.

A doc crowd listed at 55,555 beloved a doubleheader between the Sox and Minnesota Twins, with knuckleballer Wilbur Wooden incomes his tenth win whereas pitching on two days’ leisure inside the opener. Some 25,000 kids aged 14 and beneath took dwelling a Dick Allen signature bat, whereas an entire bunch further went dwelling unhappy after arriving too late.

The Sox had underestimated the popularity of Allen and free bats and have been compelled to shut off ticket product sales an hour sooner than the first recreation after the entire bats had been distributed. Administration refunded tickets for 2,608 followers who obtained right here to the park and decided to depart after they discovered there have been no further bats. “Though they obtained their a reimbursement, numerous them left the park carrying the free bats,” the Tribune reported.

The attendance full nearly undoubtedly was fictitious, with the workforce preferring to spherical up the amount as a lot as 55,555 to make it memorable.

There have been no tales of any bat-related accidents, which undoubtedly would have been the case if teams nonetheless scheduled bat giveaways.

Revisionist historic previous

Fellow Chicago baseball scribes Bruce Miles and Jesse Rogers uncover considered one of many longtime myths of Cubs historic previous of their new e e book, “The Franchise,” a curated historic previous of the Cubs. One chapter is devoted to the false narrative that the 1984 Cubs’ loss to the San Diego Padres inside the best-of-five Nationwide League Championship Sequence was partly the outcomes of MLB rewarding the Padres a further dwelling recreation because of lack of lights at Wrigley Area.

A number of media retailers — along with the Tribune — and former Cubs avid gamers helped unfold that narrative by the years, and many followers nonetheless seem to think about it. The authors cite quite a few examples of the false narrative, along with a Harper’s Journal story that often called the Cubs’ alleged lack of home-field profit to the Padres “an ideal miscarriage of justice.”

The very fact was the Padres, as a result of the NL West champion, already had home-field profit inside the NLCS, which alternated in lately between the two divisions. The Cubs would’ve ceded home-field profit in direction of the Detroit Tigers inside the World Sequence had they superior.

It was the Nationwide League’s 12 months to get 4 dwelling video video games to the American League’s three. However MLB, wanting further prime-time video video games for scores, decided in the middle of the season that the Cubs would solely get three World Sequence dwelling video video games within the occasion that they superior.

The Cubs didn’t, making it a moot stage.

“The one miscarriage of justice right here was that executed to the reality,” the e e book states.


Originally posted 2023-05-21 11:17:54.