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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Only 6 Days...

until players start reporting to camp! And that means only 29 days until myself and most of the contributors on this board make our yearly trek to Mesa, AZ to watch the Cubbies get into game shape. With the excitment building, and my being home sick, I decided to throw in Forever Loyal: A Salute to the Cubs Fans and Their Field. After five minutes into it, I decided that I shouldn't be the only one that gets to enjoy this because I'm sick. So I decided to do a running diary (and no, I did not rip this off of Bill Simmons)...

00:31 Alright, Wrigleyville! And inside Wrigley, "it's more than just a ballpark--it's a business." Really? You mean I didn't just lose that $100 last time I was there?

01:10 Yes! Just over a minute into the documentary, and we've already got a Wayne Messmer sighting! For those of you who don't know, Wayne sings the National Anthem at almost every game--and has a beard that inspires all.

02:12 Tom Heldman, better known as "Odie" (and yes, the woman narrating said this like it was perfectly normal) is the clubhouse manager. Some highlights from his tour:

--The Cubs' weight room is, honest to God, smaller than the one at the old North Platte High School.
--They just got done serving breakfast--Raisin Bran! There's approximately 15 boxes of the stuff. The cornerstone of any all-world athlete's regimine.
--The shower is, shall we say, uncomfortably too small. Wow.
--The uniform room is priceless. It is the size of a walk-in closet, and there are boxes just lying around everywhere. Fantastic. There are also countless boxes of sunflower seeds, which he points out. He does not point out, however, how there are even more boxes with "Skoal" all over them. "This is where most people don't get to see..." Really? Because it is an absolute disaster?
--Showing us player lockers...oh my God! Matt Stairs and Ron Coomer were locker buddies! I wish I could make something this funny up! I guess it is appropriate--these two monsters hit 34 home runs for the Cubs in 2001--combined!


05:05 Jimmy Farrell, Umpire Clubhouse Manager, has been doing this for over 30 years. He serves the umps meals, plus applies Mississippi Mud to all the balls before the game to take the shine off and improve the grip. One can of this stuff is $40! And it is actually from Mississippi! Shouldn't we just get some mud from the field somewhere and save that money so we can sign some outfielders? Like, oh, I don't know, Matt Stairs?? Sidenote: one of the things I love about Wrigley is that a lot of the people who work there have been working there since they were kids. Like Jimmy here. He's been doing it forever. I think that is great.

07:05 Roger Baird, Head Groundskeeper. "I've been here since quarter 'till 6, and my guys got in about quarter 'till 7..." Geez, Roger, just throw "your guys" under the bus on a documentary, huh? You must be a great boss. Some more highlights:
--"[the grass] is all natural. But the striping pattern in my grass is BASICALLY done with the lawnmower." Huh. I always figured that our grass would do the checkerboard patter eventually, but it turns out we have to mow it that way. Dang.
--Only three people from Roger's staff take care of the entire scoreboard. And they still get the scores from other games from an old-fashioned TICKER. This documentary was done in 2001, so there is probably a good chance that they have a computer up there now, but I sure hope not.

09:30 They are explaining what the different flags on the scoreboard signify. Right now, they are going showing the team flags and explaining that they are in order of place in the respective division. Right now, they are showing the NL Central going in the following order:

Cubs
Brewers
Pirates
Cardinals
Reds
Astros

These flags obviously do not show the overall records. But I am going to give a wild guess as to what those records were: Cubs (1-0), Brewers (1-0), Pirates (0-0), Cardinals (0-0), Reds (0-1), and the Astros (0-1). Or something to that effect.

OK, I will attempt to continue this post. However, I'm about to pass out. Enjoy the first part of this riveting documentary.


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