Saturday, January 29, 2005

posted by James - 11:51 AM

Yes, just in case anyone out here in the Cubs blogosphere was wondering... that was me on CLTV all day today.

A CLTV reporter "ambushed" me at about 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Clark and Addison while I was on my way to work and asked me about Sammy Sosa.

They didn't really want to know about the trade and who we got and what I thought about the team next year.

They wanted to know what I thought about Sammy Sosa and the way he left. I got the distinct impression, they wanted me to call him a bum and say wishes had come true (camera crews from another tv station came to Casey's with the same goals in mind and found what they were looking for).

...but I didn't do that. I don't believe that. He's an icon of Chicago sports and forever will be. He's hit the most homeruns by a player in Wrigley Field history.

He's definitely in the decline phase of his career, but that doesn't erase 13 years and almost 600 homeruns.

He'll get into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the middle of the next decade. And when he does, he'll be wearing a Big Red C on his cap (ok, it will be a Big Bronze C, but you get the point).

Even battling injuries, boo birds and Cubs management, he still hit 35 homers. Most players would take that during the apex of their careers.

Yes, the Cubs will pay him his "true market value" to play for somebody else next year, but there is this matter of the $7 million left over, and the Cubs have to use that to make up for losing Sosa.

I'm waiting for them to complete this deal to analyze it. If they dont spend this windfall (is this getting familiar Mariners fans?), it's a bad move.

He's not a top-10 OF or anything, but he's still a useful player when used properly unlike last year. If the Cubs go into next season with an outfield of Corey Patterson, Jason Dubois, Todd Hollandsworth and, occasionally, Jerry Hairston, Jr., they'll have problems scoring runs, and I'll have seven million reasons why not to go to as many Cubs games as I did last year.

If the Cubs management see this as a necessary move based on Sosa being too much of a distraction going into Spring Training next month (I dare you to not smile while saying or thinking that), they share some of the blame for that.

That's mismanagement of resources... and an inability to have any control over their players.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Cubs management, Sosa, the fans for booing him, the media for blowing this way out of proportion and painting Sosa as the bad guy in this without questioning why the Cubs would want to bad mouth a player they're trying to trade...

These were the statements I tried to avoid with a microphone in my face. I'm not sure if I did since I don't get CLTV on DirecTV and therefore haven't seen my own statements or their presentation (though I'm told I get a cool voiceover of Sammy hitting a homerun or something).

I'm trying very hard not to have the last month of his last season influence what I think of him, but I can't help but thinking about Ken Griffey, Jr. in the Fall of 1999.

I guess I still harbor ill will toward Griffey for bolting the Mariners and the city of Seattle (where I lived at the time), but it's not the same since he forced the trade out of Seattle. But as far as I know, Griffey never skipped out the final game of the season either.

This should have not ended this way. It's a very sad situation. This whole exit strategy Sosa and the Cubs employed in this situation sucks for the fans most of all.

They've denied us the right we have to send off Sosa, an icon of Chicago, if there ever was one, like the Mariners did with Edgar Martinez this year.

I had readied myself for the sight of Sammy in another uniform since his 2006 option brought along an obscene $18 million payroll hit. But I never thought it would end so abruptly and ugly.

There will be no last run out to rightfield. No last hop out of the batter's box. No last curtain call.

A player of his legacy and stature deserved that. We all deserved that... and we're all to blame.

Now, the coolest part about being on TV today was the incessant ringing of my phone while I was at work. Oh wait, actually it wasn't my phone. It was my grandfather's... in Florida.

Apparently it only took a couple hours for CLTV to get my interview on the air, someone who knew me and knew my grandfather to see it and inform him that they had just saw his grandson on TV talking about Sammy Sosa (something that anybody who knows me knows I'd love to do for a living, if any large, Chicago-based media conglomerate is listening).

I have been interviewed a few times. Living and working around Wrigleyville, there's no shortage of reporters in and around Wrigley Field with nothing better to do than hang out and ask random people random questions just sniffing for a story, Cub-related or not.

But I had no idea whether they had used my interview until I got a break from work to check my voice mail where my grandpa had called and accused "the Big TV star of big timing him and not answering his phone call."

It took me a second to get what he meant, and then he laid the news on me that he had talked to people who had saw me on TV. And the more people he talked to, the more people turned on their TVs to find me.

Apparently, CLTV doesn't have anything better to do that run clips of me talking about Sammy Sosa every 40 minutes or so.

So now there are recording devices at work, conference calls planned, satellites hooking up in outer space (except mine cause I don't get freakin' CLTV and neither does the bar)... and all of them centered around a grandfather who couldn't be prouder of me.

Even if he's just saying that, I never get tired of hearing it. And I'll never get tired of giving my grandfather reasons to be proud of me. There are simply much worse excuses out there to do something.

I'm working on getting a copy of it myself, and when I do, I'll try and post a transcript of it here.

Until then, it's just another chapter of Living in Wrigleyville.

Oh yeah... how are those Jazz and Seahawks doing Skippy? heh heh.

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