Go Cubs! A Tale from 2003

Written by :
Published on : October 23, 2016



Here we are again, Cubs fans. On the verge of making history. Last time we were here was back in 2003, when the Cubbies broke a nearly hundred-year postseason loss record, and I went to the best party of my young life.


I was not a sports fan growing up, but I was something of a Cubs fan. I made an annual trip every August to Wrigley Field with my Grandfather. I enjoyed those afternoons, but my interest in the game never stretched beyond them. I wasn’t a scorekeeper or a stathound. I didn’t even care if they won really, because we often left during the 8th, usually on my Grandfather’s calculated risk that a cab could make Union Station in time for the express Metra train back to the suburbs. At best, I fell into the category of fair weather fan, one of the most common and reviled of sports animals.


That fall of ’03, I was a college freshman. One of my first assignments was to attend a screening at the Chicago International Film Festival. Back then, my cinematic tastes leaned heavily towards bullets and boobs, so I chose the least festival-y film I could find. The movie was called Kops, a Swedish comedy about local police officers that bore a passing resemblance to Super Troopers. My friend Wags agreed to go with me, and we headed to the Music Box Theatre in Wrigleyville for the show.




When the movie started, I was only vaguely aware that the Cubs were in a position to make history. If they won their next game — which they were playing that night, Sunday October 5th — it would be their first postseason series victory since 1908. I was only vaguely aware of this because, even as a passing Cubs fan, I knew they were perennial losers, a bedrock certainty that belonged in The Pantheon of Facts between the hilarity of The Three Stooges and Scarlett Johansson’s beauty.


Halfway through the movie, I heard a noise I haven’t heard in a theater before or since: a car horn. It sounded in quick gunfire bursts. Then I heard the cheering. Wags leaned over and said, “I think the Cubs just won.”


After the movie, we exited the theater and saw blue and white fans everywhere. We were less than a mile from Wrigley Field, and everyone seemed to be heading that direction. Which made sense after all; there was a rogue’s gallery of bars stretching along Clark Street. Wags suggested we join the fray and I agreed. He had driven us there after all, so I didn’t think I could protest too much.




As we came upon the intersection of Clark and Addison, underneath the warm glow of the Wrigley Field neon, we found ourselves in the middle of the biggest party I had ever seen. There were people everywhere. So many they had overflowed the bars and sidewalk and crowded into the middle of the street. Cars were trafficjammed for blocks in every direction. If you weren’t cheering, it was because you were drinking. Someone had propped speakers out their second story window and were blasting “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC into the street. Wags ducked into a bar and returned with several open cans of Budweiser. We camouflaged them with empty McDonald’s cups and drank down a couple of Harry Caray’s favorite brew.


We intended to walk around but didn’t get very far. There were too many drunk idiots screaming at the top of their lungs. Too many suburban Moms and Dads wearing their weekend Cubs gear. Too many girls. It was a great time. The good feeling was infectious. We were surrounded by new old friends, all united in a winner’s high. I couldn’t tell you how long we hung out there, but I was finishing my second beer, and that’s when the cops showed up. Not Kops. Real cops.




Like I said, this was my first real life, holy shit, I’ve-only-seen-parties-like-this-in-the-movies blowout that I had ever attended. That milestone was capped off by watching the Chicago Police break up the biggest party ever. How does that happen, you ask? On horseback, my friend. All of a sudden, there was a row of mounted cops seated above the crowd. Behind them were more officers dressed in riot gear. Falling into line, they created a blue wall that advanced forward. Pushing the crowd back onto the sidewalk where they belonged. It was a calm show of force, and it worked. I wish I could say that we started a riot and burned some shit down, but no. Nothing like that happened. Everyone was too busy have a good time. The Cubs had just broken a 95 year losing streak. No matter how down-and-out you were, nobody in Chicago felt like a loser that night.


The rest of it has faded from my memory, but that feeling of communal celebration is something I’ll never forget. I had done my share of cheering for the hometeam, and I had experienced the swell of an entire ballpark’s energy rise up before. But this was something else. The scale was epic. We were celebrating a moment that had already been recorded into history. Here’s hoping we can feel that way again. Go Cubs.



Best Announcers in Sports

Written by :
Published on : February 15, 2016


Many of the great moments in sports history have an equally great piece of announcing paired with it. Like a nice piece of fish with a light, dry white wine. Yum. Often those choice words are forever tied with some of our favorite memories. This makes the announcer a vital part of the viewing experience. There have been some truly talented professionals who have lent their voices to help bring the game to that next level. But who are the best sports announcers ever?


I’m sure every market has their star but this is the list of the all-time beasts of the broadcaster’s booth. Many of the names below have decades of work under their belts and are the definitive sound associated with some of the game’s most popular teams.


Harry Caray


The longtime Chicago Cubs announcer is permanently etched into the sports brain of America. They have bronze a statue of him outside of Wrigley Field. They don’t do that for most. Will Ferrell famously played him in many sketches on SNL and killed the impression. I can’t even think about this without laughing.


Dick Vitale


I’ve mentioned this before, but Dicky V is the beginning and end of the conversation on college basketball announcing. He is essential. Like the hardwood or the ball. It’s not March Madness without him. It all comes down to his energy. You can really tell he loves the game and his job. That kind of passion is contagious. Plus he makes up hilarious one-liners.


Joe Rogan


The UFC has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and all with the help of Rogan. He is one of the ambassadors of their sport and is probably more responsible for their success than he gets credit for. His time on Fear Factor helped him learn the host format and made him an accessible character to viewers. It doesn’t hurt that he is pro comic. Either way, keep it up Joe.


Don Cherry

don cherry


The best dressed man in Canada, hell maybe the whole world. The photo above is just a sampling of his great taste in clothes. Google it when you have time. But Cherry isn’t just a pretty suit, he is hockey. I heard Barry Melrose say he could become Prime Minister if he ever ran. No joke, he knows the game better than anyone and hockey is lucky to have him.


Pat Summerall


Most folks know him from the 22 years he was teamed with John Madden as they covered the NFL. Madden gets the fame with the video game but I was always preferred Pat. John was kind of loud and had clumsy analogies while Summerall was the steady hand on the ship.


Mike Tirico


I don’t care much for most of the current NFL commentators but Tirico is a breathe of fresh air with his even and insightful tone. He never seems to play favorites or push a personal agenda. But his enthusiasm is genuine. Many of his colleagues could learn from him.


Ernie Harwell


My hometown colors are shinning through but this is an easy heart pick. My early Detroit Tigers memories are all narrated by Mr. Harwell. That voice was baseball for me. When you don’t go to a ton of games the radio broadcast becomes important and Ernie had a real flair for describing the action. We also have a bronze statue of him at Comerica Park.


Vin Scully


Keeping with the classic baseball theme, we move to Los Angeles and the voice of Dodger baseball. Scully started with the Dodgers in 1950 and still works with them today. That’s an insane run. Hats off. Keep it up Vin. Maybe LA can finally get that World Series they’ve been chasing.

Bob Costas


Costas is all over the world of sports. He focuses on MLB and Olympics but has covered NHL, NBA, NFL, Boxing, Golf, and Thoroughbred Racing. Bob Costas is just a sports nerd and I mean that in the best way. You can tell he is just as pumped to report as he is to watch the event.


Chick Hearn

hearn 2


Los Angeles Laker Legend. Hearn called a consecutive 3,338 games going from 1965-2001. He passed in 2002. RIP. His wit and candor made him a staple in LA. He coined many phrases that are part of the fabric of basketball. Things like “air ball”, “slam dunk”, and “charity stripe” are all Chick. He basically invented the clever banter style that all the SportsCenter crew uses.

Howard Cosell


That iconic voice. Every sports fan has a bad version of this impression. It’s all in the diction and pacing. I can still remember the joke from the strange 80’s comedy Better Off Dead where the one kid only learned English from watching sports and sounds just like Cosell. Classic. That’s how you know you’ve made it.



Did we leave off your favorite announcer? Leave it in the comments. Also, be on the look out for the follow up piece on “Worst Announcers in Sports.” Will Dennis Miller make the cut? Keep reading to find out.


Have a great Monday.



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