The Curious Case of Cleveland vs The Cubs

Written by :
Published on : October 29, 2016

 

 

First off, I’m not going to rub our latest win into the faces of Chicago Cubs Fans. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. Not after their first home World Series game in 71 years. Not after all they’ve been through… Years of turmoil, lost games, Steve Bartmans, Old Style, and goats. The year-round sold out games, the tradition, the rotating cast of Bros that frequent Clark Street bars belting out Living on a Prayer night after night! That horrible deep dish pizza! Talk about constipation! No, but really, as a born and raised Cleveland Indians fan, I have no hatred for Chicago Cubs fans.

 

I’ve only really lived in three cities: Cleveland (Elyria and Lakewood), Chicago (Wrigleyville and South Loop), and Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks and East Hollywood). So, at one point I did consider Chicago a home (But not home home of course). And my two years living in Wrigleyville were filled with great times. I can’t deny that I loved hearing the crowd from my front porch, scalping tickets in the fourth inning to see part of a neighborhood game, drinking that cheap special of Old Style with a shot of Canadian Mist (or what I like to call – the Addison Whore), dancing on the piano at Sluggers, taste-testing deep dish pizza at D’Agostino’s, Giordano’s, and Pisano’s, and inhaling cigars at Around the World Tobacco on Belmont. Chicago holds a special place in my heart and in my lungs. But doesn’t that say something? No matter how many years went by without a World Series or even a postseason, people from near and far love to go watch the Cubs. Cubs culture is just cool. And it didn’t hurt that John Hughes featured Chicago and his teams in most of my favorite childhood movies.

 

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But let’s get to the facts, to the true love, to the devotion, to the sweet, sweet RBI that Coco Crisp whisked to Wrigley right field and got the Cleveland Indians their one and only run to ultimately win Game 3 of the 2016 World Series. Or that smooth criminal pitching from Josh Tomlin. And the eleven lucky and very wealthy Cleveland Indians fans that were able to get tickets at Wrigley and cheer on our guys. As I watched the game and listened to my dad’s post-game show, it was clear how important, how special this moment was to everyone. Every mistake, every victory was amplified by one thousand. It was an event that fans on both sides had waited a lifetime to witness – a World Series in itself for Cubs fans and a series between two of the most deserving, and two of the most ill-fated teams in baseball.

 

They both have arrived to face off after a one-hundred and eight year (Cubs) and sixty-eight year (Indians) World Series victory stretch. And they both want it bad.  Sure, the Cubs are the national favorites, the beloved and notorious underdogs, but Cleveland….Cleveland has somethin’ crazy going on this year! We have broken our championship curse which means, why not win a World Series? And the Cubs have never been closer to breaking their own. To top it off, both teams have f**king awesome pitching (But The Indians may have the upper hand at the moment). Only time will tell who will win, but let me go on record to say I’m #All In with the Windians. And so is Tom Hanks, Stephen King, Drew Carey, LeBron James, and our devoted fanbase.

 

1948

 

I did have the very fortunate chance to attend Game 1 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field this past Tuesday – the same night that the Cleveland Cavaliers also accepted their Championship rings and started the NBA season. The same night that Kenny Lofton of the 1995 Cleveland Indians threw out the first pitch. A day like that will probably not come around again for quite some time. And to share it with my city, my dad and brother, and surprisingly with Cubs fans was kind of perfect. There was a brisk October breeze coming off the lake, but it was still very comfortable. The clouds were casting amazing shadows over the newly revealed statues of Cleveland baseball legends. The smell of bratwurst and hot dogs was in the air. And Cubs and Indians fans were chit-chatting like old friends as they waited for the gates to open.

 

Now, this was before the game started mind you, but I did have my first lady drink of the afternoon on the tab of a visiting Chicagoan who wanted to prove to me that Cubs fans weren’t all that bad. And I love free booze, so I accepted and in turn was immediately disarmed. I thought to myself, could two fanbases really get along during the championship series? Everyone claimed to be grateful to have made it to this point, and to be playing another Midwestern team with a substantial losing streak. It almost seemed too good to be true. But maybe that was because all of the Chicago fans that came to see the game in Cleveland were also the fans that couldn’t afford the tickets at Wrigley (Not to say that Progressive Field tickets weren’t hard to get or expensive, but they weren’t as unattainable…and we luckily had some connections).

 

Maybe these Cubs fans were the working class, blue-collar folk that many Cleveland sports fans relate with. Then I found out how much they were paying for seats alongside us in the upper deck, and realized they had shelled out some major cash for those tickets as well. That all being said, even with the blow-out that went down the first night, I never witnessed any fists thrown, name-calling, or poor sportsmanship – just a good old fashion ass-whooping. To which was reciprocated in Game 2. But boy did I relish in our win that night. The rallying on full-counts, the delicious concessions, our cheer-happy section, and the fact that my brother no longer thought of me as a contributor to the curse – because yes, I was in attendance for a win this time unlike Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Plus it put my dad (@sirfranksnbacon) in a very good mood.

 

XMAS

 

Now that we are up one and just two wins away from a World Series victory, a position my father has been in just two other instances of his life, and I as well, we can temporarily enjoy this moment of hope and relief together. After all, according to those stats nerds out there, we have a sixty-five percent chance of winning the series now. But will it be enough against those pesky Cubbies? We shall see. Just know, us Clevelanders are all very optimistic. Go Tribe!

 

 


SBS Remembers: Big League Chew

Written by :
Published on : August 15, 2016

 

 

Everyone likes candy. When you are a kid, candy is religion. The fat-cats at candy companies know this. They make tons of weird creations all trying to hook your rotten sweet tooth. And they’ll try anything. Perfect example is Big League Chew. This product is a gum that is shredded and comes in a pouch to act like a kiddie version of chewing tobacco. Why would children want to dip, you ask? Well, because pro-ballplayers do it. And that’s enough of a reason. Let’s cruise the aisles for some throwback snacks in this chapter of SBS Remembers.

 

Big League Chew first arrived in stores back in May of 1980 with the classic pink colored gum. This was Outta’ Here Original. Later, other flavors were added like Ground Ball Grape, Swingin’ Sour Apple, Slammin’ Strawberry, Curveball Cotton Candy and Wild Pitch Watermelon. The packages also featured some great comic illustrations which was a big selling point. And generally, one of the few sports themed items in the candy section, so it stood out.

 

big eague chew flavors

 

The story behind the chew is pretty interesting. The idea came from baseball player Rob Nelson of the Portland Mavericks. His Portland teammate and New York Yankee All Star, Jim Bouton, helped pitch the product to the Wrigley Company as an option instead of chewing tobacco. Which was super popular in the MLB at the time. The rest is history. And let’s be honest, dip is really gross and no one wants to see their favorite ballplayers spit all over the field.

 

It’s hard to overlook that it’s just tobacco for kids. That’s pretty messed up. I remember having candy cigarettes way before Big League Chew. And I never smoked, but that’s still shady. The origin seems like it came from good intentions, trying to give players a dip substitute but the makers of the machine gun also thought they would end war with a weapon that fires so fast that no one would be crazy enough to face it.

 

Big-League-Chew CU

 

Marketing poison to kids aside, I loved Big League Chew. It was unlike any other gum and it really was a solid rebrand of the grown-up tobacco variety. You could get a big wad of it and keep it in your lip and you’d look just like your baseball hero. All the flavors came in super bright colors and just seeing the package and the lettering transports me back to the days of my youth. Anyone want to play home run derby right now?

 

Big League Chew tastes just like any other gum. Hell, it may even loose its flavor faster than most, but it was about the image. You got to play make believe. Wear your dad’s shoes and pretend you’re bigger than you were. That’s what a pack got you. And that’s magic.

 

Bubble.

 

 


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