Posted By: Mike Rodbard
June 9, 2009
Our beloved boys in blue pin stripes continue on their 8-game road trip today with a stop at Minute Maid (formerly Enron Field - suckers!) Park to play the Houston Astros.
Hide your wallets!
That directive is, of course, aimed at the fans.
I bring this up so that you can save yourselves from, well, yourselves. Before you fork over the big bucks that MLB deems appropriate for attending one of their events (tickets, dogs, and drinks will likely set you back a cool portrait of Ben Franklin, minimum), I urge you to think about some things that have been printed in the news recently. Particularly in the Chicago Sun-Times.
When I picked up the morning's rag yesterday, a few headlines really stood out:
"Movin' on Up...victory catapults Cubs into 3rd place."
3rd place? Catapults? Oooh. Ahhh. Real progress. We're in the crappiest, weakest, division in baseball, and we should be excited about 3rd place? The Pittsburgh Pirates, darling dwellers of the cellar, have already started selling their talent, and it's only the 2nd week of June. They aren't even waiting for the All-Star break. They've unloaded their star player, 5-tool center-fielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta "we constantly make the playoffs but can't sell out" Braves.
The Braves traditionally make moves designed to help them win right now, so kudos to them.
The Cubs? Hey, we're in 3rd place now, so raise another glass to Harry's statue (sans dead goat.)
The White Sox, by the way, are in 3rd place too. I don't exactly see dancers or trumpeters on the South Side.
"Soriano breaks out in a big way."
Really? OK, he hit a homer on Sunday which happened to be the winning hit. Great. But, at the time, he was (and probably still is) in a colossal slump. Before that particular display of touch-'em-all, according to the Sun-Times, he was "mired in a 10-for-72 slide (.139) that was into its 17th game and included only one home run." His average for the season is .241.
I wrote last week about the occasional homers big Al can hit. OCCASIONAL!
Worth every penny of his $136 million contract, no?
Then there's the continuing saga of Carlos Zambrano, the alleged ace of the pitching staff. Yes, he was great over the weekend. He really has the stuff that makes a pro ballplayer.
But he also hinted (stated, actually) that after his current $91 million contract is over, he's outta here. Says he'll retire. You know, too many missed Mothers' Days and birthday parties and apparently occasionally lost belongings on the road and whatever other burdens his $91 million contract has brought him.
Can you say un-motivated?
I suppose with that kind of bread, I'd consider retiring too. Perhaps to a Venezuelan beach town. But my day job is not nearly as lucrative. Professional musician wages don't come close to professional, mediocre ballplayers'. We work Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. We miss a lot of important, personal events because of our career choices. And you can bet that we misplace more than a few personal things between rehearsal spaces, road transportation, hotels, and a variety of dark performance spaces. And we do it for hundreds, at best - not millions.
So, if he's talking about his retirement already, while still in his 20s, then that means that he has already mentally departed from the North Side.
Whatever. I say let him go. Might as well do it now. It's not like we've won anything WITH him on the team.
I'm sure Atlanta would take him, happily.
Read more about what Mike Rodbard has to say about life, and music, in Chicago, on his own blog, So it Goes...