There were buds on the trees along Paulina today! It got up to 50 degrees in my part of town, I walked down the street without a hat for the first time in months! Well, the second time, but who's counting? Although it may be crappy again tomorrow, today I feel like spring is in the air at last! After the past winter, 50 feels like paradise. And with Opening Day still a couple weeks away, the Cubs are tied for first place! Undefeated!
The past couple years we started the season with the feeling the Boys in Blue were gonna do something great. And they have, although both years they've kind of fallen apart at the end. This year it seems like they started to fall apart early, just to get it over with. It's not dumping Sosa - the guy was more trouble in the clubhouse than he was dynamite on the mound. It's that the owners - the Tribune media conglomerate - don't seem to want to make any sacrifices to win. I'm not expecting them to be Steinbrenner, but I wish they'd gone after Magglio Ordonez when the White Sox wouldn't pick him up. He really wanted to stay in town, and I thought he would have made a great Cub. Let's not even talk about Beltran. And Matt Clement? they didn't even try to pick up his contract, figuring they had more than enough pitching. Now with Wood and Prior injured, of course, the team is scrambling to put together a decent starting rotation.
So did they blow the season before it started? They don't care. They're gonna make a profit anyway. Why? Because I don't care either. Last year I dragged my ass to a sub-freezing Opening Day, and I'd do it again if I had tickets. I love the team, the town, and Wrigley Field is the best beer garden on earth. My complaint is that ticket prices have more than doubled since I came back to town in 2000. That year I got upper deck seats for ten bucks. Now it's more than twenty. And the Trib has it's own ticket broker to take advantage of scalpers' prices for themselves. I don't begrudge them the money necessarily. Last year's deal with the "rooftop owners" (the guys who live across the street and sell tickets so you can watch from the roof) netted the Trib $50 million, which they turned right around and used to hire Greg Maddux. Definitely worth it. So what I'm asking for is this - if they're going to charge like they're a real major league franchise, they should at least pretend like they want to win the pennant.
I also had some global political thoughts and stuff this week, but I realized the whole time I've been doing Windy City Blues I've said nothing about the war or the Middle East, stuff I used to rant about all the time. It doesn't seem to fit here, somehow. So I posted it over at the old blog instead. Check it out if you have time.