As a kid in the 1950s, I followed the then 16 major league baseball teams (eight in the National League and eight in the American League), and determined that the Braves of Boston — then Milwaukee and now Atlanta — and that team’s left-handed pitching machine, Warren Spahn, were the most worthy of my loyalty.
But I always maintained a quiet affinity for the Chicago Cubs which in my youth boasted players such as Ernie Banks, Don Hoak, Monte Irvin, and Moe Drabowsky, and silently hoped that they might eventually win the National League pennant, even though “Street & Smith” baseball magazine’s predictions annually suggested that such a chore was an impossibility.
In my thirties, forties and fifties, while still following the Braves, I held out hope that I might one day see the Cubs win a National League pennant, but as the seasons wore on my optimism faded. As I entered my sixties I wasn’t convinced that I’d see the Cubs win a pennant before I died, but last Saturday night Linda and I watched on TV as Chicago’s Wrigley Field erupted with joy as it finally happened, the first time since 1945.
Now in my early seventies, I not only saw the Cubs beat the L.A. Dodgers to win the National League pennant, but I may even witness them winning a World Series for the first time since 1908, a feat that probably not one person on the planet today is still alive when it last took place. In fact it’s an accomplishment that even those who were alive at the time never saw or heard unless they were at the games, because there was no radio then, much less TV.
The last time the Cubs won the World Series Teddy Roosevelt was President, Arizona wasn’t a state, it was illegal for women to smoke in public in New York City, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in a shoot out in Bolivia.
In 1908 a crowd of just 6,210 saw the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers, featuring a 21-year-old Ty Cobb, to win the series, 2-0 — only the fourth World Series ever played — four games to one in Detroit. Oh, and that same year the New York Yankees lost 103 games, the same number the Cubs won this year when they clinched the pennant.
This World Series between the National League’s Cubs and the Cleveland Indians of the American League may be one of the most watched in the history of the game. By the way the Indians haven’t won a series since 1948 when they beat the Boston Braves.
Friend and Atlanta sports commentator Gary McKillips, sent me comments from Former Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles columnist Mike Downey, now a an online columnist for CNN who says: “The last time the Cubs won a World Series, the team picture was done by Leonardo da Vinci. The last time the Cubs won a World Series, the vendors sold mead and grog. The last time the Cubs won a World Series, they parked at a hitching post. Hoping it stays that way. Go Tribe!”
Mr. Downey who, as far as I know, has never toiled in Cleveland and for some reason has a humorous diabolical take on the Cubs, but I’m pulling for the 108-year-old underdogs despite his warped preference. I can’t wait until 2124, another 108 years.
Speaking Of Reliving My Childhood: I recently went shopping for a birthday toy for our five-year-old grandson, Luke, and while wandering around downtown Fernandina’s 5 South 2nd Street Villa Villekulla Neighborhood Toy Store, I not only discovered a bonanza of neat stuff, but briefly relived my youth as the shop was chock-a-block full of stuff that I played with as a kid when I was Luke’s age. I spent just over 30 bucks on a balsa wood model airplane, a U.S. paratrooper complete with tiny parachute, a submarine that fills with baking soda and submerges in the tub, and more cool stuff that brought back lots of fond childhood memories. There was nothing in Luke’s packet of goodies that required a battery, involved pushing a cell phone button, or needed adult supervision, just simple easy to operate entertaining toys that Luke has genuinely enjoyed. Give these folks a visit if you’ve got a small fry that deserves a gift and want to keep it simple, educational and fun with cool toys, puzzles, games, and much more. Call ’em at 904/432-8291.
Things I wish I had Said: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.” — Al Capone.
Things I Didn’t Know: There’s lots of stuff I don’t know but I now know that the letters in the Morse code message S.O.S. don’t mean anything. They’re just easy to send and hear. I also didn’t know that the computer onboard the Apollo 11 lunar landing craft had less memory than today’s average cell phone and that before 1930 most American cars were so aerodynamically ineffective they were more efficient driven backward. I know this now because those fascinating facts and much more are contained in the book “America the Ingenious” by Kevin Baker. In his 262-page book Baker details a variety of achievements by Americans. Want more? Did you know that dry cleaning is a process that owes its origins to the production of poison gas during World War I or the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam and New York’s Hudson and East River railroad tunnels all came in ahead of schedule and under budget? Or that the Yankee Clipper sailing ship was 23 stories high and could cover 465 nautical miles in just 24 hours. For a fascinating read go get this book as there are lots more interesting nuggets to discover that you probably don’t know.
Looking For A Big Salary, Little Work and Great Benefits? : If you’re looking for a job that involves unlimited travel with all expenses paid, an excellent salary, few qualifications, a plush office, a staff, great healthcare benefits, lots of vacation time, very little effort and no oversight whatsoever, then you might want to consider running for the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. Party affiliation doesn’t matter as nobody in either one breaks a sweat. Just look at pathetic Florida representatives Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson and check out the current 114th Congress, which may just be the most inept group of 535 (100 senators, 435 House members) elected officials to ever congregate in Washington, D.C. Ignoring issues such as our porous borders and illegal immigration, the stagnant economy, a much needed tax overhaul, murder and mayhem in the streets of major U.S. cities, ISIS, the almost $20 trillion U.S. debt, a deteriorating military, and other hair pulling issues, this group of losers just got back from a seven-week vacation. And what have they done so far this year? Of the 219 bills passed before its lengthy holiday, 195 were for such important items as naming post offices. Oh, and they’ve started another long vacation that won’t end until after the election. This year members of the House have worked fewer days since their peers in 1960 and in the Senate they’ve put in the least number of days in 60 years. Maybe they figure that since President Obama is bypassing them though his illegal executive action overreach, they might as well go home. As the lyrics to the song say: “Nice work if you can get it …..”
Huh? When people are attacked, wounded or killed by crazed lunatics, we are asked by the media, the White House and Democrats to not judge too quickly to assume that the attacks are the work of “fanatical Islamic jihadists, Muslim immigrants” or “ISIS inspired terrorists.” I find it curious that when there are such attacks, the media says: “we don’t know if the crime was caused by a Muslim., immigrant, jihadist, etc.” Before such attacks became so frequent such a media disclaimer would never have been necessary, would it? Or am I missing something here?
Something Else I Wish I Had Said: “To quibble over the deficiencies, real or supposed, of Donald Trump is like the survivors of the Titanic complaining about accommodations in the lifeboats. He is what we have got.” Ilana Mercer, in her recent book “The Trump Revolution.”
Bernie Joins The One Percent Club: It was reported in a recent issue of THE WEEK Magazine that Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders purchased his third house, a $600,000 waterfront getaway in the Champlain Islands in Vermont. I’m wondering how the Socialist Senator who consistently bashes the “one percenters” and also owns homes in Burlington, VT and Washington, D.C., can afford all of this on his taxpayer salary, particularly since he never held a full time job until elected mayor of Burlington, VT at age 39. With the exception of successfully scamming the tax payers this guy has been a loser his entire life until he figured out how to rip-off those of us that pay his salary.
Liberals For Trump? Liberals, particularly protestors at Trump campaign rallies, are proving everything that Donald Trump says is true. Trump is saying that the country is out of control, people don’t respect law and order, political correctness is smothering debate, illegal immigrants are damaging the economy and country and more. All Trump has to do is point to the actions of liberal protestors outside his rallies who throw rocks, bottles, Molotov cocktails, injure the police, wave Mexican flags, destroy public and private property and chant “Death to cops” to prove his case. It’s as if these dimwits have mounted a “Liberal’s for Trump” campaign and the national news nitworks are giving them plenty of air time to get out their message. Oh, just last week they blew up a GOP HQ in North Carolina. And, according to recently released videos, it now appears that these folks are recruited and paid to create chaos by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Geez Louise!
Free Advice: Here free of charge is a tip for the speech writers at Donald Trump Campaign headquarters. In response to Hillary Clinton’s comments labeling Trump supporters “deplorables” the staff could respond directly to her disdainful remarks and react humorously by borrowing from the Cole Porter song “It’s De-lovely” and altering the lyrics as follows:
Try to be discreet, Ms. Hillary,
‘Cause when I diss you, my supporters say to me,
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, It’s delectable, it’s delirious, It’s dilemma, it’s delimit, it’s deluxe, It’s de-lovely, we’re deplorable.
They feel a sudden urge to sing The kind of ditty that provokes your sting.
So I’ll control my desire to direct a curse, While they continue with the verse.
A verse you inspired that seems to me A catchy come-back-to-kick-you-in-the-ass melody
So spare us all the disdain, ‘Cause Hillary you’re such a pain.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: A monthly lunch with friends Cal Atwood and Joe Murphy this past Wednesday was at Tim Syeda’s Bar Zin Restaurant in the south side’s Palmetto Walk, where Tim also runs Cucina South and A Taste of Wine. Cal and I had the $15 fish and chips, that featured side orders of cole slaw and French fries that equaled those I recall from my days in Belgium — long, thin and slightly salty. The lightly breaded fish was perfectly flaky and, if you ask, your server will provide malt vinegar. Joe enjoyed the $14 fish tacos that came with a side of black beans and not one of us whined about anything, just the opposite, we all agreed that the food was well worth the visit, the prices reasonable, and the portions more than adequate. Tim told us that his new venture in the now shuttered Beech Street Bar & Grill will be called The 801 Kitchen & Bar featuring southern coastal cooking including menu selections such as fried chicken and waffles, homemade meat loaf, southern fried pork chops, grouper etouffee, black eyed peas and other such fare of the deep south coastal region. The 801 is the building’s original street address and the opening is scheduled for January 11, 2017. I’ve purchased citrus at all three island supermarkets — Publix, Harris-Teeter, and Winn Dixie — and it’s all been consistently awful. If you want juicy, flavorful citrus this fall then buy it from the local fruit stands. The cardboard crap that the supermarkets sell from Peru, South Africa, Chili, etc. is not only inedible but expensive, while that from the locals is tasty, mostly grown locally and inexpensive. The last and very late Sounds on Centre will be held tonight (Friday, October 28) downtown featuring Island Vibes, a very entertaining collection of local musicians that will try to make up for the last three city events that were cancelled due to inclement weather. It starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m. For the first time in many years the Florida-Georgia weekend hereabouts is fizzling as I hear that hotel occupancy is way down, the Omni cancelled its annual Gator-Bulldog party, water taxies to the game have been cancelled, and tickets for the game are still plentiful. Is it a generational thing, Hurricane Matthew, or the fact that Georgia’s team stinks and fans don’t expect much more out of the Gators this year? Whatever’s going on the world’s largest cocktail party will apparently have lots of no-shows. Is it just me or have others noticed that the print ads for the Centre Street Tavern and North 2nd Street’s Pablo’s are almost identical in typeface, color and design and that in some publications I’ve seen they are positioned next to each other? Has Dr. Robert Hogan worked out an arrangement with the Mexican eatery to locate in his recently purchased Centre Street building and maybe more? For some bizarre reason I watched the Jacksonville Jaguars/Tennessee Titans game last night and was happy to see one local that did well — Derrick Henry, the Yulee native and Titan who ran all over the hapless Jaguar team. What if the Jaguars had signed Tim Tebow and drafted Henry? It would be entertaining, fill seats and sure couldn’t be any worse than what’s happening now.