People tend to overuse the phrase “you can’t make this stuff up,” generally to describe stuff that sounds made-up but isn’t. There are a lot of creative minds in this world perfectly capable of making up some really strange shtick. This USA Today story about the latest snag in the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family . . . I don’t care how creative you think you are, you can’t make this stuff up.
A formal objection to the Tribune Company’s sale of the Cubs has been filed with Delaware’s bankruptcy court. That objection was filed by former Cub shortstop, Shawon Dunston.
The one-paragraph document was handwritten (I’m presuming by Dunston himself). The crux of his objection is that the Cubs owe him money. The money they owe him is for a college scholarship . . . a college scholarship he has yet to use.
Before I go on, you should know that, if I’m being honest (which sometimes I am, but, in all honesty, not habitually) I’ll tell you straight out that Shawon Dunston is my all-time favorite Cub. If I get to pick a uniform number for anything, I pick 12. Not because of Dusty. Not because of Fonzy. Not because of Ricky Gutierrez. I pick 12, because when I was growing up, I tried to emulate Shawon Dunston. I loved his hustle. I loved his flair. I loved the way he’d try to check his swing by just letting go of the bat. As much as it is possible to love a baseball player you’ve never come close to meeting or seeing or communicating with in any way, shape, or form, I love Shawon Dunston.
That said, this is the craziest thing I ever heard. But I support Shawon in this. I don’t care if the Trib owes him the gum from a 20-year-old pack of Topps baseball cards, he has a right to make sure he gets what is coming to him. But this . . . a retired shortstop who hit .750 for his high school team in Brooklyn standing in the way of the sale of a storied baseball franchise and the most revered structure in sports for a deal that’s a 15% off coupon away from a billion bucks, just so he can be assured of free tuition if he so desires . . . that’s some crazy crazy right there.
I’ve seen Shawon Dunston make some amazing plays in the hole at short. I’ve seen him rifle fastballs that might have killed anybody but Mark Grace. I’ve seen him catch knuckleballing windblown pop-ups in old Candlestick Park that no human being before or after him could have tracked down. I’ve heard that Matt Williams could field ground balls with ping-pong paddles on his hands. Legend has it that Ted Lilly can stop a speeding bullet with a stern look. But if Shawon Dunston stops or even delays the sale of the Cubs over potential college money, it will be the greatest defensive gem in the history of sports, law, and butt pain.
Yes, having the Neverending Cubs Sale delayed would be frustrating. But if Shawon can do it, I will love him even more for it. Because right now, laughter is all we have.