Issue One: Suck or Cynic?

No, seriously, get off my lawn.

I hated it when I was a kid, but I’ve grown to love The McLaughlin Group. Led by curmudgeonly debating dictator John McLaughlin, this talking-head free-for-all might carry the blame for the parade of political punditry running through television around the clock, but that’s only because they do it right. They step on each other’s sentences and stumble their way through a bipartisan spectrum (composed of drastically slanted extremes). It’s entertaining, informative, and everything a political talk show should be.

Be that as it may, Johnny has drawn lighthearted criticism for his less-than-subtle manner of implying his cynical opinions are superior to all others, a caricature made famous by Dana Carvey and imitated by Cub fans everywhere.

I’m probably just as guilty as anyone of dismissing dissenting opinions, so don’t read this as a personal attack just because you know I know you’re wrong. But there’s something I find so irritating about the cynicism that follows a Cubs loss, bad inning, John Grabow run given up, Aramis Ramirez strikeout, Lou Piniella managerial decision/quote/shaving holiday . . . you name it. And, yes, I even get irritated at myself for succumbing to it. It’s the attitude that I can draw sound conclusions about this team or this player based on the last game, at bat, series, or even two weeks of play. 
We all know that’s not true, but when a small sample agrees with our general conclusions, it’s oh so tempting to set our opinions in stone. And then laminate them.
The first week of the season, everyone jokes about it. Samardzija’s ERA is infinity. Marlon Byrd is on pace to hit 456 homers. The Cubs will go 0-162. But after the first month of the season, and especially after the first two, fans tend to forget how unreliable small samples are, especially the fans who don’t know what constitutes a significant sample.
The Cubs are 1-7 against the Pirates. What does that tell us? It tells us that the Cubs have a woeful record against the Pirates this year. Are the Pirates better than the Cubs? Let’s entertain the thought. Here are some other imaginary conclusions we can draw from the Cubs/Pirates season series: 
  • The Cubs are 23-22 against the rest of baseball, so the Pirates must be the best team the Cubs have played this year. 
  • The Pirates are 15-30 against non-Cubs teams, so the Cubs must be the worst team the Pirates have played, including the Astros who have yet to lose to the Bucs and have lost just one to the Cubs.
  • Somehow the Cubs are an otherwise above-.500 team that is also the worst opponent the Pirates have faced, so the Pirates must have the toughest schedule in all of baseball. Ever.
  • Xavier Nady is an unstoppable force, he and his 1.065 OPS against the untouchable Pirate pitching staff.
  • Marlon Byrd doesn’t hustle nearly as hard as Alfonso Soriano.
I won’t go on. No one believes those conclusions, but for some reason, “The Cubs suck” is the most obvious fact ever presented before the public eye because of the Cubs’ 8 games against the Pirates, even though it doesn’t really agree with what the other games have told us. The Pirates have the second worst pitching staff in the National League (Milwaukee is the worst). Although the Cubs have absolutely pounded on Brewer pitching, the Pirate hurlers have been tougher on the Cubs than have all but three opposing staffs. It doesn’t make sense. And, in small samples, neither does baseball.
To be fair, the optimists who get overly excited when the Cubs are on a hot streak (read: me) are just as deceived by recency and selective sampling as the cynics who proclaim doom every time the L flag flies over Wrigley. But cynicism especially irritates me because it’s the cop-out attitude. It’s safe. It’s the defense mechanism of every fan.
Anyone quick to judge the Cubs as uber-sucky, other than opposing fans who frame their identities around criticizing the very team they hate (and really, this has to be the most pathetic segment of sporting society), is happy to be proved wrong. Generally, Cubs fans aren’t happy to see their team fail, so the doubters take solace in the fact that they saw the collapse coming. If the Cubs lose: “I knew it, and you’re an idiot if you’re surprised by this.” Cubs win: “Yay, I was wrong! This won’t last.”
See how that works? Call the desired outcome impossible, and you’ll never be disappointed. The only problem is, it doesn’t mean you’re a good prognosticator, it just means you’re skilled at covering your butt.
The people calling for Lou’s head because he leaves starting pitchers in too long are the same ones who get irate when he brings in the wrong reliever. The people saying Lou was a fool for starting the all-bench lineup are the same ones who, 24 hours earlier, were begging him to shake things up. They have to blame unexpected results on someone, and the unpredictability of baseball isn’t an option. It’s this: Lou sucks. The Cubs suck. If I can’t get the outcome I want, at least I can feel better blaming it on the people stupid enough not to be as cynical as I am right now.
Well, that sucks. I’m not saying everyone has to predict the Cubs to win or to bounce back. I’m not saying the optimists are right and the pessimists are wrong. I’m just saying the cynics, in this case and in life in general, are taking the easiest path, especially when it’s based on only the most recent or selective observations. If you think the Cubs suck (and their record agrees with you) I’d hope you’d form that opinion from something more than the final score to one game or even eight.
I’ll leave you with two things: 1) MLB’s collection of highlights carrying the Starlin Castro tag; 2) Exit question: on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the suckiest team in the history of spheroidal suction and 10 being the metaphysical pinnacle of baseball existence, how good do you think the Cubs are?

Nothing to See Here. So Let’s Do the Wave!

On Saturday, the wave broke out at Wrigley Field. This punky, spray-tanned castoff from the set of Swingers (not Vince Vaughn) served as cheerleader  drum major  douchemaster  moron-in-chief, eliciting a chorus of boos from dozens of onlookers . . . and, you know, the wave from tens of thousands of witless drones.

It’s bad enough this happened at Wrigley. Fans do a lot of unforgivable things in Wrigley. They throw peanuts at fans of opposing teams, even if it’s the team opposing the Blackhawks later that weekend. They stand on the ramps leading to the upper deck and toss food and water down onto the fans below. They hurl racial epithets at their favorite players. I guess they project quite a few things into the air, but usually they have the good sense not to include a successive parade of their butt-scratching hands in the mix. But here’s what made it worse:

All this went down with one out in the eighth inning of a tie ball game with the potential (and eventually the actual) game-tying run at second base. The wave is supposed to be the designated pastime of fans who have become bored with the actual national pastime. But to interrupt the most critical turning point in the game by conjuring the demonic ritual of wavus stupidus maximus takes some serious juevos (and just an extraordinary surplus of dumb). You’re telling me there was nothing else to grab the attention of these buffoons?

Allow me to offer up a photodump of evidence to the contrary:

Vince Vaughn set the tone by aiming for the upper deck with his ceremonial first pitch.

Look! There’s Soriano with a healthy knee and a newfound propensity for crushing the ball.

He even threatened to shoot anyone who even thought about starting a wave.

Don’t even think about it. I swear. Bang bang!

Theriot adjusted his pants. How can any of you think about anything else?

Marlon Byrd does a little dance move when they say, “Play ball!” It’s kinda cute.

Someone forgot to tell Kosuke April was over. He’s still a doubles machine.

Soriano’s underpaid bubble butt.

Now would be the time to look away.

Stephen Drew, not a fan of the floating strike zone.

My niece: a big fan of Dora.

Not too many pictures of the pitcher’s mound here. Mostly because they would all look like this.

This is the game getting exciting. If you believe in statistics, that is.

See? This game ain’t boring.

Take in the joy of a world where the wave does not exist.

If you wanted to start your waving as a performance art protest against Arizona’s immigration laws, this would have been a good time.

If the wave could stop this man from entering the game, it would become a staple at Wrigley.

But there are happy things to cheer about and watch. Soriano made the scoreboard do this . . .

Game tied.

The guy in front of me was very excited to see Marmah warming up. Everyone in the stadium not wearing a Diamondback jersey was glad to see it wasn’t Grabow. Seriously, he must have called him “Marmah” at least 267 times.

I mean, come on! His name is right there on the jersey, plain as day.

This is Tylermania! He’s glad to be in scoring position. He’s ecstatic that the bases are loaded for Derrek Lee. He’s a bit confused as to why the wave is going on.

Hey, wavers! The Cubs are winning now. Your efforts to ruin my day completely have been undone by the Cub offense. That should give you some idea as to how inept you are at life.

Where have I been the last seven games? 

What’s down there? What was left of the dignity of Cub fans? I don’t know. There was a pole there.

Marmah strikes out the side. Cue the song.

So there you have it. A bunch of pictures of things that aren’t the wave. Shame on the reprobates who dared create their own sideshow during the main event.

What Is the Problem with Cubs Fans?

Just to be clear: not all jerks are Cubs fans.

I’ve been determined not to talk about Milton Bradley, and I’m not. I have no intention of addressing the specific indignities committed against or by Mr. Bradley. The simple fact is that far too many people, fans and bystanders alike, have proven themselves incapable of rational thought whenever Milton’s name is involved. So any comments about Mr. Bradley have no relevance in this discussion. None.
Instead, let’s talk in generalities. A lot has been said about Cubs fans lately. There’s the argument that a minuscule fraction of the Cub-fan population, a mere handful of aberrant freaks, have given Cubs fans a bad name. I’d like to address that possibility. However, some proponents of that argument have constructed a straw man that any accusation of racism at Wrigley is an irrational blanket accusation against all Cubs fans. I have no desire to address that theory, because nobody really thinks that all Cubs fans are cross-burning racists and/or rabid slobbering jerks. Nobody. Thinks. That.
But a lot of people do think and have insinuated that the jerk-to-decent-human-being ratio is higher at Wrigley and among Cubs fans in general than it is at other ballparks and among other fan bases. That line of thinking warrants a serious look, although I won’t wage a full-scale investigation to settle the argument. I just want to know why that might be the case.

In the realm of statistics, intelligent people don’t give credence to small samples of data that lack a clear cause-effect relationship. For instance, Mark Grace hit well on Mother’s Day. Sammy Sosa hit well on his birthday. Ryne Sandberg may have had a .750 average in the seventh inning of road games in July against left-handed pitchers for teams with blue uniforms. We like those stats because of the sheer coincidence of it all. No one with a functioning cerebellum really thinks those stats mean anything. But when it comes to baseball matters outside of statistics (such as the behavior of fans of certain teams at certain stadiums) the demand for reliably determined cause-effect relationships too often goes out the window.

Is there any conceivable reason why Cub fans would be more prone to racism than would other fans? Is there something about the Cubs that is more attractive to racists? Should we expect Cubs fans to be more apt than the general public to assemble grassroots hate-mail campaigns? An argument could be made that Chicago is a racist city, but it is most definitely not the only one.

As a quick aside, I’m not going to pretend racism is all that less prevalent in America today than it was 30, 40, or even 50 years ago. But for the most part, decidedly racist people have learned it’s better to employ silent, subtle racism than the officially posted, vocally oppressive, publicly violent version of the segregated era. Just because  speaking the N-word has been ruled unacceptable by almost every subculture of America doesn’t mean no one ever thinks it or ascribes to the hate behind it. (I like Tom Lehrer’s prophetic views on the subject: publicly ignoring hate has little effect on people’s private views.)

But I also don’t think all the rage about Cubs fans is or should be confined to race. The fact is, it’s the same attitude that drives a fan to spit on a player of his own race as the one that motivates a white fan to send hate mail to a black player. People don’t do something like that because of race, they do it because of a vindictive, prideful jealousy. As much as fans love to live vicariously through their heroes and share in the glory of their success, we (yes, I’m making a universal claim here) like to do the reverse with the players we don’t think deserve the money, fame, and fulfillment that comes with being a Major League Baseball player. Booing makes us feel superior, like we have the power to strip them of their glory.

It’s the same thing that drives homely people to leaf through People‘s 50 Most Beautiful issue and complain about the ugly, horse-faced, overrated choices. It’s what causes music fans to slap the “talentless” label on Grammy-winning musicians they don’t like. That’s why, I’m sure, I critique American Idol performances. Who doesn’t enjoy taking the undeservedly famous down a notch or two?

There are some who take their glory-envy to the extreme. These are the ones who hurl racial epithets at star baseball players when they would never have the nerve to do the same to an average Joe. And yes, those same people would never think of doing that to the team’s best players (even Archie Bunker thought Sammy Davis Jr. was a god). But for the players on the opposing team, the guys they just don’t like, or even the fans who get in the way, common decency goes out the window. That’s not unique to Chicago. But is it more prevalent with Cubs fans?

To those who think it’s just a few fans, I think you’re in denial. But you’re probably in denial about people in general and not just Cubs fans. There are plenty of unsavory people in this world, and quite a lot of them prove themselves as such when attending baseball games. Being a jerk might not be Americans’ favorite pastime, but it’s in the top 10. I’ve been to a lot of Cubs games and the ones that weren’t at all marred by obnoxious, rude fans have been somewhat rare. The same goes for the games I’ve attended in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Comiskey, the Cell, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Oakland.

I don’t hear racist comments at every game or even most games, but it happens. Usually someone speaks up in a “Hey cool it” kind of way. Other times it’s just a bunch of cold glares and awkward silences. But the moral outrage over racist or offensive behavior is much more common in message boards and comment threads than it is in the stands at baseball games. In my experience, this is pretty uniform no matter where you go, but over-the-line rudeness is anything but rare.

Okay, here’s the big question: why does it seem, at least to some, that offensive behavior at the stadium (and from the fans writing in at home) is worse among Cubs fans than in other fan bases? The Cubs do get more media attention than a lot of teams, but not all. And the other Chicago team has a manager who has the amazing knack of absorbing any negative publicity that comes his team’s way (seriously, the top story all spring in Cubs’ camp has been Milton Bradley, while the only White Sox news item of note has been Ozzie’s Twitter account). Could it be a century’s worth of frustration or just a stronger desire in Wrigleyville? I’m not buying it.

To me, there is one big difference at Wrigley Field that might invite an extra measure of obnoxiousness: the bleachers. I don’t think any outfield seating area is closer to the outfielders than the Wrigley Field bleachers. There’s something about the mob mentality, the fans’ high angle looking down on the lowly players, and the massive amount of liquid courage that instill in bleacher fans, a sense of superiority, entitlement, and invulnerability. The majority of fans in the bleachers are perfectly delightful, but the real snarly and hateful ones find the perfect forum atop the ivy.

The bleachers have their outspoken apologists, but plenty of other Cub fans take pride in the adversarial power wielded in the non-beer hands of the bleacher bums. Growing up, I took that view. I thought the real Cubs fans were the shouting, genuflecting soldiers in Andre’s Army, the fans who yelled insults at, dumped beer on, and generally made life hell for opposing outfielders. At some point I realized that was stupid, but I’m sure there are plenty of fans who still identify with that mentality, even some who don’t frequent Wrigley Field.

I would guess that there is a lot more rude, offensive, and even racist behavior in the bleachers than in other areas of the ballpark, so why wouldn’t I expect it to be more prevalent in the Wrigley bleachers than in other stadiums in general where the fans’ proximity to the players isn’t so pronounced? And why wouldn’t I expect that to spill over to the fans watching at home? I can’t think of a reason.

The only way I know how to conclude this monstrosity is this: I doubt Cubs fans in general are inherently any more racist or rude or offensive than any other fans. But I do suspect that Wrigley might bring out the worst in a lot of us. I think as fans we have to make a conscious effort to curb that trend.

World’s Greatest Fans

Last night I lay awake wondering about Steve Bartman. I have no idea what brought it on, but the image of him being escorted out of Wrigley Field through a barrage of trash and violent threats just seeped into my consciousness for several sorrowful minutes. And that got me thinking about what it means to be a Cubs fan and second-guessing whether I wanted to be one in 2010.

Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul ball. He was one of about ten fans (and one Cub) to do so on that particular play. He didn’t catch it. Nobody did. He didn’t even get to keep the ball. As the inning unfolded and the Cubs collapsed, frustration boiled into rage, and people wanted to kill him. Not euphemistically. Had security not stepped in, Steve Bartman probably would have been killed. By Cub fans. Greatest fans in the world.

People say they love their Cubs, but that isn’t love. It’s beyond even fanaticism. It’s less excusable than insanity. That night, Cub fans (not a minority, mind you, but a significant bloodthirsty mob of them) behaved like savage idiots toward a guy who tried to catch a foul ball at a game of no real consequence. Greatest fans in the world.

I’m tempted to say that nobody wanted the Cubs to win that night more than I did. But I hope that’s not true. I don’t know. I’ve reacted to Cub tragedy in some pretty stupid ways. I’ve screamed, thrown things across the room, punched walls, beaten up furniture. I’ve behaved like a savage idiot, sure. So am I any better than the morons who wanted to tear Steve Bartman apart? Probably not at the time. I’ll never know.

I hope the incident taught me something about how much the Cubs should matter in my life. I want very badly for the Cubs to win a World Series, but I recognize it would change nothing but the conversations. I wouldn’t be a happier person in the long run. It wouldn’t improve my quality of life. It would be a euphoric distraction from reality, but it wouldn’t change reality.

Most fans, myself included, suspend disbelief in the truth that baseball doesn’t matter. Some of us make that decision consciously; others hypnotize ourselves to avoid ever acknowledging it, creating a grotesque marriage of entertainment and self-actualization, which is sad . . . but not uncommon. Still, all of us really want the Cubs to win. Does that make us great fans, the degree to which we want them to win?

No. Neither does statistical knowledge, appreciation of opponents’ skill level, color coordination, attendance percentage, or depth of loyalty. No, I think the best fans are the ones who maintain at least a basic level of human decency and perspective through it all.

The greatest fans in the world would have stopped security from ushering Steve Bartman away from the Game 6 madness. They would have demanded that his attackers—not the victim—be ejected from the scene. If that meant that half of Wrigley must be emptied, so be it. The greatest fans in the world would not be undone by a fly ball. The greatest fans in the world would react to blunders in the same way they would want their team to respond: with enthusiasm and hope. Are Cub fans the best at that? No, but we’re getting better.

Let’s face it, Cub fans have very little playoff experience. We’re really good at staying loyal to bad teams, but we need a little more practice facing postseason adversity. I hope the ’10s offer us plenty of opportunity, but as of now . . . we aren’t the greatest. We’re prospects at best.

Happy New Year . . . please.

Why Was Paul Sullivan Ejected?

According to his Milton Bradley diary torrent of lies hatred font twitter stream, Tribune Cub beatdown artist beat writer Paul Sullivan was ejected from his Wrigley Field bleacher perch less than an hour into Game 1 of yesterday’s Dante’s Inferno Circle 6 dungeon of retribution doubleheader against the Pirates. Here’s a sample of his tweets from yesterday’s game (in reverse chronological order):

  1. Unahppy totals from 13 hours at Wrigley Field: 18 innings, two Cubs losses, 3 cups coffee, 2 diet pepsi’s, one bleacher ejection.

     from web

  2. Guy in D-Lee shirt in RF bleachers catches throw from Fuld, falls into basket. Bleacher security promptly escorts him out. I feel his pain.

     from web

  3. Sitting in the Bill Veeck seats in top section of CF bleachers. Plenty of room to stretch out for Game 2. Stop by and say hi.

     from TwitterBerry

  4. Craig Lynch, legally blind reporter for Sun-Times, was asked about Fukudome’s error, which was somehow ruled a double: “I didn’t see it.”

     from web

  5. Cubs announce crowd of 34,362, though only about 9,500 showed up and only one was escorted out of the bleachers.

     from web

  6. Uh oh. Ronnie Woo spotted me. Now he’s yelling He Was Out Woo in my ear after Blanco tag at second. Bad day gets worse.

     from TwitterBerry

  7. It’s 2 p.m. and Ronnie Woo is in Section 216. Avoiding Section 216.

     from TwitterBerry

  8. Ejected from Wrigley Field bleachers and it’s only 1:38. Cubs security escorts me out in front of eyewitnesses. Oh the indignation.

     from TwitterBerry

In his twitness, Sullivan didn’t give an explanation for what actions, words, or evil spells may have prompted the ejection from the bleachers, nor did he allude to his removal in his rundown of the doubleheader sweep. And considering it was Paul Sullivan who wrote all these tweets, there’s a very real chance it’s all made up to begin with.

So I’m begging anyone who was at game 1, all 7 of you, to please provide details. But in tribute to Paul Sullivan’s propensity for quoting unnamed sources, don’t let the facts stop you. I’d love the truth, but I’d do the dance of joy for a good unfounded theory on what he may have done to get booted.

Thank you in advance for helping me take out some frustration on a guy who helped make this season much less bearable.

Cub Fan Palette Cleanser

It’s time to wash away the angst, Cubs fans. Let’s forget about the beer throwing, name calling, justice bringing, and massive failing. Let’s have a Superman day, mmmKay? Press play, watch, and repeat until you feel spring fresh.

Confirmed: Cardinal Fans Are Full of Crap

It wasn’t a surprise to hear card-carrying Cardinal Lovers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver lavishing praise on the St. Louis fans during the All Star festivities. But I had to giggle when they started discussing the respect the Cardinal faithful show to the opposition.
The hypocrisy was in full effect during the All-Star Game introductions, as evidenced with hilarity by this clip from a Chicago Sun-Times article on the All-Star proceedings:

Coming home

Among the American League All-Stars, White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle got the loudest ovation from the crowd at Busch Stadium during pregame introductions. Buehrle said he didn’t know what to expect, but doubted he would get booed.
Buehrle — a lifelong Cardinals fan — knows St. Louis baseball fans consider him one of their own.
”I remember when I was a kid, you come here and the Cardinals could lose 1-0 and they give the other pitcher a standing ovation if he pitched a good game,” said Buehrle, who grew up 25 minutes away in St. Charles, Mo. ”They enjoyed seeing good baseball. If someone hit three home runs or had a great game offensively, they were applauding the other team instead of booing them like most stadiums where they boo the opposing teams.”

Boos for Lilly

St. Louis fans have their limits and they showed that by booing Lilly — the Cubs’ lone representative. Lilly took it in stride, smiling as he tipped his cap.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I agree that Cardinal fans are good fans. They follow their team, they wear the silly Cardinal gear, and they actually pay attention to the game. They do all the things fans are supposed to do . . . including booing the opposition. But I hate it when commentators like Buck and McCarver promote the ridiculous positive stereotype that all (or even most) Cardinal fans are prim, proper, dignified saints transported straight out of Victorian England. They can be just as rude, vulgar, vindictive, and disrespectful as the next fan.
And, like their White-Sox cheering counterparts, St. Louis fans are often consumed with anti-Cub obsession. Yes, despite the fact that both sets of fans have enjoyed multiple World Series championships since the Cubs last sniffed World Series glory, they are still preoccupied with hating on the Cubs. Why?
The answer is pretty simple. Cardinal fans are jealous. Jealous of the losing? No. Jealous of the drunken idiots populating Wrigley in ever-increasing numbers? Not so much. They’re simply jealous of the national adoration poured on a team they find undeserving of praise. Cardinal (and White Sox) fans who spontaneously spew insults at the Cubs and their fans are like People magazine readers who don’t understand why Julia Roberts keeps showing up in the “50 Most Beautiful People” issue. They just don’t get the fascination, and they hate us for it.
Okay, maybe they hate the drunken idiots and the loudmouths and the hypnotized drones who fail to recognize the success of other teams, too. But most of all, I think Cards fans resent the Cubs for being the default fan favorite of people who don’t really know or care about baseball.
If you’re a fan of the Cardinals and/or the Sox, I understand the sentiment. I understand why you don’t like the Cubs and their fans. But when you go out of your way to bash them, it just cheapens your image and your love of your teams. If it’s any consolation, a lot of us hate you, too. But most of us have the self-respect to avoid talking about you unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is one of those times.
Moving on . . .

And I Slept at a Holiday Inn Express

So I was at the game last night. And as I watched firsthand as Carlos Marmol stepped on to the mound seemingly possessed by both Good Rex and Bad Rex, I got to thinking about one of the most annoying phrases in sports fan commentary: “I was at the game, and . . . “

I love how people (including myself for at least a brief moment of Lou-doubting during one of Bad Rex’s demonic spurts of wildness) think that being at the game qualifies them as some sort of premier expert about anything that happened during the game. It usually takes the form of the “if I was the manager” observation:

Well, I was at the game, and I can tell you, Lilly was done. I don’t know how Lou could leave him in there, ‘cuz he had nuttin’ left.

As if Lou was not at the game. Too bad he didn’t buy a ticket and watch from Section 512 Row 19 Seat 3, or else he would have known Lilly’s night was done. Or there are the Terrace Reserved psychologists who, from being at the game, know exactly what every player was thinking:

Oh, you could tell, that pitch that hit Soriano wasn’t a mistake. I was at the game, and you could see the pitcher glaring right at him the whole time the ball was in the air. From where I was sitting, there was no question; he plunked him on purpose.
Again, too bad the umpire couldn’t have had a view from “almost right behind third base and then like twenty rows up.” The pitcher and manager would have been ejected immediately along with any fan wearing a Padres jersey. 
What is it about possessing a ticket stub (although, they aren’t even ticket stubs anymore) that makes people think they’re geniuses? From my experience, I always have a much better idea about what’s going on when I’m watching the game on TV than when I’m sitting in front of some drunken chanting idiot who thinks it’s funny to comment on every person in the stadium.
That’s what people in attendance should be saying. “Yeah, I was at the game, and food costs too much. And Cub fans are great and all . . . but the loudest ones are usually complete idiots.” Or, “I was at the game, and I missed all the replays. What the heck happened on that ball Fukudome misread? I got distracted by this old dude in front of me picking his giant nose.”
I don’t know if Lou makes all the right moves or if Theriot is a mind reader. But I do know this: these two pictures were taken exactly 24 seconds apart from each other. The grounds crew rolled out the tarp, and then rolled it right back in again. I was at the game, and it was hilarious.