The Unforgotten

rod_blagjojevich.jpgWhen Chicagoans have lost interest in a political scandal, then it’s safe to say, so has the rest of the country.

Anything wrong with that?  Not in my opinion.  In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.

Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.

Good riddance.

In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down.  The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity.  So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.

Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smithsthe inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens.  Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes.  And so I begin…

Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”

Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus.  I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”

“Ball move too much, man.”

I’m still laughing at that one.

“Yes We Can” Viral Video

Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.

Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs.  A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.

Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992

As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.

Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.

Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.

Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero.  To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get.  Yadi, you out there, pal?  Let’s hook that up.

Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew.  Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.”  She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP.  I know she’s still smiling about that one.

Post 9/11 Baseball in New York

I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall. 

I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.




  1. juliasrants

    Jeffy – even we die-hard Red Sox still get goose bumps when we think of that first baseball game played in Shea Stadium after 9/11 and the World Series games in Yankee stadium. Bill Clinton’s speech still inspires as does the “Yes We Can” song. As much as your grandmother is in heaven smiling, I know that after all these years my mom is smiling at how well her Bruins are doing this season – I think she just wishes that Terry O’Reilly was still playing!


  2. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    Oh my God. That Cubs video was fantastic. Purely wonderful. The Bobby Jenks sign is great. It will never get old. I’ve been in a bar when there’s a save opportunity for Bobby, and it’s hilarious to see a bunch of people all looking at the screen when it goes to commercial, making that sign. The “Yes We Can” video is awesome. A friend of mine linked that too me during the campaign, and I forgot to favorite it on YouTube. Now I can! The Brian Anderson catch made my day. There’s nothing that can top that today. Thank you, sir. And now I’m more excited for baseball than I was yesterday…which I didn’t think was possible.

  3. Elizabeth D.

    Like we’ve said before, baseball is always there. Whenever I’m at a baseball game, or watching one for that matter, I just forget about everything else. I just watch the game, I just think about the game, and nothing else. In the darkest of times, it will still be there. Very nice collaboration of moments.

  4. PAUL

    You’re pretty dialed in over there, so if you’ve convicted Blago, I’ll assume he’s guilty; but from what they’ve disclosed publicly, it seems as if they’ve already decided he’s guilty before anything’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt; did he say to someone specifically, “Pay me and you’ll be the senator” or has he indulged in other corrupt activities? Because there’s not much out there for me to say, “oh, he did it” so far.

  5. redstatebluestate

    Julia — Boston v. Washington this week. That’ll be a good one.
    Jen — I was at Jimbo’s when I saw that catch. Some party that night down here!
    Jane — A grandma who knows baseball is something special indeed.
    Elizabeth — The sun never sets on this game. That we can count on (well, except the major league mistakes of ’81, ’94… but hopefully never again).
    Prince — From the evidence that’s been made public I think it’s pretty clear that he was on the way to doing something egregiously wrong. I don’t care about the criminal case. I’m talking about the governorship here. The impeachment process requires no evidence whatsoever of a criminal act against the impeached. If the people (represented by the Illinois legislature) decide they don’t want him in (for his questionable albeit not yet proven business practices or the color of his socks — it doesn’t matter) then he’s out. That’s the power we the people have. Blago’s long been a shady character — from his early days as a bookie for the mob up to threatening the Chicago Tribune to trying to sell one of the most precious parts of Illinois politics, he ain’t on my team. Adios.

  6. redbirdchatter

    Thanks Jeff…you have no idea how much that makes me yearn for the 2009 season to begin. I can’t wait to see Wainwright’s curve once more and Yadi at the plate, behind the plate or perhaps simply holding a plate. It’s January. I’ll take anything at this point. Great post!

  7. redstatebluestate

    Thanks, Kathy! I can’t wait either! Btw, went to your blog but couldn’t comment there… in fact, I couldn’t even see a “comment section”. Isolated event perhaps? Seemed like the design layout ate up the comment box. I don’t know for sure.

  8. redstatebluestate

    I’d say about four (large cups… as in 12 oz. each). Three extras on top of the four is just too much. It’s what happens when it’s cold out… and then I start to shake.

  9. joefromnewhampshire

    I read a Buster Olney blog sometime last season that some baseball players consumed huge amounts of coffee. One player, can’t remember who, would drink the equivalent of like 12 cups of coffee all day before the game. Some of the increase in coffee consumption was probably in relation to the decrease in illegal drug use, as Buster wrote it right after the testing program improved.

  10. Erin Kathleen

    Counterpoint: Anderson’s catch was one of the worst moments of my life. Second only to that Thome home run. ugh.

    Also, no love for Pujols’ three-run bomb off of Brad Lidge? As I recall, it took the poor guy nearly two seasons to recover from the trauma.

  11. redbirdchatter

    Thanks for letting me know. It worked on both my home and work pc, but I got another comment saying there was a problem. I took out the embedded video player and just left a link to the video. If you get a chance, let me know if that fixed the problem.

  12. redstatebluestate

    Joe — I’m not too surprised by that… what I wonder is how many bathroom breaks would that cause. Imagine playing SS having to “go”.
    Erin — Yes, the AP bomb off Lidge is up there, but like other great Cardinal moments… that’s just sort of a given. I was going for the lesser knowns. Sorry about 10/1/2008. I live on the Southside, so I gotta support the home team when I can 😉
    Kathy — Cool. I’ll try it out!

  13. Erin Kathleen

    It’s okay, Jeff. I’ve gotten over it. I’m not really mad at the Sox, either, since there would’ve been no need for a 163rd game if the Twins could’ve taken care of business against the freakin’ Royals. They probably would’ve just gotten swept by the Rays anyway, so maybe it was for the best.

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