Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays from JOBC

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. JOBC will be here throughout, bringing you new material every weekday. Stop by occasionally and say hello.

We've got some new features planned for next year too that we think you'll really enjoy. We'll have more information about the new features in 2009...the beginning of year 101.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all the best for a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cub fan, Jail man

Here's a picture of Governor Rod Blagojevic on Opening Day last year at Wrigley Field. He was there for the unveiling of the Ernie statue.

I don't know Rod personally (I met him twice in passing--the last time was at Game 2 of the 2008 playoffs), but I understand he really is a die-hard Cubs fan since childhoood.

On the other hand, I just read the statement from Patrick Fitzgerald. One of the potential charges involves extorting the Tribune to fire editorial staff in exchange for the state securing the sale of Wrigley Field.

That is so Cubs.

A die-hard Cubs fan may be going to jail for (among other things) trying to extort the Cubs, and in the process helps to make our state the laughing stock of the nation.

That is so Cubs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Santo rejected again

I can't believe it. The Hall of Fame rejected Ron Santo again today. (Here's the article)

He fell nine votes short.

I'm glad for Ron that he didn't allow cameras to be there this year when he got (or didn't get) the call. I know it broke his heart, but at least he didn't have to try and put a good face on it for the cameras.

We feel your pain, Ron. It's moments like this that inspired us to create our logo.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Greg Maddux

I know you probably won't be going into the Hall of Fame with a Cubs hat (or that mustache), but you'll always be a Cub to us. Congrats on a great career, Greg, and Larry Himes--we'll hate you forever. (No offense pal, but wow did you blow that one.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Til Next Year

I wanted to alert you to a perfect Cubs Christmas present idea. It's a book called "Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting til Next Year," and it comes out on December 14th.

This book is a collection of some pretty incredible essays about the Cubs, including contributions from Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune & WGN), Dave Hoekstra (Chicago Sun Times), author Sara Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawski books), NPR's Scott Simon, author James Finn Garner (Politically Correct Fairy Tales), WXRT's Lin Brehmer, WSCR's Mike Murphy, and even one from your humble Just One Bad Century editor-in-chief, Rick Kaempfer.

You can get the book through the publisher at Can't Miss Press. They are taking pre-orders now! Or you can stop by one of the book signing events listed below. Note: I will be there on December 14th at Sheffield's. Please stop by, I'd love to meet you.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2008, 10 a.m. - noon: FIRST OFFICIAL BOOK SIGNING, ORIGINAL BILLY GOAT TAVERN & GRILL (430 N. Michigan Ave., Lower Level, Chicago, IL 60611, 312.222-1525): What a perfect place to start. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin called the Billy Goat "a national institution." It's our favorite subterranean saloon and eatery. From table to table and across every barstool, there's an echo of "wait till next year." It's a mantra all diehard Cub fans know by heart. Sammy Sianis, who owns the Billy Goat, knows it well, too. His uncle, the orginal owner, was famous for trying to bring a goat into Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The Cubs haven't been back to the Fall Classic since and the longer they go without a title (it's at 100 years and counting) the more the legendary Curse of the Billy Goat grows. Judy Royko, widow of legendary columnist Mike Royko, will be on hand to sign books. All book buyers will get a complimentary cheeseburger from the Billy Goat. Books and burgers - does it get any better than that?

SHEFFIELD’S (3258 N. SHEFFIELD AVE., CHICAGO, IL 60657, 773.281.4989): Help us celebrate the official release. There will be a free appetizer buffet, beer and drink specials, and contributor Dave Hoekstra will spin his eclectic Cubs music collection as guest DJ. Other contributors such as Sara Paretsky, James Finn Garner,Don De Grazia, Jonathan Eig, Stuart Shea, Rick Kaempfer, Ric Hess, Christine Sneed, Julia Borcherts, Mary Beth Hoerner, Robert Goldsborough, Donald Evans and Randy Richardson will also be there to sign copies of the book. At 8:30, publisher George Rawlinson will lead a toast and there will be s special guest appearances and comments by Pat Brickhouse, Shawon-O-Meter creator Dave Cihla and others.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Cubbie Christmas

I got an e-mail this week from the man behind the Cubbie Christmas CD. He sent me a sample of one of the songs, and I must say...I love it.

I love the whole idea of entire CD of Cubbie Christmas songs. If you'd like to check it out yourself, click here. And by all means, have a happy Cubbie Christmas.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You can leave your hat on...

We just got a new shipment of JOBC Hats in. Order yours today. It makes a perfect Christmas present.

It looks good on both boys and girls...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bringing America Together

In the spirit of bringing this country together, I'm going to do something that I never imagined doing in my lifetime. I'm going to vote for a Chicago White Sox fan to become the President of the United States, and I urge my fellow Cubs fans to do the same.

On the other hand, I'm not counting on that happening. This is an e-mail from reader DS. He writes:

I can't vote for Obama. His entire platform is designed to help Sox fans. His tax plan allows people to declare mullets as dependents. He is encouraging the freedom to choose a single or double-wide trailer, and strongly supports veterans, giving tax breaks to teams that carry 3 designated hitters making an average of 12 million per year. Plus, in his health care plan, he's specifically offering comprehensive dental coverage. He's even soft on immigration and won't go after certain Venezuelans, no matter how obscene their press conferences become. That's not change we can believe in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

RIP Studs Terkel

This is the way I'll always remember Studs Terkel who died today at the age of 96. In this 1984 video clip he talks about the Cubs, and how he wishes they would return to their losing ways because it's much more interesting than winning. Studs got 96 years of interesting. RIP to a great Chicagoan.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Smiling, but crying

She's smiling because the team with the most losses in history, and the most ex-Cubs on their roster (Jamie Moyer, Scott Eyre, and Matt Stairs, and heck first base coach Davey Lopes), won the World Series tonight. Her shirt is crying because there's another team that had gone far far longer without a championship.


But doesn't that shirt look good? Where on earth can you get one of those? Oh wait a minute...are they available here? Why yes they are...along with those cool Crying Cub hats that are flying off our shelves.

By the way, I know this shows what a complete and utter geek I am, but when Eric Hinske came to the plate I said to my boys: "He's going to make the last out. He's a former Cubs draft choice" (17th round in 1998...traded to the A's for Miguel Cairo). Sure enough. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The (Ex) Cubs are winning the World Series!

Mike Royko always said that no team with 3 or more ex-Cubs could ever win a World Series. That was true until 2001, when the Diamondbacks won it all with Mark Grace, Luis Gonzales, and Miguel Batista on the roster.

It may be happening again this year. Look at what happened in Game 3.

This old guy (even older than me!) pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up only 3 runs, and left with the lead.

This guy (Scott Eyre) came in to the game to relieve Moyer, and closed the door on the explosive Tampa Bay lineup the rest of that 7th inning.

The only thing that was missing was a pinch hit home run by this guy (Matt Stairs).

This is why I'm rooting for the Phillies in the World Series. It may be as close as we can get.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The merchandise is in the mail

We got so many orders in the JOBC Souvenir Stand over the last few weeks that we temporarily ran out of stock. Never fear! The new shipment is in, and we sent out all the back-ordered t-shirts on Thursday. The hat orders go out on Friday.

Plus, our stock is now completely replenished, so if you've been waiting to place your order, now is the time to do it...

Whether you want our very popular "Crying Cub" shirt

Or our unbelievably popular Crying Cub hat

Or our signature "JOBC Logo" shirt

Or our "Losing is sooo last century" shirt

Or our "Great-Great Grandfather shirt" (Note: The model for this shirt is not related to the other models.)

We've got 'em in stock, so order away. Here's a link to the Souvenir Stand.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

E-mails, we get e-mails...

I've gotten quite a few touching e-mails since the season ended. Here are three of my favorites...

This one is from Reed...

There have long been T-shirts reading, "Baseball is life. The rest is just details." I think baseball was first with this often-copied refrain, and there is reason for it. Other sports are posers. Baseball is a metaphor for life, and it's why the game has such a strong hold on so many of us. You are teaching your kids well by helping them to love the game. (Rick's note: Reed is referring to my piece about raising my boys to be Cubs fans.)

Baseball starts in the spring, our world's time of new growth, hope, and a full future. It is a grind, played day after day, like life itself. There are good days and bad. For six months every year, it is always there, a friend ready to engage us. It teaches loyalty. It rewards perseverence. It is unchanging, a link to our past, which has been lost in so many other ways.

Then, like life, it ends. For most of us, it ends in resignation that those dreams were never close to coming true. For some, it ends in heartbreak. Only a few reach the mountaintop, but even for them, it ends. The flowers fade. The leaves fall. Your friend, so omipresent for so long, has gone. The winter is cold, dark, and empty.

That's when only our belief that spring will come again carries us forward. That the world will bloom again, that the days will be warm, that there is promise in next season.

I believe that it's not whether you win or lose. It's that you played.

This one is from Andy...

I surrender. I give up. My white flag is flying. I now concede that the Cubs will never win a championship in my lifetime. Game 2's second inning summed it all up for me, and made it clear. No matter how good a team they are, they will never be able to put it all together. My beloved Cubbies will never "drink from the chalice of champions."

And there's no Bartman to blame this year. No black cat. No Leon Durham or Steve Garvey. And really, no billy goat. They just stare in the face of 100 years of futility and play not to lose, rather than to win, and that is a recipe for disaster.

Don't get me wrong, I still love them. And I won't be getting rid of my Cubs gear, taking down the pictures of Wrigley in my office, renaming my dog or taking a piece of sandpaper to my shoulder. I'll still root for them. And next March I'll think, somewhere in my head, "maybe THIS is the year." But deep down I'll know.

This is from Gary...

So, here we go again:

It's deathly quiet in Cubbyville, USA. The air is thick with gloom and doom. Brush in hand, the Joker with his satanic Jack Nicholson smile is painting the town --- Black. And Batman, like Cubs hitters, is nowhere in sight.

True Cubs fans know about "The Curse." But during the regular season they were prone not to mention it for fear of it continuing. But just before the NLCS Cubs management made a bold move to address the issue without using the word "Curse". A Priest was brought to Wrigley. He blessed the stadium and sprinkled holy water throughout the Cubs dugout.

But, to no avail. "The Curse" continues.

But by next April this will have dimmed and the die-hards will be telling anyone who will listen: "Hey, any team can have a bad millennium."

Kevin Foster dies

Such a sad story. He was only 39 years old when he succumbed to cancer Saturday. The Tribune has the details.

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Rip Jobs

Here are two videos. First of all, SNL (and Cubs fan Bill Murray) take their shots at the beloved. It's pretty funny (go to the 3:30 remaining point if you don't want to watch the whole thing).

This is also the official Daily Show version of the video ripping Cubs fans. Again, we must be able to laugh at ourselves...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Grandfather shirt

I wasn't even thinking today when I went to the store wearing my "Grandfather" shirt. I must have been stopped by a dozen people asking me where I got it. I got it right here at JOBC. It's on the second page of our apparel section in the Souvenir Stand (along with our Toothless onesie), so a lot of people have missed it. Trust me, both of those items on page 2 are conversation starters.

Mean-mails, we get mean-mails

The one downside of running your own Cubs website is that when the Cubs inevitably blow it, a certain element of society jumps out of their dens of darkness to rub your face in it. You know who they are...they might be e-mailing you too.

Instead of questioning what kind of a person takes joy in additional suffering for people who have experienced nothing but misery for a century (I have a word for them, but this is a family site), I read each e-mail as if it comes from a totally sane person.

Looking at it that way allows me to suspend my sensitivity, and appreciate the mean humor. I've even gotten a few pictures that actually made me laugh. Here are my two favorites so far...

This one hit a little too close to home, but I must admit--it's funny...

This next one is labeled "New Cubs Flag." Gotta say...pretty funny.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Daily Show rips Cubs fans

This is sad. I watch this show every night, but I didn't watch Tuesday night because of the debate. And what did they do the first time my back was turned? They ripped and me, Cubs fans.

Take a look. The video quality isn't great, but you get the idea.

Daily Show breaks down "undecided voters"

Thank you, Sun Times

Elliott Harris had another nice little writeup (and picture) about us in the Sun-Times today. It was the lead item in his column. He writes: "The fine folks at report sales of their T-shirt have increased since the Cubs were swept by the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Possibly because of the Cubbie with a teardrop. Plans for next season (for the Internet site, not the Cubs) call for a slight adjustment so that the T-shirt will read ''1908-2008 -- and counting.''"

Thanks Elliott! Get your t-shirts here.

Cubs fans selling loyalty on eBay

And I thought I was ticked off...

Read this article in today's Tribune: Fan puts Cubs loyalty up for sale on eBay.

He's only 30 years old too. My guess is that the next time they're good, he'll be sucked in again. (And so will we...sigh)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

E-mails, we get e-mails...

I've gotten e-mails from all over the country since (the event we won't speak of), but this is one that really touched me. It was from an Angels fan...

As a fan of the *other* team that really deserved to advance to the World Series this year, I just want you to know that I think you've got a great site here. I'm a believer in history and think that what you've done to present it, both in content and in tone, is excellent.

So many other teams - including the Angels - have gotten spoiled by frequent trips to the playoffs and become unjustly frustrated by not getting to the World Series every time they think they are due. We gotta remember there are 29 other teams out there also working for that goal and that the joy of the sport is an important part of the reward, regardless of how the season ends.

For what it's worth, I really do hope that the Cubs make it to the World Series soon. And as much as I'd like to see the Angels go back too, I kinda hope that we never have to face the Cubs there, at least until the Cubs finally notch another World Championship for themselves. I just know that the all the world except our own fans would be rooting for the Cubs. And if the Cubs play anyone but the Angels (loyalty is loyalty), I'll be rooting for them too.

Best Regards,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Second Thoughts

One of my day jobs is writing a column for NWI Parent magazine. I have a weekly column called "Father Knows Nothing" in which I write about the challenges of raising my three boys.

This week I wrote a column that might hit home for you too. It's about the second thoughts I'm feeling now about raising my kids to become Cubs fans. You can read it here.

Viva Dane Placko!

Dane Placko is a good friend of mine, and has been a welcome contributor to the site this season with his great Cubs stories. You may have seen this video, this video, or this video previously.

But Dane's day job is reporter/anchor on Fox-32 News in Chicago. This past weekend he combined his love of the Cubs with newscaster job on his Sunday morning show, and it was a classic. Dane the reporter interviewed Dane the Cubs fan.

You've got to watch the video here

Get your JOBC merchandise!

The stuff has been flying off the shelves since the end of the (unmentionable events of the past week).

Thanks to Elliott Harris of the Chicago Sun Times for printing this lovely picture today.

If you haven't yet checked out our Souvenir Stand, it's right here. The shirt and the hat in this picture are both available there, as are a few other designs. We've also got a nice selection of 1908 Cubs merchandise if you'd like to own a piece of history...of a Cubs team that actually did win the World Series.

By the way, this shirt is available now too. Can you think of a more accurate representation of your feelings right now?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hot off the Presses...

Your humble Editor-in-Chief made the rounds on Friday.

Channel 2 reporter Kristyn Hartman came out to my house to film a piece for the 6:00 News. She also posted this story on their website.

I also spoke to the Associated Press, and this report from AP writer Don Babwin is all over the country today.

Overheard at the Wrigley Field troughs

This is an actual conversation I overheard while standing at the Wrigley Field troughs after the game...

Young Guy to my right: (screaming) Don't worry! We'll get 'em next game.

Old Guy to my left: (leaning over to see who said it) How old are you kid?

Young Guy to my right: 25.

Old Guy to my left: (Sigh)

The old guy looked at me and we nodded to each other. Not another word needed to be said.

Dane Placko is right...

I saw Dane at the game last night, and told him that I really thought he had his finger on the problem when he did this video for us a few months ago.

It has nothing to do with a curse. Either that, or God really isn't a Catholic.

Lou Piniella doesn't believe in curses either.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Great article about Cubs playoff history

The best article about the Cubs playoff history should have appeared in a Chicago newspaper, but no. Looks like the New York Times has chosen to cover the Cubs this year since neither NY team is in the playoffs.

This is pretty interesting, though. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1908 vs. 2008: Starting pitching

Between now and the end of the season we're going to compare the last Cubs championship team to this year's future championship team. Next stop: Pitchers. We're only highlighting the top 4 starters, because that's all you'll see in the playoffs.

Mordecai Three Finger Brown vs. Carlos Zambrano

Brown had one of the best seasons in Cubs history in 1908, winning 29 games, saving another 5, and compiling an ERA of 1.47. He was a big game pitcher, the man who rescued the Cubs time after time. He also won two of the games in the World Series (game 1 in relief, and game 4 as the starter). Brown remains the best pitcher in Cubs history--and is a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame. On the other hand, Carlos Zambrano did something in 2008 that Brown did not do in 1908...he pitched a no-hitter. While Zambrano is not a Hall of Famer yet, over the past five years, he has been the best pitcher on the Cubs, and one of the best in baseball. Cubs fans worry about him in the playoffs, however. Zambrano is a volatile volcano...ready to erupt at any moment.

Orval Overall vs. Ryan Dempster

Dempster actually won more games (17) in 2008 than Overall (15) did in 1908, but good old Orval had ice water in his veins. Like Brown, he was often used to pitch in relief. Orval has the distinction of being the last Cubs pitcher to win a World Series deciding game. (He also won a game in the 1907 World Series). Like Overall, Dempster is no stranger to relief, having been the Cubs closer for several seasons before 2008. Dempster led the Cubs in wins, and his 2.96 ERA is a testament to his excellent season. While Overall was a serious college boy from California, Dempster is the key to the loose Cubs clubhouse. His temperament is the exact opposite of Zambrano.

Big Ed Reulbach vs. Ted Lilly

1908 was Reulbach's best season by far. He won 23 games, including a crucial double-header (yes you read that correctly) in September. He pitched shutouts in both games, and remains the only player to do that in baseball history. Reulbach was a tough competitor, but he was also a free spirit. In July he missed the team train because he tried to buy some fried chicken at a stop in Cleveland. Reulbach was so hot down the stretch in 1908, he got the ball in Game 1 of the World Series. He had some trouble in the game, and was rescued by Mordecai Brown. Ted Lilly had his own difficulties in the 2007 playoffs, but during his two seasons in Chicago, he has consistently been the pitcher the Cubs count on to stop losing streaks. He also pitched the best game of his career in 2008, a one-hitter over the Astros in Milwaukee (the day after Zambrano's no-hitter.)

Jack Pfiester vs. Rich Harden

Pfiester and Harden share one undeniable trait: they are both injury prone. Pfiester started the 1908 season by injuring his thumb when he couldn't get it unstuck from a bowling ball, and had several other injuries during the season. He only managed to win 12 games, but a few of those wins came in crucial games against the arch rival of the Cubs--the New York Giants. That's why Pfiester was known as Jack the Giant Killer. Success began to elude him at the end of the season, however. He had to be removed after 2/3 of an inning in the one-game playoff against the Giants, and was the only Cubs pitcher to lose a World Series game in 1908 (Game 3). Harden came to the Cubs in mid-season with a reputation of being so fragile, the Cubs treated him with kid gloves after his arrival. When he was on the mound, however, his stuff was absolutely electric, and his ERA was among the lowest in the big leagues in 2008.

Ex-Cubs with Rings

In the coming days there will be a lot of talk about the Cubs not winning the World Series in 100 years, and not having even played in one since 1945. Both of those facts are undeniably true. But don't let anyone tell you that Cubs players have never won the World's just that they did it after leaving the Cubs.

The following is a comprehensive list of Cubs players who have not only won World Series rings since 1945, but who have also played in those World Series and actually contributed to the championship.*

*(For the sake of our list here, we're not including those who won World Series before coming to the Cubs, or those who made a World Series roster, but didn't play in the Series.)

In reverse order...

In the '00s and the '90s...

Julian Tavarez (2007 Red Sox) – Cubs 2001
Mark Bellhorn (2004 Red Sox) – Cubs 2002-2003
Bill Mueller (2004 Red Sox) – Cubs 2001-2002
Mark Grace (2001 Diamondbacks) – Cubs 1988-2000
Luis Gonzalez (2001 Diamondbacks) – Cubs 1995-1996
Miguel Batista (2001 Diamondbacks) – Cubs 1997
Jose Viscaino (2000 Yankees) – Cubs 1991-1993
GlenAllen Hill (2000 Yankees) – Cubs 1993-1994, 1998-2000
Joe Girardi (1996, 1998, 1999 Yankees) – Cubs 1989-1992, 2000-2002
Alex Arias (1997 Marlins) – Cubs 1992
Dwight Smith (1995 Braves) – Cubs 1989-1993
Greg Maddux (1995 Braves) – Cubs 1986-1992, 2004-2006
Joe Carter (1992, 1993 Blue Jays) – Cubs 1983
Pat Tabler (1992 Blue Jays) – Cubs 1981-1982
Billy Hatcher (1990 Reds) – Cubs 1984-1985

In the 70s and 80s...

Dennis Eckersley (1989 Athletics) – Cubs 1984-1986
Jay Howell (1988 Dodgers) – Cubs 1981
Joe Niekro (1987 Twins) – Cubs 1967-1969
George Frazier (1987 Twins) – Cubs 1984-1986
Willie Hernandez (1984 Tigers) – Cubs 1977-1983
Bruce Sutter (1982 Cardinals) – Cubs 1976-1980
Rick Monday (1981 Dodgers) – Cubs 1972-1976
Greg Gross (1980 Phillies) – Cubs 1977-1978
Bill Madlock (1979 Pirates) – Cubs 1974-1976
Matt Alexander (1979 Pirates) – Cubs 1973-1974

Fred Norman (1975, 1976 Reds) – Cubs 1964-1967
Billy North (1974 Athletics) – Cubs 1971-1972
Ken Holtzman (1972, 1973, 1974 Athletics) – Cubs 1965-1971
Bob Miller (1971 Pirates) – Cubs 1970-1971
Moe Drabowsky (1966, 1970 Orioles) – Cubs 1956-1960

In the 40s, 50s, & 60s

Don Cardwell (1969 Mets) – Cubs 1960-1962
Lou Brock (1964, 1967 Cardinals) – Cubs 1961-1964
Lou Johnson (1965 Dodgers) – Cubs 1960
Jim Brewer (1965 Dodgers) – Cubs 1960-1963
Barney Schultz (1964 Cardinals) – Cubs 1962-1963
Dale Long (1962 Yankees) – Cubs 1958-1959
Smokey Burgess (1960 Pirates) – Cubs 1949-1951
Don Hoak (1960 Pirates) – Cubs 1956
Gene Baker (1960 Pirates) – Cubs 1953-1957
Johnny Klipstein (1959 Dodgers) – Cubs 1950-1954

Andy Pafko (1957 Braves) – Cubs 1943-1951
Carl Sawatski (1957 Braves) – Cubs 1948-1953
Russ Meyer (1955 Dodgers) – Cubs 1946-1948
Lonnie Frey (1947 Yankees) – Cubs 1937
Bobo Newsom (1947 Yankees) – Cubs 1932

(Photo: Andy Pafko baseball card)

Let me know if I missed anyone, and I'll add them to the list.