First, an apology to my four readers (if you're still checking the site) for my absence over the past couple of weeks. I have been shirking my (nearly) once a week posting responsibilities and for that I am sorry. I could make up some elaborate story involving a South American drug cartel and an exchange that went bad, but I respect you all too much for that. Truthfully, I was lazy and the Cubs were (mostly) playing like poop. Apart from the Cardinal series, which every Cubs fan is contractually obligated to watch, I really wasn't even watching them play that much for fear of a remote control becoming lodged in my nice TV.
So when I left on a trip to to Bar Harbor last week for some R&R and my brother's wedding, I wasn't that concerned that I would be unable to see my beloved team play. In fact, I was relishing the chance to hear nothing about them for nearly a week.
I learned a lot about the Cubs (among other things) during my trip and I thought I might share them with you.
1) Vacationing with Cubs fans makes ignoring them impossible.
Of the 100 people at the wedding, I would guess that nearly half were from Chicago and 90% of those were Cubs fans. That meant no matter where I went last week, the Cubs were there with me. At the bar, someone was always telling me the score. At the pool, someone always wanted to discuss last night's game. At the wedding, we were always circling back to discussions that were Cubs related. There was no avoiding them. Next time I'm going to Papua New Guinea...alone.
2) It's easier to pretend you don't care when the Nationals are prominently involved.
Sweet eight pound baby Jesus are the Nats terrible. They are so bad that it's not even jinx-worthy to assume a series victory and not really that big of a leap of faith to predict a sweep. That makes it a hell of a lot easier to "ignore" the games.
3) USA Today has the worst sports section in the world.
When you aren't paying attention to scores at night and have little access to the Internet while on vacation, the morning paper is your best friend. Unless, however, that paper is the USA Today. So when I opened up the sports section on Friday morning in hopes of checking the box scores, imagine my shock when the paper listed to final scores. TWO. The Cubs game and one other. Apparently, the USA Today goes to press around 9 PM ET so even games like Reds at Brewers get the "late game" treatment. How can you even call it a sports section when you report on 2 of 16 games each night?
4) XM Radio kicks ass. The Nats announcers do not.
As we began our trip back to the airport in the rental car, I discovered the wonder that is XM radio and their MLB Play-By-Play stations. Any game you want, even the Nats, is just a button click away. Unfortunately, however, you are subjected to the hometown announcers and the Nationals have a couple of mouth-breathers. Before the game got mercifully out of hand, we had to listen to a 15-minute story about Hawaii's minor league team that had nothing to do with the game followed (without segue) by what seemed like a two-hour story about pancakes. Throw in the fact that they refused to tell us what was happening most of the time and almost never referred to the Cubs players by name and it may have been the worst announcing crew I have ever heard.
Hawk Harrelson, I owe you an apology.
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