Archive for the ‘ESPN’ Tag

Ron Santo, Chicago Legend…   2 comments


On the day of one of the very first Bulls games of this season, I realized after I had already arrived at work that I would not be home in time to catch the beginning of the game.  No problem, I thought, I will just call my wife and have her DVR it for me.  I made the call, she set the DVR, and all was well.  When I sat down to start the game recording I was hit with a tough realization – my wife had DVR’d the game on ESPN and not WCIU.  To those of you that do not realize what this means, I was unable to watch the game with hometown announcers Neil Funk and Stacey King.  Instead, I was forced to watch the game listening to national broadcasters who could care less about Chicago sports.  I told my wife about this and she didn’t understand why I would care about what announcers are covering the game.

I immediately told her about Ron Santo and it all seemed to make sense.

Due to the long hours of my job, over the past three years I have listened to countless Cubs games on the radio.  Ron Santo was the quintessential “homer” commentator and he refused to care what others thought of it.  Listening to Ron and his “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!”, “ALLLLL RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!”, and “OHHH NOOOOOOOO!!” brought me to the ballpark in a seat next to a fan I could always count on.  By no means was Ron the best commentator out there.  He will never be accused of giving listeners too many breakdowns of upcoming pitch possibilities or strategies; however, he gave us all something more important – heart.  Ron wore his heart on his sleeve and, no matter when you tuned into WGN 720, you always knew the state of the game just by the tone of Ron’s voice.  He loved the Chicago Cubs and the fans with every fiber of his being and he gave every fan who listened to him a true sense of companionship through each high or low.  We never went through anything alone, we always had Ron.

Ron’s on the field accomplishments speak for themselves.  I am not writing this as a petition to have him inducted into the Hall of Fame because at this point I think that induction would be useless and, quite frankly, an insult to Ron.  Ron Santo has always been a Hall of Famer to Cubs fans.  Plaque or no plaque, that will never change.

The Chicago sports community lost a legend and friend today.  In an era where the game of baseball has been tainted with innumerable allegations of performance enhancing drugs and Senate investigative committees, there was something pure and innocent about sitting back and listening to the Cubbies with your buddies Ron and Pat.  Thanks for all the memories, Ron.  Although we won’t be able to hear you when the Cubbies finally win it all, me and each and every member of Cubs nation will have you in our hearts.

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Posted December 3, 2010 by joejack7500 in Chicago Cubs, Life, MLB, Sports

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Go Figure This Blog Starts With the NBA…   3 comments


A few weeks back, thanks to Bill Simmons of ESPN.com, I watched a YouTube video  of Dwight Howard working out with Hakeem Olajuwon this past summer.  In between segments of Hakeem teaching Howard the “Dream Shake” and other fantastic low post moves, Howard was being interviewed and seemed absolutely genuine about making a leap and becoming the most dominant big man this game has ever seen.          

The thing with Howard is he already has a body and the athletic ability to pull off such a feat.  There has never been a player with Howard’s combination of height, brute strength, and quickness.  The closest thing most of us have ever seen to him is a young Shaq and, unfortunately, Shaq is a player that never realized his true level of greatness.  Howard was and could still be on that same track.  Both players are lovable, jokester guys who enjoy being interviewed and making other people laugh.  There is nothing wrong with that, but you cannot have the edge that both players are missing and the jovial personalities both men possess.  Why do you think Maverick only had one friend in Top Gun?  He had “the edge” and people didn’t like him because of it; however, that is exactly what made him a better pilot than Iceman.  And if I recall correctly, everyone did end up liking Maverick just fine after he saved everyone’s ass when the Migs showed up at the end. 

 The reason why I think we could finally be on the brink of witnessing the absolute most dominant center to ever play the game of basketball is because of the talk of the NBA off-season and focus of ESPN’s site “Heat Check” – the Miami Heat.  The two teams are separated by a little more than 200 miles of retirement communities and I am sure no other NBA team has seen more about the Heat than the neighboring Magic.  For the first time, Howard actually seems pissed off about something.  His body language during interviews changes from over-sized “It’s a Small World” character to Tony Montana-like when the “Miami Thrice” comes up.  He was quoted recently as saying about the Heat, “We’re trying to take their heads off,” which is not exactly something the fun-loving man of steel we have come to know would say with an ear to ear smile.

Howard is already a dominant force in the league averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds a game over his career.  What is the ceiling on a player with his physical gifts if he is playing with the grudge of a Confederate widow?  I don’t think we can even begin to imagine that until we see it, and I hope we do.  Selfishly, I hope Howard plays with that reckless abandonment that we saw from Maverick’s flying in Top Gun.  I hope his talent doesn’t go wasted and he doesn’t end up just another washed up player who never quite realized his potential sitting with Ernie on Inside the NBA.  Like Lorenzo tells his son in A Bronx Tale, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”