I Saw 100

I got up at 6:30 yesterday morning knowing full well that after working two of my three current day jobs that I was going to drive three hours to Chicago, take the park ‘n’ ride bus to Wrigley, see my last Cubs game of the year, drive three hours home, and be up at 6:30 this morning and it might all possibly be for loss number 100.

Well, it was.

I’m running on four hours of sleep and pretty much just trying to get this written so I can go take a nap so I have no idea how coherent it might be. But I’m going to give it a shot.

I’ve never experienced the Cubs losing 100 games in a season. I find it to be a bummer. I’d much rather my team win. And they didn’t. I was really kind of hoping they’d pull off the sweep and avoid the 100. It’d mean nothing. Many people have pointed out that losing 99 is no different than losing 100, but it would have been something of salvage. A tiny morale boost in the midst of a tough season. It would have been nice.

But it didn’t happen. That’s a stone drag.

But it could be worse.

How?

Well, look at it like this. The Cubs will continue they’re rebuilding in 2013 in the NL Central. The Astros will continue their rebuilding in 2013 in AL West. Who would you rather suffer with? I thought so.

The thing about 100 losses is that it puts a team and its fans in an interesting position. How does management respond to this? How does the coaching staff? How do the players? How do the fans?

Now, I can hardly manage a fantasy team so I’m hardly qualified to speculate on what management should or shouldn’t do, will or won’t do, but I’m going to guess that Jed Hoyer’s not bullshitting when he says they’ll be looking at affordable, serviceable starting pitching. That seems like a pretty good place to start.

The coaches probably like being employed, even by a losing team, so I bet they’ve come up with all sorts of good things they want the players to work on. And the players probably have their own ideas about how they should improve, unless Darwin Barney is the only one that doesn’t like complacency (I’m willing to bet money that at least one other guy on the team doesn’t like complacency either).

And the fans? Well, the fans will continue to bitch and moan and whine and go out on ledges and nail themselves to crosses and rail against certain players, the coaches, the management, the owners, etc., and remind the world about how much better the team would be if they were in charge because, well, that’s what fans do.

A few of them, however, will be left standing at the end of another long season of possibly sub-.500 ball (but not another 100 losses; I don’t know that this team has it in them to do it again), sad to see another fall encroach upon their summer fun even if their team was dreadful because they tend to focus on the short term–this game, this inning, this pitch–rather than the long term. Because that’s what fans do, too.

Here’s the thing, kids. I’m all about the journey. Sure, I want to win. I like winning. I can’t wait for a Cubs World Series win. It’s going to be sweet. But I’m just as interested in the trip as I am the destination. 100 losses is part of the trip. The sucky part of the trip to be sure, but in order to fully appreciate the end win, the whole journey should be experienced.  Zen, no?

At least that’s how I look at it.

But, of course, I’m sleepy.

The Last Trip to Wrigley (For the Season)

Tuesday I took my last trip to Wrigley for the season. I went by myself and did everything I could to soak it all up.

Unfortunately, it was 3 dollar beer night in the bleachers, so there was definitely some stuff I didn’t want to soak up.

I got a freebie floppy hat, took pictures of my favorite players, nearly got run over multiple times by herds of grown men chasing batting practice home runs, ate a helmet of ice cream for dinner, sung the 7th inning stretch with Gale Sayer, met what could be the only cool Brewers fans alive, and endured a wicked bus ride while strap hanging.

This experience has to hold me until next season.

Yeah, I’ll be jonesing for another trip before the season ends next week.

Save my place, Billy Williams.

Best Laid Plans

I’m not very good at making plans. The fact that I’ve been improvising my life since I graduated high school aside, even planning on the smaller scale is a skill I lack.

Oh, I like to plan some things out, like business and budget stuff, but I have a way of sabotaging myself. For example, this jewelry side business. I got it all in my head how I was going to set up my own store sight and build up my inventory and promote it with Moo cards. I went through with that plan. I bought the webhosting, set up the front page to the site, got the Moo cards.

And then I realized that I’d be better off setting myself up on Etsy because it’d be easier to promote and control my inventory since I was going to be short on cash for materials until I could really get going.

So I’ve spent the past couple of days canceling my webhosting account, getting my shop set up on Etsy, and redoing the Moo cards with white out and a pen to correct the store’s url. Time that could have been better spent, for sure.

I’m really good at this sort of thing. Getting everything laid out, drawing up what I think is a great plan, beginning to execute it, and then realizing that I should be doing it another way.

That’s if I make a plan at all. When it comes to making money or budgeting money, I’m all about a plan. When it comes to spending money, like with a trip, I have no plan.

Oh, I have a loose idea of what I want to do and what I need to do, but when it comes to drawing up those solid diagrams I make with other things, they’re lacking when I come to planning a trip. It’s why I usually try to go with someone else. Not just for the company, but because the person I go with is usually better on the planning. They’re better at booking hotels, planning routes, getting airline tickets, knowning what ot pack, that sort of thing.

I’m going it alone to Wrigley next week. Not such a big deal because it’s nothing more than a day trip. But the game is next Tuesday. I still haven’t bought my ticket. I still haven’t plotted the route I need to take to drive up there (though riding up just last month, I’ve got a pretty good idea how I need to go). I’m just now looking into how much gas money I’ll need. These things will get done, but I bet I’m up late the night before printing out directions and my last stop out of town will be the ATM because I’ll remember that I’ll need money to eat.

Now, if someone were going with me, I’d be totally prepared to go days in advance. The tickets would have been purchased weeks ago (and I would have been the one to do it, too), the directions would have been obtained (my co-pilot probably would have done it), and the cash would be sitting in my Boob Job Fund jar waiting for me.

It’s amazing how my trip planning skills get better when I’m flying as part of a flock instead of solo.

They say make plans and God laughs. Apparently, I was born with the same philosophy.

Five Things I Love About Cubs Games

I’ve only been to Wrigley Field a few times in my life so far, but it’s not for lack of love. I love seeing the Cubs play and I love seeing them do it at Wrigley Field and I’m hoping one day that I’ll see them actually win a game so I can hear “Go Cubs Go”.

Since I just went to a game Wednesday, here are five things I love about Cubs games.

1. Batting Practice. Watching the pitchers shag balls in the outfield is always entertaining. I’ve seen more than one grown man throw their glove up in the air at a ball. I’ve also seen some really nice catches.

2. Watching The Bullpen Warm Up. Unless someone is pitching an absolute gem, the bullpen pitchers prepare to enter the game. You look over and there are two, three, four guys walking abound, flapping their arms, and looking absolutely ridiculous. Invisible Nordic Track, Helicopters, and Yay I Get To Pitch are some of the names I’ve given to their warm up moves.

3. Singing The 7th Inning Stretch. Sure, they do this in lots of ballparks, but none of them are quite like Wrigley. It’s not as good since Harry is gone, but some of the guest conductors can be fun.

4. The Stuff You Don’t See On TV. Things happen between innings and during pitching changes that are shown on TV in favor of commercials. That’s a shame because the crowd doing the YMCA, the pitchers goofing off in the bullpen, and the outfielders interacting with the crowd is definitely more entertaining.

5. Helmet Nachos. These things are epic.

I have the helmet to prove it.