First disclaimer: I’m not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a poet. So forgive me if the bastardized iambic pentameter that follows strikes your ear a little funny. But my wife is always asking me to write for her; as hard as it may be for some of you to believe, she thinks I’m good at it.
So it is that I occasionally step away from my prosaic comfort zone in order to craft a little something for her. I suppose some residual poetic dribbles were still hanging around though, because I felt the need to continue making words rhyme. That, and I was once again transfixed by various hip-hop artists’ ability to perform verbal trapeze.
And when Ryan Ferguson, our silver-tongued colleague from across the pond, provided us with a Cubs poem of his own I just couldn’t resist. I had actually written some verse of my own several months back, but had allowed it to languish in draft form back on the old ChicagoNow version of this blog. Many of you may soon wish I’d left it there.
In any case, the nearly 900 words that follow came from a beer- and inspiration-fueled session at the computer. I think it falls somewhere between William Shakespeare and Velvet Jones, but I’ll be pretty happy even if it trends toward the latter. I mean, it can’t be that bad to be kicked in the butt by love.
I’ve been kicked in the butt by a love unrequited
By a squad that since only ’88 has been lighted.
The Cubs are my team, through the nightmares and dreams,
And the years upon years of the hope that it seems
That they’re right there with talent to play with the best.
But while blessed and obsessed, at season’s end we are pressed
To admit once again that our team has regressed.
Has gotten worse, not a first, while we pray “Slake our thirst.”
And while back-to-back seasons the Cubs were in first
It’s genetic disposition to finish in worst.
And while summer blooms bright and fresh as an orange
Our fingers are once again crushed in the door hinge
Of a season that ends up as sort of a lemon
Much to the dismay of the men and the women
Who walk through the gates and chrome-plate turnstiles,
To gobble up hot dogs and guzzle down Old Styles.
The fans who come out to the ballpark in droves,
From as far and as wide as Gurnee and Downers Grove.
From Wisky and Indy, Michigan and beyond,
This snakebitten team to which they respond
Has gone through a great number of years without tasting
The nectar of victory everyone’s chasing.
The title of World Series Champs hasn’t been
A reality on the North Side since God only knows when.
But He knows as Cubs fans are painf’ly aware
That 1908 was the season most fair.
With Tinker and Evers and first baseman Chance,
The Cubbies stood tall at the end of the dance.
Now a century and change we’ve be waiting to hear
A happy reprisal of that long-ago victory cheer.
But ‘tween black cats and Bartman, Sianis’s goat,
It’s the curse, not the fans, that’s been able to gloat.
But do the fans give up rightly and walk away? No.
E’en when every skeptic says they should do so.
Idiots, meatballs, just there for the party.
At least that’s the opinion of Brennaman, Marty.
His son Thom worked for the Cubs once, I wish I’d forgot,
But now he’s with his dad in the home of Marge Schott.
Now enough of the Communist team in Queen City,
If I continue with them, I’ll get somewhat…less pretty.
It’s time to move on the future, beyond,
To see what the Cubs do and rightly respond.
To the moves and the actions of Esptein and Hoyer,
No longer the days of Maddux or Moyer.
Now Castro and Rizzo, Arrieta and Strop,
To bet against this team you’d be quite a dope.
Or maybe just detracting for knowledge of his’try.
Though disdain for the rebuild has certainly missed me.
As the stockpile of prospects with futures has grown,
So have the people who feel that they own
The right to spend Tom Ricketts’ money at will,
As though their name’s printed on his dollar bill.
And while I’m just a shill and I can’t get my fill
Of this haphazard outfit that’s oft gone downhill.
I can’t help but see at the end of the tunnel
A light creeping through like a stream in a runnel.
It’s coming in slowly now, barely a trickle.
And that feeling inside is but a mere a tickle.
But a sense that this team is turning a corner
Despite the deep pockets, short arms of the owner
Is hard to avoid as we hear more of the kids
Who park balls in the yard, bringing hope from the skids
Where it laid near abandoned for nigh on forever.
Till men who are crazy or lucky or clever,
Tore down the whole works with ramifications
That had some of us wond’ring ’bout their machinations.
One hundred losses, or ninety or more
Have rats jumping ship, briskly swimming for shore.
But this ship isn’t drowning, it’s righting and sailing
Despite prior appearance of abjectly failing.
So hang on, hold fast, maybe batten the hatches.
As the Epstoyer rebuilding project work catches.
And don’t let the bandwagon over you roll
As it gathers up steam like it’s powered by coal.
‘Cause when this team in the proper direction is turned,
We’ll all get the prize for which all of us yearned.
Or maybe, just maybe, the whole thing’s a sham.
Like a Rickettsian version of Madoff’s big scam.
If that’s true then we’ll wallow in more hapless Falls,
While a chorus of boo-birds sings “Rebuild, my balls.”
But I don’t think that’s happ’ning, no this is for real.
Like Heidi Klum’s marriage to that singer named Seal.
Okay, a bad example that was, I admit
But the point of my story I’m thinking you get.
That the Cubs are becoming a team once again
Whose fans have a sense that they once more can win.
But hold tight, since a smooth journey this may not be,
And the bandwagon won’t stop to let you go pee.
After all, we’ve got troughs for that business, you see?
But putting all Wrigley toilet humor aside,
I do think the trip will be well worth the ride.
If it’s not, you can blame me, I’ve got a thick hide.
And if you’ll indulge me this final aside,
I actually sort of like it when critics deride.
But enough about me, is I’m sure what you’re thinking.
I just want the Cubs to stop with the stinking.
And they have, I assure you, it just took some time.
Something I’m running short of in light of this rhyme.
So I’ll bid you adieu as I close out the show,
With an EAMUS CATULI and go, Cubs, go!