WAIW Investigative Journalism, Part 2 of 4: History! Triumph! Conspiracy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

WAIW Investigative Journalism, Part 2 of 4: History! Triumph! Conspiracy!

. Monday, July 6, 2009

And we're back. You've read the first part - you know that both Donald Evans and Don DeGrazia are bitchin' authors and ardent Cubs fans. You know that Cubbie Blues is a sweet ass book. Now, in part 2, we get a little deeper into the Cubs conversation.

JC: Quick question for both of you guys, you get 15 seconds to answer. You’re a kid, who is your favorite Cubs player?

DE: For me, it was always Don Kessinger when I was real little. I imagined myself a shortstop, I used to love that little pirouette thing he did through the hole and threw it.
He just seemed like a guy you could become. It didn’t seem like a big stretch to think that I could become Don Kessinger. Now, he’s a little taller than I was, but I thought I could out-hit him. I thought I could learn the pirouette move. It was just so fun to watch, there was no ball hit on the infield between second base and third base that Don Kessinger didn’t get a glove on. You almost never saw the ball go through the third and short hole. He got to the ball. So Don Kessinger was the one when I was little.
And then when I was older, for no apparent reason, Jody Davis. I just loved the guy. There were a lot of guys I liked a lot – Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus, Manny Trillo, I even had a little soft spot for Jerry Mumphrey – but the next guy was Jody Davis. When we were playing wiffle ball, I was always Jody Davis. And I gotta tell you, he did pretty well.

Much, much more, after the jump.

JC: Ok, now who do you got? Gesturing at Don DeGrazia

DDG: As a teenager, when my friends would recount their sexual conquests, they would always say “yeah, dude, I totally had her in the Jody Davis.”

A few minutes later, we all regain our composure, and continue.

DDG: But as a kid, Bill Madlock was incredible. He won the batting title on the last day by going 4-4.

Disaster ensues as the waitress, in the Sisyphean effort to keep the table clear of bottles, knocks John’s over and loses the last 1/8” of beer. Don D., being a regular, is well-versed in good-naturedly giving the staff shit.

Waitress: Oops!

DE: That’s like 30 cents worth of beer!

DDG: You know, if she spills one more beer, I swear to God.

DE: What the fuck!

JC: You know, that one’s on me. What can I say? I've got a pacifist streak.

DDG: She’s an operative for Sanders!

Also of note is the fact that at some point, as near as I can remember, Don D. decided that he had an arch enemy at Southport Lanes. My closest recollection the hazy morning after was that this shadowy malefactor was named Sanders. I could be wrong. He also, you know, commanded the vast and shadowy conspiracy. I think. Don't be surprised if this entire section disappears.

Oh, and Donald E. was convinced at this point.

DE: At first I wrote it off as DeGrazia’s being surly!

JC: Boy, this is going to look weird in the transcript.

It does, doesn't it?

DDG: Yeah, and …

JC: So Madlock?

DDG: Yeah, Madlock. And when Rick Monday snatched that flag

JC: Yelling RICK MONDAY! Quieter We’ve done multiple posts on that subject.

DDG: Those dastardly flag burners!

JC: Back to half-yell And he just SNATCHED the HELL out of it!

DDG: Bruce Sutter gave me the greatest thrills of my life. Just the way he’d fuckin’ throw it, and it would fall off the table.


DDG: I mean, the struck out the side on 9 pitches once. I’m pretty sure. That was my favorite.

JC: Kevin Gregg never did that.

DDG: Heh. Not yet. Him and Fontenot are going to come of age together.

JC: So what’s the one Cubs game that sticks in memory, greatest you’ve ever seen?

DDG: The first Cubs game I ever went to, my uncle took me to, and I brought my mitt. I don’t know what the outcome was, but I remember I ran up to the first base side wall to try to get a foul ball, and Bill Buckner fuckin’ came up and fuckin’ snatched it away from me and gave me that crazy look. Everyone around me was like “whoaaaa” but I am a Bill Buckner fan. That was my face-to-face, 7-year-old encounter with Bill Buckner, man.

SS: Ready to slit your throat, but he got it, snatched it away.

DE: I remember Milt Pappas’ no hitter. I think it was like ’72, so I was only 7 years old, maybe not even. We used to come home from school, and the game was on WGN, and in my neighborhood, everyone was watching the Cubs. It was on the radio, it was on the TV.

JC: They had all the games back then, didn’t they?

DE: Yeah, and I come home from school, and the game was still on, and I remember just sitting down and watching the end of that game and it was a near-perfect game. And that was probably the most exciting game. When I was a little kid, and even today in the car on my way home, I’m always looking for the no-hitter. Did they get a hit yet?

JC: Wells flirted earlier this year.

DE: Yeah, and then if it’s like 5-2, and the no hitter’s gone, then I can miss a few plays. But until the no-hitter is broken up, I won’t miss a play. And I remember that game being a really exciting game. The other game was last year, against Coloardo, was it?

JC: The comeback?

DE: The comeback, yeah. That was probably the second-best one. I wasn’t at either of those games, but that game was incredible. They had kind of thrown in the towel, and they’d brought in Hoffpauir and Blanco, and that was maybe the most amazing, most exciting game. And it happened so quick, they overcame that huge deficit and took the lead, and it was still, like, the 7th inning.

DDG: I was at a game in ’03, I think it was a five-game series against the Cardinals. I don’t remember exactly, but the Cubs were way down, and they came back and they ended up taking 4 out of 5, something incredible like that, and that just changed the whole tide of the season. Once we could get to their relievers in ’03, we could just crush them. And that was the beginning. I started saving all the Chicago Tribune sports sections.

JC: Do you still have them?

DDG: Probably, somewhere.