Of all the Cubs legends - and there are many - there's no one more intertwined with the team than third baseman, announcer, and all around great guy Ron Santo. When I woke up this morning, the WGN Morning News informed me that he'd died. Fucking crushing. I haven't been so impacted by the death of someone I'd not been related to since Johnny Cash passed on during my sophomore year at college. Given that I far prefer radio over television for enjoying baseball, I often went out of my way to hear Pat and Ron cut up during games. During the 2008 division run, I'd even gone to the point of sneaking a pocket radio into my grad school classes. Half of the fun was enjoying the Cubs wins (seems so long ago ...) and half was listening to Ron live and die with the club. It's startling to think that I'll never do that again.
We've talked about Ronnie a ton on this blog of ours. It'd be denying the truth to say that Ron's relentless enthusiasm didn't lead to our deciding to start a Cubs blog. Here's a sample of our Ron and Pat enjoyment from days gone by:
- "Baseball sage Bill James thinks this is because the veterans committee is a bunch of dicks. WAIW agrees."
From "WAIW Salute: Ron Santo" [the original]
- " ... this entire article reads like a Seattle Sutton ad. You know, those ones where Seattle Sutton and Ron Santo try to make me swerve off the road in hilarity with their bad acting."
From "Cubs Call Brewers Stupid, Take Their Lunch Money."
- WAIW to Vets Committee: Vote Santo In, or Fornicate Thyself
- "Driving home from my sister's birthday dinner, after the Bulls classic win, we switched over to the Cubs game. This was just in time to hear Ron Santo utter the phrase 'this is embarrassing.' That pretty much sums it all up."
Ron always mirrored our own emotions.
- "Ron Santo Honored, Then Dishonored, With Cubs Game"
Losing to the Pirates is never fun. Especially thrice.
- And of course, there's This Old Cub, which now officially ascends to the Brian's Song pantheon of guy movies that always end with something in your eye.
Vaya con Dios, Ronnie. We're really going to miss you. After I heard the news, I drove by Wrigley at 6:30 this morning. Aside from the news remote trucks, it didn't feel a whole lot different. But it sure as hell will come April.