Monday, February 18, 2013

The Last Straw: Cubs Leaving WGN

Corny as he was, Jack Brickhouse
endeared the Cubs to us
Word today is that the megabucks Ricketts family has decided to sever the Cubs' 65 year relationship with WGN.

It's their business and they certainly have a right to squeeze as much cash out of it as possible, but for me it's the last straw.

I have to admit that I'm one of those fossils who lamented the introduction of lights to the venerable old ball park on Clark and Addison. But I was resilient enough to adapt to that.

But the skyrocketing cost of bleacher admission from -- in my memory -- $3.50 to $25.00+ -- the smoking ban in the ballpark -- the skyrocketing cost of beer and other amenities, the injection of garish commercial signage into the Friendly Confines and the steady procession of eminently unpleasant, totally unlovable and utterly forgettable rent-a-player hired hands on the field have combined to persuade me to call it quits.

This really is no small matter coming from one who for many years was glued to Channel 9's televised play by play coverage, WGN radio's audio reportage and who hung on the Cubs' every up and down -- which, of course with the Cubs were mostly downs.

It was Jack Brickhouse on TV with his corny HEY, HEYs and Lou Boudreau on the radio with his veritable hefty bag full of verbal baseball arcana that originally drew me to the Cubs.

And the likes of Steve Stone, Harry Caray and yes -- even the often unlistenable Ron Santo kept me in the fold.

But the steady drip, drip Chinese water torture erosion of tradition really culminates in the jettisoning of the WGN tie.

Last summer I had my first entirely Cubs-free summer since college days, when distance and various hedonistic pursuits overcame Cubs affection.

Didn't listen to or watch a single Cubs game. Stopped by Wrigley Field only once and that was to join a few guys for a smoke outside the bleacher entrance (the new unofficial Wrigley smoking area.)

Now, with the Ricketts' cold calculation to end free WGN broadcasts, Cubs-free summers will be a permanent condition with me.

Just think of the beach side reading I'll get done.

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion, the only reason the Cubs are as popular as they are, nation wide, is because of the daytime broadcasts.

    Laying around, waiting to go to work or class mid-day, "The Cubs are playing the ..... on WGN"


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