One of the greatest weekends of regular-season baseball in Chicago history, and I can't take it any more.
It's not the insufferable Cardinals, their insufferable fans, or the even more insufferable Cards manager Tony LaRussa.
And don't get me going on Ron Santo. (Then again, later on, I will get going on Santo.)
What I want to know is: How do you regular Cubs fans put up with Jake Here, Neighborhood Guy?
At least, I believe every guttural groan of anguish is drawn from Santo like a wound to the heart. But Jake Here, may be the phoniest ad series I've ever heard. And it never stops during Cubs radio broadcasts.
Those ads are as out of place as these suburban turkeys, and just as big of turkeys.
I know I'm not alone on this.
Which leads to a history lesson on Stray Casts, life and baseball. In my world they intertwine.
On April 2, 2003, I closed my outdoor column in the Sun-Times with the first Stray Cast:
`STRAY CAST: Even as a White Sox fan, I can say this: Steve Stone is to baseball broadcasters what a 6-pounder is to Illinois smallmouth.''
That set the tone for Stray Casts, which have ended my Wednesday outdoors columns ever since. It usually compares something in sports (most often baseball) with something in the outdoors.
It's easily the most read part of the column, and why I named this blog.
Back on May 21, I had a Stray Cast about Jake:
I can't believe that phony `Jake, Neighborhood Guy Here,' is back hyping adult beverages on baseball broadcasts: It's as annoying as hooking that old style of green slime on every cast from a low bass pond.''
And Cubs fans (who usually are telling me to shut up with my Stray Casts jabbing their blue team) to this day are still agreeing with the jab on Jake Here.
I understand one concept in advertising is to make it so annoying it sticks in people's heads.
But this is too much. It never stops, the phony bastard--who sounds like a neighborhood guy about as much as I do a Boston blueblood--is even asking people to email him.
Are Cubs fans, at least the beer drinkers among them, that stupid?
Even somebody like me who loves to jab Cubs fans doesn't believe that.
And it's not that I'm a prude. I love beer and baseball. In fact, in my younger years, I drank plenty of the brand hyped by Jake Here.
At the end of the Cubs game and near the start of the Sox game, I cracked a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. (Grow up, and your tastes mature a bit.)
Advertising sorts, does an ad like this work?
I find Cubs radio broadcasts even more insufferable than usual because of Jake Here.
Normally, when I listen to Cubs games, I turn on the television broadcasts. Bob Brenly and Len Kasper are pros who do a solid broadcast, even a Sox fan can enjoy them.
But that Cubs radio broadcast makes me want to hook myself again in the face with the treble hook of a Skitter Pop, something I once did bad enough at LaSalle Lake to require a visit to ER.
And it's not Pat Hughes, who does an admirable job playing off his more famous partner.
Today, I had the usual running around with Saturday kids stuff, so I had to listen to the Cubs on radio.
Listen, I'm a baseball guy, a fan from my earliest years.
I understand the passion of a baseball fan.
But it ain't enough when it comes to a pro broadcast. Santo is the worst baseball announcer I have ever heard.
I say that as somebody who grew listening to the Phillies and Orioles (and on a good radio night could pick up scratchy AM broadcasts of the Senators, Mets and Yankees, too). Yes, I am old enough to remember the Senators.
I say that as somebody who loves nothing better than driving deep into the night on the way to some outdoor adventure and dialing up a ball game on the radio. Any ballgame, minor league or major league, I don't care, will do.
And I don't really hate Santo. In some ways, I vaguely understand Santo as a sort of id extension of Cubs fandom, especially those of my age and older.
So I can suffer through radio broadcasts with Santo.
But Jake Here? No, I shouldn't have to suffer through that crap inning after inning after inning just to hear about the exploits of the best team in baseball in 2008.