A View From the Top

August 25, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

A wise man once said 'Better to be lucky than good' (I think it was one of the two Corey's). Considering I've never been good at much, save for being good at not being good at anything (huh?), Wednesday night, I was one lucky bastard.

When you get a call asking, "Hey do you want to come to the Cubs game and sit in the press box?", you don't say "Well let me think about it. 'Project Runway' is on tonight and it can't be missed!" No, you try to remain calm and say, "Wow, sure that would be great", while thinking to yourself, 'Are you fucking serious?'

So my wife and I were ushered rock star style through the Cubs administrative offices, past a pair of sizable but gentle security guards, up a few flights of stairs and into the hallway that leads to press land. A press cafeteria sat empty on the right hand side of the hall, and then lining the left side of the hallway are all of the press boxes. Small, bare bones rooms that can fit between 2-4 people, each equipped with simple rolling chairs, a counter and tv monitor tuned into the game. There are glass partitions separating the booths on the side, with an open air view of the field in front of you.We took our seats in the very first booth, normally reserved for Andy McPhail himself. The only drawbacks are that A) you can't drink alcohol and B) since you are right next to the radio booth you can't cheer loudly. Golf claps and utterances of 'jolly good play chaps, jolly good' are encouraged.

Immediately to our right sat Andy Masur and then a rotating cast of 'dudes', one of whom looked like he could be Bob Brenly's hard living brother. Next to them and only twenty feet over in the next booth were the legendary Pat and Ron. Throughout the game we would look over at Pat and Ron and without fail, every time we looked over one of the 'dudes' from the booth next to us would look at us. "Dude, we're not looking at you jackass. Pay attention to the game and do your damn job and just let me fucking gawk a bit would ya?" Besides a killer view of the game, here are a few highlights.

  • Ron Santo eating a apple. Green. Best guess would be Granny Smith.
  • Pat would stand up and stretch his legs during commercial breaks. At one point my wife Katy glanced up at Pat mid-stretch, to which he acknowledged her with a wave and a smile. You would have thought that Justin Timberlake had just offered to make sweet love to her and/or take her to Applebees. Quote of the night: When I told Katy that now she had to get Ron to wave, she replied, "I don't care, Pat is better looking anyway."
  • When Bobby Howry gave up the go ahead double in the ninth inning, Ron took off his headset just so he could utter a few choice curse words without being heard. Classic. The man's passion for this team is not an act. For better or worse he wears his emotions on his sleeve and lives and dies with this team, weather they are in the thick of a pennant race or 13 games out and playing for next year.
  • Our own Matt Murton tying the game on a 8th inning opposite field blast. The perfect time for a 'Thunder Matt' chant, thwarted by the 'no cheering' rule. Don't want to incur the wrath of Brenly's hard drinking brother. The guy had on a shit kicking ring and looked adept at using a broken bottle as a weapon. Would it have been wrong to run into Ron and Pat's booth and start chanting with my shirt off?
  • Ballpark Nachos.
  • Having to step out of the box for five minutes at the beginning of the game because Billy Williams had to use the phone in there. "What, I'm not leaving...who do you think you are? Billy who? The Hall of Fame? Shut up. Hall of Fame huh? Don't you know who I am? I take the bus to work Billy Boy!"
  • Angel Guzman pitching pretty, pretty, pretty well. (Curb Your Enthusiasm reference anyone?) Too bad the Cubs rookie pitchers are more inconsistent than Andy Dick's sexuality.
These photos were taken from my camera phone, which doesn't really do justice to the view and makes things look much farther away than they actually are. But you get the drift.
So there you have it. There are a lot of 'Cubs blogs' out there that will give you your basic 'average Joe on the couch perspective'. But no other Cubs blog gives you the pressbox perspective like Thunder Matt's Saloon. These are the lengths we go to to satiate our 6 loyal readers. (Hi mom!) Throughout this season and next look for other unique perspectives as we bring you live reports from Ron Santo's kitchen, Moises Alou's motorcycle, a bathroom stall at Merkle's, Dusty Baker's dreams, and a comprehensive comparative analysis of Red Ivy vs. The Ivy (which bar would you rather pass out in?)
Now, if I can only somehow get a spot next to Dusty and get my hands on that lineup card...

Ron Santo, third person over, loves swearing and apples.