Like My Tomato Plants, The Chicago Cubs Are Still Alive

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

tomatoes

Look close. There are some tomatoes still growing in my backyard this last day of October. For some inexplicable reason, I’m equating late season tomatoes to the Cubs’ hopes of winning the next two games in Cleveland.

Like the four tomato plants still yielding fruit on this last day of October 2016, my beloved Chicago Cubs are still in the chase to win the World Series of baseball.

Okay, I admit that’s a goofy, wacky, somewhat nonsensical mixed metaphor.  But it’s the best I can do after a wild, emotionally-charged weekend following the Cubs versus Indians via television, radio and handheld device.

Yes, the Cubs played their last home games of 2016 and head east and — hopefully — will return as World Series champions.

While I didn’t get to attend a playoff game at Wrigley Field, I of course watched, listened and read all things Cubs.

However, now that the action has shifted to Progressive Field in Cleveland, there are a few things about following the Cubs World Series quest I will not miss:

  1. Flashes of John Cusack, Eddie Vedder, Bill Murray and other celebrity Cub fans on the TV screen during games. Heck, I just read that Lady Gaga was at the game last night! Who cares? Not me.
  2. Seeing images of that frumpy — unquestionably rich — guy in the pink cap and green shirt with the awesome first row seats right behind home plate. Who is this guy and why doesn’t he stand up and root for the Cubs once in a while?
  3. Reading reports about bars in “Wrigleyville” (silly name, if you ask me) charging $250 or so to watch a game. Oh yes, you get beer and hot dogs. Can you say, “take advantage of the situation.”

So, why draft this post?  Well, we’ve failed to attract any more trick or treaters this Halloween night, and I need something Cubs related to do.

But on second thought, my analogy between tomatoes in November and the Cubs in the World Series does have merit. I don’t recall ever having a tomato yield in the 11th month of the year. And, to my knowledge, the Cubs have never won a game in November.

So there: As long as there are tomatoes still struggling to grow and ripen, the Cubs have a chance to win two more games in 2016.

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Chicago Cubs in the 2016 Post Season: Thoughts and Observations

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Was it somewhat scripted late last week that the 2016 Chicago Cubs “back in” to clinching the National League Central Division, then bring pandemonium to the Wrigley Field faithful the following day with a walk off win via a home run from a reliable replacement catcher?

Who knows, and at this point, who cares!

Cubs

What will the post-season hold? We’ll find out soon enough.

This forever Chicago Cubs fan — like millions of others — is thrilled the team has locked in a playoff spot with two-plus weeks of baseball left and boasts the best record in baseball.

But unlike many of my Cub fan colleagues, I’m going mute on predictions on October. But, I do have thoughts and observations to share about the season so far, and what I’ll be looking for in the post season.

So, as the legendary Cub public address announcer Pat Pieper would say, “Attention: Have your pencils and scorecards ready.”

  • Madden Post Game Analysis. Yes, he does wacky things like make players dress in goofy outfits for road games and has brought in a magician as a strategy to build camaraderie and ease tensions during the 162-game season. But the true genius of  Manager Joe Madden comes out in his post game commentaries. He’s eloquent, imminently quotable and always on target regarding what just transpired on the field. Win or lose, players know Joe already is thinking about how to get the best of his squad the next time the ump yells, “Play Ball!”
  • Best Off-Season Move. The big contract to outfield star Jason Heyward? The late season signing of fireball closer Aroldis Chapman? Yes, both are integral to the team’s success to date, and both will be vital cogs in the post season. But my vote goes to the versatile Ben Zobrist.  (Did you know he was born in Eureka, Illinois?) His stats are not off the charts, but in an 11-year pro baseball career, he has put up impressive numbers when at the plate and he plays solid infield and outfield positions. And, he played for the 2015 World Series winning Kansas City Royals, so he knows what it takes to play in crucial games in October. Sometimes, it’s the guy who isn’t in the headlines who makes the most impact.
  • Who I’d Like to Meet for a Beer. A tough choice, so I’ll pick two: David Ross and Dexter
    True, the Cubs have not sucked this season.

    True, the Cubs have not sucked this season.

    Fowler. Not much in depth analysis or statistics here, but I like a guy who’s cool with the nickname of “Grandpa Rossi.” And whether he smacks a lead off homer or grounds into a double play, Fowler gives it his all and looks like he’s having a good time. Shout out to Grandpa and Dex: I’ll always make time for a beer with you guys.

  • From a Public Relations Perspective. Yes, I had to sneak in a thought on the brand that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have built under the Ricketts family ownership.  (Actually, I tackled public relations and the Cubs in this 2013 post regarding plans to rebuild Wrigley Field.) The 2016 team has — fortunately — generated headlines for its performance on the field, rather than off the field. Yes, there have been injuries and that losing streak before the All Star break.  And, oh yea, the Tommy LaStella meltdown. But all season there has been an absence of scandal and unnecessary drama. This squad contains players who are unselfish and only focus on winning, not personal stats. In a more colloquial perspective, the Cubs have received “good PR” all season because ownership and management put together a group of winners, not whiners.

In just more than an hour, the Cubs will take the field at Wrigley to conclude the weekend series with the Brewers. After yesterday’s “hangover” blowout loss, perhaps Madden’s guys will get back on track.

One milestone down.  Three to go.

 

 

Chicago Cubs: Here’s Who Should Throw Out the First Pitch at NLCS

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

An open letter to the Chicago Cubs (and anyone else who wants to read this post):

After careful consideration, this life-long Chicago Cubs fans is making an unbiased recommendation on who should throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the team takes the field the evening of October 20 to face the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field:

Me, Edward M. Bury, APR.

Want some reasons why? Please keep reading.

  1. Long-Time Fandom: As noted, I’ve rooted for the Cubs as long as I can remember. There were good memories, and some not-so-good.  (Think 1969, 1984, 2003 — forget it; that’s ancient history.) At the end of the game, my allegiance never faltered.
  2. Color Blue: People have told me I look good in blue. Something about bringing out the green in my eyes. And, there will be lots of blue and green at Wrigley Field the evening of the first NLCS game.
  3.  Vintage Cap: The cap that accompanies this post was
    One of my most prized possessions.

    One of my most prized possessions. Note the “Ball” pin on the brim.

    purchased back in 1984. Or perhaps it was 1985. It’s “the same kind the players wear.” I’ve worn it only to games and while watching the Cubs during playoffs. I promise to wear it next Tuesday.

  4.  I’m an APR. Okay, so why should holding the Accreditation in Public Relations count toward my qualifications? Simple: I don’t have a ticket, and having the honor of throwing out the first pitch would get me a seat. I think.  I’m demonstrating open disclosure, a sign of ethical public relations practices.
  5. Not a Hater. If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of the references in the media and by fans to “the hated Cardinals” and now, “the hated Mets.” Get over it! It’s a baseball game and the Cub fans need to demonstrate positive energy.

As the Cubs prepare to take the field in tonight’s NLCS game in New York, I’ll be rooting for an opening series win. And, of course, I’ll be hoping to get the honor to stand on the mound and throw that first pitch Tuesday.

One more thing: I promise to throw a strike.

Go Cubs!

 

 

 

 

An Opening Day Thought: What Does Hate Have To Do With Baseball?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

This is more than a typical Sunday here in Chicago. Yes, of course, it’s Easter Sunday, and I wish all a blessed Easter — regardless of your beliefs.

It’s also Opening Day — make that Opening Night — for the Chicago Cubs, those beloved boys of summer.

Today marks the first time the Cubs will play the first home baseball game of the season at seemingly perennially under construction Wrigley Field at night.  And, the foe is that seemingly always successful team who play in a city 300 miles southwest — the St. Louis Cardinals.

CardinalsOr as some — fans, newspaper sports writers and broadcast media — define them, “the hated St. Louis Cardinals.”

For some untold, inexplicable reason, Cub followers and others around the baseball and sports world, “hate” the Cardinals.

I’ve read the “hated Cardinals” phrase frequently in recent print reports about the Cubs’ chances in the 2015 season in columns on progress during spring training games. In fact, in a Chicago Tribune sports article published in late March of this year on the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry, Cubs GM Theo Epstein was quoted as saying: “I’m a Cub, so I have to hate the Cardinals.”Cubs

Note to Theo and every other Cub fan: I’ve been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Perhaps there was a time when I “hated” the Cardinals, especially when they routinely walloped the Cubs season after season.

(I guess the same comparison can be made by Chicago Bears fans when referencing the Green Bay Packers.)

But given the state of the world today, when true hatred drives men, and increasingly women, to unspeakable horrors against their fellow man, I’m past expressing hatred for a baseball team that competes against the team I root for.  I hope sports writers, TV commentators and fans of all sports will learn to dispense with using the word “hated” or its derivatives when talking about sporting competition.

After all, it’s supposed to be a game, not a war.

The Cubs will take the field a few minutes from now. I hope they wallop the Cardinals.

Play ball!

 

 

 

Okay Mr. Ricketts: I Want to Buy a Piece of the Chicago Cubs

By Edward M. Bury, APR  (aka The PRDude)

News last week from the corner of Clark and Addison streets made big headlines here and across the nation.  Unfortunately, the headlines didn’t boast of a dramatic win by the team that plays baseball in the park at that fabled Chicago intersection.

416x31_partyofthecenturyThe news in question: The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, are contemplating selling minority shares of the ball club.  The extra dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars actually, would be earmarked for fixing up venerable Wrigley Field, now in its 100th year.

Note to company Chairman Tom Ricketts: Count The PRDude in on this deal. My confirmed contribution amount is below.

$5.

I know, that’s not much.  Won’t buy a beer at the ballpark, much less a CubsFrosty Malt if those delicious frozen confections are still sold by vendors.

But, I have added value as a minority investor: I am the PRDude after all and a well-known blogger; and I’m an Accredited public relations professional.

My skills as a seasoned communicator — and long-standing, long-suffering — Chicago Cubs fan most surely will come into value, if not this season then in the years to come.

Like all chronic Cubs fans, my century — make that millennium — would be made if the team won the World Series.  And, like all chronic Cubs fans, I’ll cheer and root through another disappointing season, which 2014 is turning out to be.

(As of this writing, the Cubs are in last place with a 2-5 record; but they are ahead of the Pirates at the moment.)

WrigleyShould the Ricketts family secure the funding they need to rebuild Wrigley, with my $5 included, I would be an ideal fan/investor/counselor to handle communications for the renovation work.  Most of my PR career was representing real estate concerns or associations, I’ve been to the park hundreds of times since the mid 1960s and I have handled a crisis or two.

For credibility, I’ll wear my vintage 1984 Cubs cap and APR  pin during gatherings with the media.  Could any big shot investor bring that kind of credibility?

So what do you say, Mr. Ricketts?  Do we have a deal?  Tell you what: I’ll up the ante to the amount below.

$10.

What else has the PRDude had to say about the Cubs?  Here are two posts.

A PR Game Plan from 2010 and a post from last year on a concerted “public relations push.