Thursday, April 13, 2017

EXTRA: Rings around da Goat!

I happened to be in a car flipping around the radio dial when I stumbled across WGN-AM and heard one of their announcers take a pot shot at the design the Chicago Cubs came up with for the rings they gave this week to players and other people connected with last year’s championship ball club.

Remembrin' the goat
Among the details meant to make the ring unique (as if being the first Cubs team to win a World Series in 108 years isn’t unique itself) is an engraved symbol of the goat’s head.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE DECADES of tales that Cubs fans engaged in about “the curse” of the Billy Goat Tavern’s mascot that was kept out of Wrigley Field for a World Series game back in 1945.

Some, it seems, thought it horrible that the Cubs would want to remember a symbol of their long-time futility. Personally, I think it is a touch of honesty – and something that Cubs fans should never forget.
How much free publicity did Billy Goat Tavern get

Because, let’s face it. One winning year doesn’t erase all those seasons of futility. The Cubs character is built so much on losing.

Having a third World Series victory (1907, 1908 and 2016) doesn’t come close to the 27 World Series titles of the New York Yankees, the 11 of the St. Louis Cardinals. Or even the eight of the New York/San Francisco Giants.

IF YOU REALLY want to be honest about things, the Cubs winning last year means they’re now equal to the three titles (1906, 1917 and 2005) of the Chicago White Sox. Which means the real question for the hard-core of Chicago baseball fans is to speculate about which team will win Title Number Four first.

So let’s give a touch of credit to the Cubs for acknowledging their decades of futility in their moment of celebrating their victory – a celebration that will endure the entire 2017 season and probably put to the test the level of tolerance the rest of us fans of baseball have for Cubbie self-indulgence.
A more Soxy ring design?

On a final note, I have to say I think the Chicago White Sox came up with a less-gaudy design for the ring they put together for their World Series championship ball club of 2005. It’s something about the solid black face with the Old English-style Sox logo spelled out in diamonds that is less garish than the 108 diamonds that went into the design of each Cubs’ tribute ring.

Although to be honest, both of them look like such hefty pieces of jewelry I can’t envision anyone actually wearing either one of them on a regular basis.


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