I Met Tom Ricketts. He Signed a Ball.

The title of this post pretty much says it all.1011553_10151821193401066_2074400412_n

For those of you who don’t know Tom Ricketts, he’s the owner of the Chicago Cubs.

This last Friday my buddy Adam had some tickets, so Finn (my 5 month old son) and I jumped on them.  It’s a Chicago tradition to skip work and go to a Cubs game, so Adam, Finn, and I hopped on the Brownline toward Addison and the lovable Cubbies.

It’s Wrigley lore that Ricketts wanders the bleachers and the nosebleeds chatting it up with his customers, but I’ve never caught a glimpse of him.  He’s like a white stag, that one, rumored to be wandering the Wrigley wilderness, but never caught by the huntsman.

Well, we bagged a stag.

That sounds bad.

Let’s just say, he stopped by to chat with us.  Finn started yelling and making noise (it’s actually a kind of roar that he does now), prompting a passing Tom to look our way, and Adam said, “Hey, that’s Tom Ricketts!”  I then unashamedly held my son up and yelled, “Yo, Tom!  Your youngest fan is here!”

“Yo” is a term of endearment in Chicago, btw.  It’s kind of like saying, “Excuse me, sir, can I have your attention?”

He smiled, and hiked up toward us.  Adam hails from Wisconsin and was decked out in his Brewers gear, a point that he had to apologize for.  You don’t stare the owner of a ball club in the face while wearing the opposing team’s standard without a bit of sheepishness, no matter how staunch a fan you are.

Finn and I were in our Cubs gear, though, a point that Tom commented on quite a bit saying, “Well, it looks like you’re raising the kid right.”

It was then that I realized he probably thought Adam and I were together, bringing our son to the game from a family of mixed allegiences.  Which, in many ways, if I had a dude life-partner, Adam would be in the running.  It’d be like being married to me…which is a pretty good deal.

Regardless, we’re secure enough that we didn’t need to correct him.  There were more important matters at hand anyway, like chatting about the club guys coming through the pipeline.  He’s optimistic about next year’s prospects, although I’m not sure it matters.  The Cubs will be what the Cubs will be regardless of the players.  People will pay to watch them because, well, there’s nothing like skipping work to watch a Cubs game.

Nothing.

He handed Finn a ball and said, “Raise him right!” I said, “Sure will, Mr. Ricketts, but you can’t hand him a ball and not sign it.”  So he pulled a pen from his pocket and gave my kid his first autographed ball.

Sure, Ricketts doesn’t play.  But let’s be honest, Castro will only be with the Cubs another couple of seasons, Rivers isn’t going to last long, and nobody knows who the hell Nate Schierholtz is.

But Ricketts will be with the team for a long time.  As Mel Brooks says, “It’s good to be da king.”

…and good to have him sign a baseball for your son.

Go Cubs!

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For the Gourd Haters-An Open Letter to People Who Dislike it When I Celebrate Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Dear Pumpkin-Spice Hater,index 2

Oh, so you apparently dislike it when people put pumpkin in hot beverages?

You feel the need to put us down (“us” being those who love gourds in our drinks) just because we celebrate the fact that in this part of the world the earth is tilting away from the sun, which means that we can once again enjoy sweater weather instead of just “sweat” weather?

Well, you can bite me.

Because I love gourds in my drinks.  Yes; I said it.

And I also think cinnamon matches well in just about any other previously-frozen-now-de-thawed-bread-cake you could possibly imagine.

Stick cinnamon on a cake and I’ll eat it with my psl and, by God: it’s autumn.

And if you want to shove a popsicle stick in that bread-cake and ice it with some cream-cheese swirl action, more the better!

Because nothing spells A-U-T-U-M-N like a pumpkin-spiced latte and a cream-cheese pumpkin loaf.

(Except for maybe falling leaves, crisp mornings, frost, the Earth literally tilting away from the sun, squirrels hiding nuts, and harvests)

But other than those parenthetical things, nothing.

See, the difference between you and me is that I don’t hate.  And I like celebrating.  And I think seasons are important because they’re part of the larger metaphor for life, and if you don’t have a psl to mark the change of seasons (literally or metaphorically), you’re just pretending that nothing changes.

And you’re wrong.  Things do change.

And sure, I might be pretending that it’s autumn by drinking a psl and eating a pumpkin loaf when it’s still 85 degrees out, but at least I’m commemorating what SHOULD be!

What’s that you say?  I’m consuming about a steak-dinner’s worth of calories in that little coffee break?  So what?!  I’m storing up for winter!  Don’t you know what autumn is for, you judgmental jerk?

I get it; you don’t like gourds.  And you hate celebrations.  And you don’t like people who are excited about things.

No; I get it.

Keep your opinion.  Enjoy your regular coffee sans the fruit of vine (gourds grow on vines…surprised you didn’t know that).

But you don’t have to hate on me just because you can’t deal with change…

Sincerely,

PSL Lovers Everywhere