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Crane, crosstown 'classics' and a random blogger
I watched Cubs 360 so you didn't have to
Cubs Vice President in Charge of Baseless Exaggerations Crane Kenney was billed to be on his TV network’s weird little Zoom show, and since Al Yellon couldn’t be on because he’s probably already camped out for the home opener they picked another random Cubs blogger to be on the show, so it seemed like a fine time to check in on things.
Cole Wright introduces the panel. It's a freshly embalmed Bruce Levine, Elise Menaker and Bort from Bleacher Nation wearing a pair of construction site earplugs.
It looks like he thinks the only place you can buy headphones is on an airplane.
How do you get ear infections in both ears when the pools aren’t even open yet?
Brett is introduced as "an editor over at Bleacher Nation." An editor? That reminds me of a lady I used to work with that ended up unemployed, so she started a consulting company. She was the only employee, and made herself a vice president.
“Oh, I didn’t think I should start as president. I’ll just try to work my way up.”
Cole gives the news that the rooftops will be open (which is just so dumb) and that at some point the Cubs could be allowed to have 20% capacity (just like every crowd they had in 1981) with limited concessions. Those concessions will be made to public health, common sense, and reckless peoples’ yearning to set their money on fire.
I really wanted to watch because Crane was going to be on. Crane and I are buddies and I know he likes to know I’m watching. But wait, he’s not actually on the show?
They play a recording of Crane on The Score. Holy shit, it's HIS network and they have to run a tape of him playing Thursday morning grabass with Mully and Huh?
Whatever. Here’s what the human ascot had to say hours earlier on friggin’ AM morning radio.
Crane: "We're working with the city, obviously having great conversations with the mayor's staff on this topic.”
Oh, I’m sure they’re great. You guys have always had such great relationships down there at city hall. Do you wear MAGA hats to the meetings and twirl your masks on your finger to show you could be wearing one if you really wanted to?
“We know if it's safe and can be done with the right precautions that we'd love to come back to the ballpark and we do see that happening this year.”
We know that whether it’s safe or not we’d love to see our fans’ money make it out to the ballpark. We didn’t even want to play, but if we have to, you suckers should be paying up. Just budget a little extra for your COVID treatment co-pays.
"Just to make it perfectly clear, we would not do this even if the governor allowed it if we thought it would be unsafe.”
Just to be clear, I don’t believe you.
“So, there will be social distancing when people come into the ballpark…”
Whoever edited this piece together deserves a raise, but will probably get fired. As he’s saying that they show this shot of those ridiculously narrow tunnels from the concession area/concourse into the bleachers.
Anybody with a waist size of 34 or bigger can’t even social distance themselves from rubbing up against the concrete much less another human.
“We're looking at manifests…”
What now? Manifests? I don’t think that word means what you think it does, Chas. Either you’ve been looking at who is sitting in which seat on a flight, or you’ve been reviewing the list of items in cargo on a container ship. Whatever college your dad bought you into could have at least made you take a remedial vocabulary course.
“…to find out how we can responsibly socially distance up to 20 percent--in our case about 8,000 fans inside of Wrigley Field--as you know, we are one of the smaller ballfields in terms of just square footage.”
Oh, are you? I had no idea. Well, it’s a good thing you’ve spent the last 11 years trying to cram a seat into every inch of the single city block that your park is built on. I’m surprised you don’t have Lap Day where everybody shares a seat just for fun.
“So we won't go past the level that we, with our medical team, feel we can do it responsibly.”
Yes, your crack medical team. The ones who told Javy Baez that his heel was just bruised last year so he kept playing on it making it worse until he had had to miss all but one token at bat of every important game down the stretch. Yes, please, leave it their capable hands. We’ll all feel so secure.
“Now with the mayor's phasing of the city's reopening we would be able to open the rooftops, so our expectation is that the rooftops will be open on either July 23 or July 24, whenever the schedule gets solidified.”
So either Crane knows the Cubs are opening at home or he’s just assuming they will because, well, when has assuming things ever bit Crane in the ass? The idea that it’s a good idea to open the rooftops is absurd. I can’t think of a worse place to spend three hours during a pandemic than on crap bleachers bolted on top of a glorified apartment building where you access the roof by walking down hallways of residential width and everybody shares the same four dirty bathrooms. Where do I sign up?
Now, here’s where the show plays his clips about how their network isn’t on the largest cable provider in the region where about 60% of Cubs’ fans get their TV programming from. Oh, that’s right, they didn’t play that part.
Elise starts with what seems like a terrible comment about how she’s experiencing “excitement overload” with news that baseball’s back and people might be allowed in the stadium, but then she pivots and says that it’s also scary because so much is unknown about the virus and she wonders if fans in the stands is a terrible idea. How are points scored on this pretend TV show? Because she’s winning.
Now they go to one of the editors at Bleacher Nation.
What is Brett Taylor's room? It looks like a holding cell they'd put depressed people in if they were worried they weren't depressed enough, yet.
His shirt looks like he's a private in the French ROTC and they don't expect him to ever win any medals.
He says he expects that those rooftop tickets will be among the hottest tickets in town. It'll be even hotter when they all have 104 degree temperatures from spending hours lazing around in an outdoor Coronavirus petri dish.
"Imagine a world where Wrigley Field itself is not open for the Cubs home opener but only the rooftops are,” he says while the rest of the panel wanders away from their computers to start making snacks. “You can imagine that people would be banging down doors to try to come to those games. But…”
Wait, is this answer still going? I guess it is.
“Again, whether it's the masks, whether it's the limited capacity, spacing the fans, all of these things really have to be at the forefront of the planning process and in that respect at least right…”
Oh my god, I regret even starting to transcribe this. I wonder if anything new is on Netflix today. I’ll go check.
“Now we're looking at a good three, four weeks before some of these decisions have to come to a head."
He then yields the rest of his time to Elise, who is now sitting in the dark. It was early afternoon when his answer started, but even on the fourth longest day of the year the sun has now set and the streetlights are starting to turn off.
Bruce: "The first month is going to be the litmus test for baseball." Oh, no Bruce, Todd has said that we won't be testing. Because many people are saying that if you don't test the virus disappears.
He continues, "Certainly the fans are the number one priority." Oh come on. If the Ricketts made a list of what’s most important to them they’d need a scroll so long they’d have to stand on a ladder to unfurl it far enough to write “the fans” on it. Oh, wow, Bruce, that is such bullshit. It's piling so high you can barely see how orange Bruce is.
Bruce however doesn’t think fans will be sitting in the stands anytime soon. And his reasoning is glorious.
"The players are going to be in the stands to start the season they won't be in the dugouts."
Hahaha. Oh, come on. If the Ricketts thought they could sell any tickets they’d make the players sit on the fucking score board.
Brett’s next filibuster is about how people should have autonomy to make decisions but it's up to institutions to set up...you know what, I'm just going to wait for the Library of Congress to publish all of the volumes of this answer.
Now we get to the good stuff. Elise mentions that players will not be allowed to spit. If I were the host we would spend the next 23 minutes talking about nothing but baseball players spitting. By the way, 23 minutes is also a third of time Brett needs for his next answer.
Elise continues, "When you add fans to the mix, will there be rules they need to follow?" Hopefully no spitting for them, too. And they all have to social distance by pretending that the fan next to them is Al Yellon and sit as far away from that fan as they would Al. That's going to shrink capacity from 8,000 to about 104.
Cole asks again if this will be the most anticipated season of Crosstown Classic baseball ever? Well, since it's never been all that anticipated, I guess...sure?
Cole says Crane said the Cubs and Sox will be playing "a few" times this season and "preseason style, before the regular season gets underway." Yeah, that's why they call it "pre" season.
Bruce says no, because it's only six games. He says they're going to play their division rivals 12 times. Eh? Is that right? 48 games in division and only 12 out of the division with half of those 12 against one team? Are they gonna play the Tigers once?
I thought the generally accepted idea was that you’d play the other four teams in your division 10 times, your interleague “rival” six times (which is pointless and wrong and stupid on so many levels), and then a combination of three and four game series against the other four teams in your like division in the other league to get to the remaining 14 games.
But if the Cubs really play 54 games against the rest of the NL Central and the Sox that leaves six games divvied up among the Tigers, Royals, Twins and Indians? That makes no sense. And if that happens that’s a huge advantage for the Cardinals (of course) who get six games against the dog shit Royals, while the Brewers (Twins), Reds (Indians) and Cubs (Sox) get presumably competent opponents. The Pirates get the Tigers but nobody cares. Anyway, back to the show…
Brett says, "It wouldn't be sexy if I didn't say, 'you're wrong, Bruce." Yeah, it's not sexy even if you do.
"Speaking as a Cubs' fan…”
What else would you be speaking as?
“We used to think of these Cubs-Sox games as an exercise in fun." And then he goes on to say that even when they became interleague games they meant something but they didn't have "quite that spice." Those games were about as spicy as a boiled carrot.
"Six out of sixty games, 10 percent of the schedule is going to be this crosstown rivalry."
Cole gives him the "damn, he did that math in his head" face.
Cole then says he's fired up for the battle between Javy and Tim Anderson because they are both "as good as it gets" at shortstop.
Ugh. I’m just going to pretend he didn’t say that. Let’s just move on.
Then there’s a taped interview with national treasure Shawon Dunston. Shawon really is the best and you can watch it here if you’d like.
The final hot topic on Marquee Zoom Theater is who will the biggest name dealt at the August 31 trade deadline. The answer is so obvious, and so depressing that I’m somehow shocked but not surprised at all that nobody mentions it, especially since they’re on Cubs Pravda.
Brett says he hopes the Astros struggle and end up trading George Springer.
Elise doesn’t think there will be any big names dealt, especially not pitching because “what are you going to get if you trade for a pitcher, six or seven starts?” Uh, you get HALF A SEASON. She then wonders if another reason for no big deals is the fear that a team will give up good prospects and end up with a player who tests positive for Coronavirus and ends up missing most or all of the rest of the season. Fair point.
Bruce says he thinks the Dodgers are going to get off to a lousy start and trade Mookie Betts to the Cubs. Good lord, this guy sure knows where his bread is buttered, and it’s not Max and Benny’s anymore, apparently.
The correct answer is Kris Bryant. That’s the big name that’s going to be dealt at the deadline. The Cubs were dragged into this abbreviated season kicking and screaming and they’re going to use it as an excuse to trade their best player. I really hope I’m wrong. I fear that I’m not.
Cole ends things by making a garbage can joke about Springer and the stupefying closing of, "It's always a fun run here on 360."
Once again, be glad that I watched this so you didn’t have to.