Not long ago I was sitting in a frozen lake in Minnesota, wondering if there would be an MLB season. YEP, YOU READ THAT RIGHT…IN THE FROZEN LAKE. I use personal polar plunges medicinally and to break up the MN winter monotony. At any rate, fast forward to today, and I’m in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona, at Sloan Park watching the Cubs go through spring drills. What a difference a couple weeks can make!
The reports came in this morning, that 27 year-old Japanese star Seiya Suzuki has signed a 5 year agreement with the Cubs. A big signing indeed, one that merits its own article. I’ll let others take the lead on that as today’s blog is more personal.
Due to the MLB lockout, we now have an accelerated spring training. Which means, even though players have only been in camp a matter of days, we have the Cubs spring opener at Sloan Park tomorrow. A St. Patrick’s Day matinee vs the White Sox. On the eve of announcing my 39th season of Cubs spring games, I want to reflect for a moment. With everything going on in the world over the past couple years, it’s given me a greater appreciation of just how important spring training and the Cubs have been in my life.
Which makes me ask, how have I been lucky enough to start each year announcing Chicago Cubs games for nearly four decades? I simply can’t be that old, CAN I? That’s a rhetorical question. Announcing Cubs players spanning the decades, from, HOF’ers Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Lee Smith, to the incredible 2016 World Series Championship team, and now this year’s squad, has been a ride like none other!
The last time I was on the public address mic announcing a baseball game, it was in Chicago at Wrigley Field. Yup, the Cubs generously granted me one of my bucket list dreams of announcing at the Friendly Confines last September 22nd as the Minnesota Twins played the Cubs. It was everything I hoped it would be and more…looking out at Wrigley, the city, and lake beyond, while announcing the starting lineups, was an unbelievable experience. One I’ll never forget.
Announcing (even for one game) at Wrigley Field, was my personal Mount Everest. Think of it this way, since the first summit of Everest in 1953, over 6,000 people have reached the top of the fabled mountain. Since the opening of Wrigley Field (originally called Weeghman Park) in 1914, how many people have announced the starting lineups at the confines for a Cubs regular season game? I don’t know the exact answer, but there aren’t many. So, Everest – 6000 people in roughly 70 years, vs Wrigley P.A., maybe as many as 25 people in 108 years. That is one exclusive club indeed.
It should be noted that I made it all the way up to the Wrigley Field press box without a Sherpa, although Ron Coomer offered.
Sooooo, what’s next for me? I’LL BE MAKING THAT ANNOUNCEMENT SOON!