I spent my last day of summer vacation, in part, watching a documentary about the Chicago Cubs on HBO. It's been on for a while, I was just never able to catch it in its entirety.
The documentary reviewed the longtime suffering of the Chicago Cubs and their fans...spotlighting a few fans in particular.
It was a pretty good documentary, and the Mets were featured in a pretty good amount of it, as a lot of time was spent on the 1969 collapse. The following is my review, in bullet form:
- I think the thing that is worth mentioning first and foremost is that Cubs fans still hate the Mets because of 1969. I guess it's reasonable, since I hate the Cardinals because of how they've beaten out the Mets over the years (1987, last year, for example), but it seems a bit extreme. First of all, it's been almost 40 years. Secondly, the Cubs played horribly down the stretch that year - I'm sure there are scapegoats on that team. Here's a story that exemplifies the stupidity of the hatred - Bryant Gumbel was a featured Cubs fan in the documentary. He talked about doing a 'Game of the Week' with Tom Seaver, and how he couldn't stand to be in the booth with Seaver. Seaver at one point asked if he had done something to tick off Gumbel, and Gumbel told him it was 1969, or something to that effect. The irony here, I think, is that from all I've heard, Bryant Gumbel is the most hated man in show business. So go ahead and hate Seaver. Idiot.
- Another point about 1969 that I had never thought about - some of the players, Ron Santo in particular, said that the players were tired that year. They talked about how they were dragging towards the end of the season, and a big part of why the Cubs couldn't be successful was that they were always playing in the sun, during the day, and there were no night games. I'm not sure about that - sounds like fishing for an excuse...but it's an interesting point.
- Of course, the documentary focused on Steve Bartman for a few minutes, and how some fans blame him, others don't. How about this - watching the video again, I'm realizing that there was a fan who reached farther than Bartman, and interfered with Moises Alou more than Bartman. And he's gotten a free pass. Someone hunt down that guy and ruin his life.
- Finally, there was one fan, who is a cardiologist, who has been to 17 Chicago Cubs fantasy camps. Those are the events where old guys go to Florida to play baseball for about a week with former players from their favorite teams. And this guy has been to 17. That's a bit much. Now, when I was a kid, I thought those fantasy camps reeked of desperation. I still do...kind of. But I've reached a conclusion that if someone were to send me to a fantasy camp, as a gift, I would gladly accept the gift...and I would enjoy the fantasy camp. I'm kind of convinced it's the only way I'm going to meet Hall of Famer Gary Carter. I think I would also only go if someone I knew was going with me - I think it would be more fun that way. So - bottom line - I would go...but I wouldn't go 17 times.
OVER THE WEEKEND: I mentioned earlier in the week that I spent Sunday at a sporting event I had never before attended...it was the final round of The Barclay's golf tournament. It was pretty awesome. I had never before been to a golf tournament, and it's very similar to the U.S. Open tennis tournament - you have access to the entire place - practice at the driving range, practice at the putting range, you can follow certain players, or you can set up camp at a hole and watch everyone come through. I would definitely go to another golf tournament. It's very reasonably priced, and if the weather is good, it's a great day. The fact that the day I went was the final round of the first ever PGA Playoff tournament is just icing on the cake.