Beloved Cubs icon Santo dies at age 70

Beloved Cubs icon Santo dies at age 70 | cubs.com: News.

This news shocked and saddened me.  Wept throughout my attempt to read the article.  Of course I knew about his health problems due to his diabetes, but I was unaware he also had bladder cancer.  Impossible to capture how much he will be missed.

I don’t have many memories of Ron Santo as a player, though I’m sure I watched him on WGNTV and perhaps even saw him in a game at Wrigley.  But I wasn’t even born in his rookie year (1960) and was only 3 when he started his string of Gold Glove Awards in 1964.  By 1969 I was certainly a Cubs fan . . . who could forget that heartbreaking year? (Still hate those Mets!)  Too bad those Hall of Fame Knuckleheads didn’t manage to give him his due and elect him to the Hall before he died.

What I remember most vividly is Ron’s voice on WGN-Radio with Pat Hughes, the two of them painting a picture of the game as it unfolded so those of us on the other end of the radio waves felt like we were there with them.  If you tuned in late you could always tell how the Cubbies were doing just by the tone of Ron’s voice.  His mood directly tied to the fortunes and misfortunes of his beloved Cubbies.  And whenever there was a gap in the lineup of seventh-inning stretch singers, there was Ronnie, pitching in with gusto to lead the fans in our anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.  It’s “Root, root, root, for the CUBBIES, if they don’t win it’s a shame . . .”

RIP, Ronnie.

And please talk to the Big Guy Upstairs about letting the Cubs win a World Series.

I’m gonna miss “The Riot”

Cubs send Lilly, Theriot to Dodgers | cubs.com: News.

but they get Blake DeWitt (no relation) . . .

Everyone knew that Lilly was likely to go, but how can they trade TheRiot?  We’ll miss him and the Fontenot/Theriot Louisiana connection. Yes, I know that Starlin Castro is the latest hot young infielder .  . . but the Theriot-DeWitt trade doesn’t seem to add much (except a great last name).  The two infielders have pretty similar stats . . . .We’ll see how it all works out.

The Cubbies definitely need pitching help, so getting two new arms in the pitching part of the trade might at least shake things up out there.

Gonna miss Howry too, though I know he’s been struggling lately.  He was a class act.  Really hurts to send him away in order to make room for Zambrano to come back . . . what a waste of space on the roster that one is . . .

Enough for now . . . there will likely be more to comment on by the end of the day.

Cubs working on deal with Toyota | cubs.com: News

Cubs working on deal with Toyota | cubs.com: News

The Cubs, looking for sponsorship opportunities, are working on an agreement with Toyota in which a giant logo for the Japanese carmaker would be erected behind the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

Yes, you read that correctly. And no, today is March 17, not April 1st. I’m guessing now’s a good time to try to make deals with Toyota ;-D

For me, this may be the last straw. Now that I can only follow games on the radio, I’ll be catching very few Cubs games, but lots of Twins games.  Part of me will always be a Cubs fan, but it may be time for a few years off (like until Lou and Soriano are both gone).  I guess this means I’ll have to start working on a new set of header photos for this blog. Not sure whether to do a “Logorama”-style version of Wrigley, or just defect to the Twins (though I’m sure there are plenty of Target bullseyes in the new stadium). (BTW, if you haven’t seen the Oscar-winning Logorama, do check it out. You can see it here.  Not the best of the Animated Shorts (IMHO), but still worth seeing. )

Lent & Spring Training

Lent has continued to be more exhausting than my usual “Lenten Retreat.” Week 2 included more music, less cooking, some minor sewing, ongoing reading, and (most important) the start of the 2010 Baseball Spring Training Season!

Music

I hadn’t been to Jazz Ensemble practice in almost a month (due to snow, vacation days, etc.). This week my violin and I finally got there. And now we have to come up with a 14-bar SOLO for “Play that Funky Music.” This should be interesting 😉

Over the weekend I attended a performance by the Mary Louise Knutson Trio, with special guest violinist Randy Sabien. Picked up one of his CDs to help me with my jazz violin studies.

This week was also the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Chopin. MPR carried some great concert segments celebrating the event. And of course I had to pull out my books of Chopin’s piano music (and even ordered some more from the library).

Quite the musical week!

Cooking

I’ve decided one way to spend less money on food during Lent is to clear out my rather extensive pantry and freezer collections. So this week I roasted some chicken leg quarters (from the freezer) and had them with some beets (from the freezer) and sautéed kale and brown rice (from the pantry). Then ate the leftover baked rigatoni from a couple of weeks ago (from the freezer).  Next I’ll be whipping up a curry from a combination of fresh and frozen veggies in the frig. That should last a while!

Sewing

Never got back to the big sewing projects started last week, but did manage to do some mending and patching this week.  I guess that is in the Lenten spirit of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.

Lactantius

Made it through Book IV of Lactantius’ Divine Institutes (see previous post).  Still not wild about his style of argument.  Also not sure many of his arguments have the Biblical support he claims for them.  But the group is still interesting, so I will plod on.

BASEBALL!!!

Spring Training has begun.  Listened to part of yesterday’s Twins/Red Sox game.  Another game is on this afternoon.  Probably should take it slow.  Don’t want to wear myself out before the season even starts 🙂  I tried not to pay too much attention during the off season.  The Twins actually made some impressive acquisitions (Orlando Hudson, J.J.Hardy).  Maybe now that Daddy Pohlad is gone, the wallet will open enough to produce a winning team.  Not as sure about the Cubs . . . no cable means it will be harder for me to follow them (except when the radio reception from Chicago is good), but that might not be such a bad thing.

Other

Temps were in the 40s most of this week, so I tried to go for a few short (10-15 minutes) walks.  I tend to get post-exertional malaise and/or excessive fatigue and/or post-exertional headache from even the briefest attempt at exercise (other than yoga), but I needed the fresh air.  Also added “take your daily vitamins” to my list of lenten disciplines (along with flossing and drinking more milk).

City Noir

Disgusted with poor umpiring, the stretched out playoff schedule (which I can only assume was designed by the TV networks), and rather sloppy play, I skipped baseball last night and watched a different LA event: Great Performances broadcast of Gustavo Dudamel’s Inaugural Gala and Opening Night Concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I’m not a big fan of anything in Los Angeles, but MPR has been plugging this concert quite a bit, so I thought I would see what all the excitement was about.

The concert included two pieces: John Adams’ “City Noir” (commissioned for the event) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major. Both provided the “Hello, LA. Here I am. Let’s have some fun.” message that I think Dudamel was going for. I enjoyed “City Noir” more than I expected, especially the saxophone solos throughout, the wide variety of percussion instruments included, the use of piano, celesta, and 2 (!) harps, and the blending of Latin and film noir influences. While the opening movement “The City and Its Double” was a bit chaotic, the second movement “The Song is for You” was lovely, and the third “Boulevard Night” brought everything to an exciting conclusion.

Dudamel’s enthusiasm for the Mahler was thoroughly communicated. Mahler’s First always takes me back to my days as a music student, which means I am amused again when I hear what sounds like “Three Blind Mice/Hot Cross Buns” 🙂

For a more authoritative review of the concert, see the LA Times Review.

And catch the replay of Great Performances if you get a chance.