Cubs to start charging for hot dog condiments PAGE 3
5 Hours at the Bar with Wood PAGE 14 hits Houndstooth
U.S. Cellular Field just one Sbarro away from becoming a mall PAGE 8
Vol. 8, Issue 4
‘Unbelievable Chicago sports coverage’ www.theheckler.com
FIND BREAKING NEWS AT THEHECKLER.COM
CUBS RELIEVERS TO WEAR NAMETAGS The Cubs’ pitching staff recently purchased a case of red and white “Hello, My Name Is” nametags and a box of fresh black Sharpies to better aid fans in learning the names of this year’s bullpen. “The nametags will help me keep my guys in line,” said pitching coach Larry Rothschild. “I mean, if Berg is goofing off or if Marshall is falling asleep during a long afternoon game, I can figure out who it is and give him a good talking to.” Owner Tom Ricketts agreed. “Players and fans are family,” said Ricketts. “Heck, I’d put a nametag on every person who walked into Wrigley if we had enough Sharpies.” The bullpen also plans to host monthly potlucks with punch and cookies during batting practice as well as a meet and greet for fans to get resume advice. “It’s super nice of them to reach out to the fans,” said season ticket holder Amy Zimmerman. “I would really
Antti Niemi named Time’s ‘Man of the Year’ ‘Chicago-style’ voting blamed for goalie’s award like to hear James Russell’s feedback on my resume.” Fan Justin Hatch said, “It took me four years to forget a name like
LaTroy Hawkins, so I’m not sure I want to learn names like Samardzija or Caridad. But why would I want career
advice from some dudes who are probably heading to Iowa by June anyway?” --Marci Van Gilder-Rubin
Still learning Twitter, Piniella generates no controversy When the Cubs’ skipper finally gave in and joined the rest of the world on Twitter, interest didn’t even match the clubhouse attendant on the South Side who tweeted what Ozzie Guillen had for lunch. Piniella’s first tweet—”3%FFFFFF”— was chalked up to the manager learning how to use a computer. “Several common mistakes are often
made among first-time Facebook and Twitterers,” said social media psychologist Dorian Mikhail. “Especially if they’re getting up there in age. Lou has posted several messages concerning dinner, probably aimed at his wife, not expecting them to be broadcast to the world. He apparently likes steak and potatoes.” But as Piniella finally became Twitter-
savvy, a normal tweet might simply read, “Played well today, and we’ll try again tomorrow.” According to Dumb-Statistics.com, Piniella’s tweets rank 24th out of 30 MLB managers in popularity, edging out Toronto skipper Cito Gaston and directly below Baltimore’s Dave Trembley. -- Dan Bradley
Blackhawks rookie goalie Antti Niemi has joined Barack Obama, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and countless other dignitaries as Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year.” On the surface, Niemi’s honor seems unlikely, however, “Chicago-style” voting put him over the top. “Look, if it wasn’t for Antti, we’d probably be out of the playoff hunt,” said die-hard Blackhawks fan Johnny “No Nose” Gambotti. “I found the selection committee and let’s just say I leaned on them a little bit.” Niemi is baffled by the award. “Sure among the league-leaders in shutouts, but I don’t think that’s enough for Time ‘Man of the Year,’” he said. “Well, maybe it is when the alternative to me is Cristobal Huet.”
What to look for this month in the sports world 4/15 Amid player payment allegations, New Jersey Nets forfeit all wins during 19961999 John Calapari coaching regime.
4/23 Cubs and Brewers revive a little baseball tradition by bringing relievers into game in golf carts. During 8th inning Derrek Lee is, of course, run over and killed.
4/11: Bulls’ players make personnel move Bulls at Raptors Vinny Del Negro listed as DNCPD (did not coach, players’ decision)
4/19 3:34 AM Saints fans finally finish post-Super Bowl drinking binge, head home and order late night pizza.
Jim Hendry, as “Undercover Boss,” goes 0for 4 on Opening Day vs. Milwaukee wearing disguise that makes him look like Chris Farley in cleats.
Sox beat Rangers 5-4 in game eventfully marked by Ron Washington snorting third base line, Josh Hamilton snorting first base line and the two colliding head first on home plate, still high from cocaine binge the night before.
Play Ball! Rarely will you find two better words in the English language, but you will at the end of this intro. Hardball is my speciality and there’s lots of money to be made. No more hitting up my cronies for the inside scoop on basketball or football. Now it’s all Pete all the time, so bring out the jean shorts, Tommy Bahama button-up and your ATM card because it’s money making season. Let’s gamble.
April 20: Day Ryan Theriot is lost for the season due to injury, elevating Ivan DeJesus as the Cubs starting shortstop April 28: Day Alex Rios collects his first home run of 2010; a towering moon shot off of Don Cooper in pre-game batting practice. 3: Total number of negative comments from Hawk Harrelson about the Sox organization in 2010. 2: Total number of negative comments Hawk Harrelson will make about the popcorn at the Cell. 43: Times Bob Brenly uses the words “Ronnie,” “toupee” and “fire” in the same sentence on Opening Day. 1.45: Goals per game average the Blackhawks would give up if they just stacked up the money owed to Cristobal Huet in front of the goal in place of a goalie.
APRIL 2010 | 3
Megasaurus to eat a Hyundai Cubs to charge extra for hot dog condiments during 7th Inning Stretch In a bold initiative designed to facilitate additional revenue streams, the Cubs will bring Megasaurus, the giant robotic dinosaur, to Wrigley Field. The hydraulically-activated robot will eat a Hyundai car and spew the mangled automobile towards the visitor’s dugout. “No revenue stone will go unturned, and that includes firebreathing robots,” said Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts. “We’re always looking to add innovative sponsors to our corporate roster, as well as expand the fan base. Megasaurus will get our regular die-hards fired up, and will also encourage the cut-off sleeve, tattooed crowd to head down to Wrigley Field.” Megasaurus is just the first in a long line of unique, crowdpleasing alternatives to organ music and “guess today’s attendance.” Other seventh inning stretch ideas under consideration include sword swallowers, cage matches, and lion feedings. “We have explored the possibility of flooding the stadium and staging naval battles,” said
Wrigley patrons can expect pricier hot dogs at the ballpark in 2010, thanks to the added cost of once-free condiments. The additives will cost anywhere from $1 to $2.50 per extra item, according to Craig Sheffley, head of the park’s vendor services. “Anyone who wants mustard, relish, or God forbid, ketchup, is going to pay for each,” said Sheffley. “It’s only fair.” Each turn of Wrigley’s infamous onion wheel will put concession consumers out $2.50. “You spin, you spend,” he said,
chuckling. “Our original slogan for it was ‘We Dispense, You Dispense’ but the point is it’s no longer free. That’s the key.” The additional costs were tacked on not due to declining revenue at Wrigley Field, but because of greediness, he explained. “Basically, the organization wants to make more money,” said Sheffley. “I know I’d like a new Mercedes-Benz, but I also know that damn Toyota sign won’t get me there anytime soon.” -- Mike Pettit
Soto donates lost weight to Cubs Care
Ricketts. “The Coliseum was successfully flooded for these types of things in Ancient Rome, but our groundskeepers are
incredulous. Rest assured, if the U.S. Navy shows us the money, it will be done.” -- Jimmy Juliano
Transformed from a pudgy underachiever to a svelte underachiever this off-season, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto has a new outlook on life . After losing 40 pounds, Soto has started giving back to the community. He was generous enough to donate the weight he’s lost to Cubs Care. “We thank Mr. Soto for his contribution. Selling his fat has helped us out tremendously,” said a Cubs Care rep. “For every baggie of Mr.
Soto’s congealed sweat we sell in auction, we’re able to keep electricity running in a Chicago Public School for a week.” Manager Lou Piniella and Soto’s teammates are excited to see what Soto can do on the field. “We very impressed with what Geo has done,” said Piniella. “By getting into good shape, he’s helping the Cubs organization, Cubs Care, and his poor, overworked heart.” -- Marvin Venis Benjamin
4 | APRIL 2010
Cubs add Wrigley tours in between innings Quick tours along warning track just $15 as club tries to earn more cash Wrigley Field is an official landmark. And in true landmark fashion, the Cubs
have decided to expand touring opportunities for the general public. “This year, we’ll begin offering our fans ‘quick-tours’ during every halfinning break of home games inprogress,” said Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry. “It’s an innovative way to let
folks see the stadium while they’re already at the game.” The cost is $15 per person for a oneway quick-tour along the warning track, from foul pole to foul pole in either direction. Such a venture predictably adds to the Cubs revenue stream.
“Yes, it does add to our revenue stream,” said owner Tom Ricketts. “We can use the money to compete in freeagency, to make strong trades or fuel our minor league system. But we won’t. We’ll use the money to rebuild Ameritrade.” -- Rob C. Christiansen
Tuffy Rhodes signed to Girlfriend who won’t stop talking about Opening Day-only contract Derrek Lee’s butt not invited back to games At one point in 1994, OF was on pace for 486 homers that year Who could ever forget Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes electrifying a capacity Opening Day crowd at Wrigley Field in 1994 with three consecutive home runs off of Dwight Gooden? Apparently, not the Cubs’ front office. In hopes of again catching lightning in a bottle, GM Jim Hendry signed the now 41-yearold outfielder to a lucrative oneday-only contract after learning of Rhodes’ recent release from the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon
Professional Baseball in Japan. Rhodes was ecstatic to hear the news. “At one point, I was on pace for 486 in one season,” said Rhodes, who would hit only eight more MLB round-trippers. “In Japan, they call me the Good Fukudome.” Skipper Lou Piniella was a bit confused about the signing, but eager to insert his new acquisition into the lineup. “I thought he was Dusty Rhodes, the big fat old wrestler,” asked Piniella. “Either way he’s got to be better than the real Fukudome, so we’ll stick him in right field and take our chances.” -- Jeremy Barewin
Al Shapiro’s girlfriend Suzy Snell will not be invited to future Cubs games after incessantly talking about Cubs 1B Derrek Lee’s butt at the season opener. “She’s great and all, but I can’t handle Suzy prattling on about it,” said Shapiro. “Inning after inning, she was going on and on about how perfect another man’s ass is.’ I was gonna be sick.” Snell first noticed Lee’s “mindblowing” posterior years ago but is now full-on obsessed. “Oh my god, it’s just, like, amazing,” said Snell. “I just wish Al would have brought binoculars so I can get a better view of that juicy rear from his nosebleed seats.”
6 | APRIL 2010
Wrigley beer vendors renamed ‘fan ambassadors’ Wrigley Field’s top brass has instructed the ballpark’s beer vendors to sell their suds at will to keep all drinking fans happy, all the time. Under the new ownership of Tom Ricketts, beer vendors are now called “fan ambassadors,” and are required to top off each cup of beer with a smile, a handshake and an offer to pay for the next one. “Our fan ambassadors are here to keep the crowd happy. It is their mission to leave no fan un-drunk,” said Ricketts. “They
will complete it.” To do so, Ricketts says, the fan ambassadors will be slinging Old Styles, Miller Lites and other brews from the moment the gates open up until the last staffer leaves the ballpark. To help keep the workers’ energy and momentum going, the park has constructed a rotation room that allows fan ambassadors to nap, shower and freshen up before, during and after their 15-hour shifts. New fan ambassador James Rainmaker said his job training,
called “Beer Boot Camp,” required him to arrive at Wrigley Field at 5 a.m. every day ready to play drinking games with other trainees in order to learn the levels of beer tolerance and when “enough isn’t enough.” Despite the training’s level of difficulty, Rainmaker says he passed, and is ready for the 2010 season. “If you’re not slumped over in your seat by the third inning, we’re not doing our jobs,” he said. -- Mike Pettit
Mike Fontenot mistaken for lawn ornament Cubs shortstop Mike Fontenot was delayed several hours in his attempt to enter Wrigley Field on Opening Day after a series of passersby mistook the diminutive infielder for a commemorative Cubs lawn ornament. Wrigleyville resident John Acker described the scene, saying, “Well, I was going for my morning jog, and as I passed the stadium, I thought I saw this lit-
tle Cubs gnome. I figured someone had lost it, so I picked it up and started asking my neighbors if they had lost a lawn ornament. It must have been pretty expensive too, since it was saying things like ‘Hey, put me down’ and ‘I need to get to batting practice, knock it off, you jackass.’” According to various sources, similar events transpired roughly
half a dozen times before Fontenot was able to wring himself from the grasp of a child excitedly showing his father the toy he had found, and Fontenot was able to get inside Wrigley a few hours before game time. When reached for comment about the events, Fontenot mumbled, “I really don’t want to talk about it.” -- Jeff GoodSmith
Milton Bradley takes job as official Cubs harasser In a stunning move, Milton Bradley announced during a recent press conference that he has quit the Mariners and will dedicate himself to harassing the Cubs on a full-time basis. This comes as no surprise to his Mariners manager, Don Wakamatsu. “Milton was talking to himself at the plate,” said Wakamatsu. “The catchers and home plate umpires told me that Milton would swing and miss and constantly say, “Cubs suck. They haven’t won a World Series in over 100 years because they have never had a proper front office set-up. Then there was the John McDonough years, which I heard about, and from what I heard about McDonough, all he cared about was reeling in the money. They were all like that. All of the Cubs front office people. All of them for the past 101 years. You know by October it will be 102 years.” Home plate umpire CB Bucknor agrees with Wakamatsu. “Milton was critical of trades the Cubs made and also with
many of their free agent signings during recent years. He made a mockery of their 2004 Nomar Garciaparra signing, and their Fred McGriff signing before that. I had to throw Milton out of a game the other day for screaming at me, ‘Look what they did to Mark Prior,’ after I called him out on strikes.” Among the new duties Bradley says he will take on as full-time Official Cubs Harasser, is the job as Editor of The Heckler. “I will use a grain of my money I earned as a Major Leaguer and buy that newspaper out from under their feet as soon as I land at O’Hare Airport,” he said. “This is a job I will dive into while running. Chicago and the Cubs ain’t seen or heard nothing yet out of Milton Bradley. My rantings last summer were just a precursor to what I’m going to say to bring down the moral infrastructure of the Cubs and their fan base. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Cubs. I love to harass them.” -- Rob C. Christiansen
APRIL 2010 | 7
First-time Chicago tourists confused about Cubs tickets 2007: White House Easter Egg Roll
‘Guy on the corner said he needs two, but then he offered us two’ A real-life variation of a “Guy walks into a bar” story was told recently by two first-time Chicago visitors. Dan and Jean Dubier of Springfield, Ill., said it happened at the corner of Irving Park and Clark on their way to a Cubs game. “We had just parked our car in an alley for $30,” said Dubier, who
referred to himself as “Downstate Dan” since arriving in the Windy City. “Jean and I were walking to Wrigley Field, and we did have tickets. We wouldn’t have come to Chicago to go to a Cubs game without tickets.” “There was this guy,” said Jean, “He was standing on a corner, gesturing and talking loud, although he wasn’t really making eye contact with anyone in particular.” “He finally approached us, but it was like he was trying to hide
something,” Dan said. “He looked at me, and he said he needed two tickets. I told him weren’t selling tickets. Then the guy offered me two tickets ... we couldn’t figure it out.” “It was the same guy,” Jean said. “He needs tickets, but then he has tickets to sell. And the game was sold out. It’s very confusing and makes us wonder if this shadiness is a part of the Cubs culture we didn’t know about.” -- Rob C. Christiansen
Bradley kicked out of two successive Denny’s
Former President George W. Bush blows a whistle, signaling to the children to start hunting for Easter eggs on the White House lawn. Unfortunately, Woo-W Woo’s incessant chanting confused the kids, who thought their time was up. Having found no eggs, the youngsters began crying uncontrollably, at which point the President reportedly accused Ronnie of being anti-A American. The Cubs super fan responded by asking if Bush's “W” stood for “Woo.” E-m mail your Woo-W Woo pics to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to the WooWoo gallery at theheckler.com.
Milton Bradley just can’t catch a break, even at Denny’s. The often-disgruntled ballplayer stopped into a Seattle Denny’s and according to him, “something was up from the start.” Bradley explained he was ignored for an extended period of time, to which he reacted by walking to an open table. “Some punk waiter said I couldn’t sit down without him,” said Bradley. “I’m a grown-ass man. I can sit wherever I want.”
After being seated, Bradley scoffed at the waiter as he passed by him and was told he would be right back to take his order. Later, Bradley ordered a Grand Slam breakfast. The waiter asked if he hit a grand slam tonight. Bradley responded by throwing his menu, flipping his water and calling the server an expletive. “I didn’t know who he was, but knew he was a baseball player because all the Mariners come in here,” explained Denny’s waiter
Dan McDowell. “So I thought I would make a joke. I didn’t know he went hitless and was a total jerk.” Bradley was asked to leave, which he did, but not before kicking over a water cooler on his way out. He later stopped at another Denny’s and quietly sat down and again ordered the Grand Slam and was told the restaurant was out of eggs. Enraged, Bradley threw a syrup dispenser across the room, and was promptly asked to leave. -- Benjamin Trecroci
8 | APRIL 2010
Sox Park just one Sbarro away from becoming a mall
GUILLEN FIRES SON TRUMPSTYLE DURING NEW REALITY SHOW ‘EL APRENDIZ’
New developments from U.S. Cellular Field show an array of gift shops, kiosks and everything else you would expect to find in a shopping mall and/or a baseball stadium. Sarah Page, White Sox marketing director, explained baseball is secondary to the experience at U.S. Cellular Field. “While we want everyone to enjoy baseball, we know that people have a lot less time,” she said. “We want our guests to know they don’t have to leave here to get things done in their lives.” The stadium now houses a Claire’s Boutique, Spencer’s Gift Store, The Limited Too, Gap Kids, Game Stop and a U.S. Cellular cellphone kiosk, among other stores. “I love going to White Sox games, it’s so much fun,”
exclaimed 17-year-old Rachael Chapin. “I got my ears pierced again, bought a cute little sundress and upgraded to a sweet new phone.” White Sox outfielder Alex Rios noticed that a number of times during a game, entire sections of the bleachers are completely empty. “I found out they were off shopping, so I asked if someone could hook me up with a Michael Jordan throwback jersey at Champ’s Sports,” he said. “The guy took my money and I never saw him again.” Page announced the team is trying to put in a food court that would not interfere with the usual hot dogs and peanuts. “We feel if we brought in a Sbarro’s pizza, it would make this a destination spot and not necessarily for baseball.” -- Benjamin Trecroci
A Fan’s Guide to White Sox Twitter Accounts If you think that every member of the White Sox organization has a Twitter account, then you’re right. But who has time to search through all these options? That’s why The Heckler took the time to provide fans with a select few accounts that we recommend you follow. @fatcloser45 Restaurant reviews by Bobby Jenks @urbanhunt Jake Peavy’s tips on hunting squirrels, pigeons and raccoons in Chicago @pleasenotagain Kenny Williams refutes tweets from the Guillen family @mydadisozzie Oney Guillen’s tips on getting a job, tables at restaurants and approaching women @macroeconwithpaulie A nuanced look at emerging global macroeconomic data with Paul Konerko @myeraisunder6 John Danks attempts to convince fans that he is not Gavin Floyd @itsniftybeing50 The best senior citizen discounts by Omar Vizquel @canocorn A confused Hawk Harrelson’s attempts to book a flight for his wife @networking247 A.J. Pierzynski’s tips on effective networking and building friendships
Newly minted Joe Mauer buys entire AL Central Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer recently signed a $186 million contract extension with the ballclub, keeping the AllStar catcher in the Twin Cities for the next eight years. Mauer, only 26 years old, is already a three-time AL Batting Champ. He was offered the massive contract, the largest ever for a catcher, due to his commitment to helping the team win. Now that he’s become the highest paid catcher of all time, Mauer has been looking outside the batting cages for other ways
to contribute. In fact, he recently purchased the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians, and plans to disband all four clubs progressively throughout the season. “This year, I can guarantee that my Minnesota Twins will win the AL Central and make the playoffs,” said Mauer. “Since I’m now owner of every other club in the division, I can just disband the other teams if they’re even close to contention.”
When asked if MLB commissioner Bud Selig might do anything to stop his plan, Mauer responded with confidence. “If Bud won’t let me completely disband [the teams], I’ll just bribe him with a few million bucks or whatever,” said Mauer. “The guy looked the other way on steroids for like 10 years. I’m sure he’d let this slide for some more cash and a guarantee that the White Sox don’t make the playoffs. Those TV ratings are terrible.” -- Drew Adams
Drunk, obnoxious Sox fan asks for details on next year’s Next Year Day party Die-hard White Sox fan Jim McGowan was out of his element as he unknowingly stumbled into Harry Caray’s Tavern during The Heckler’s 3rd Annual Next Year Day party. After eight Old Styles and a shot of Wild Turkey, he found himself in a precarious position. “Dude, this Next Year Day party kicks ass!” screamed McGowan
toward Heckler Editor in Chief Brad Zibung. “Man, I can’t wait for the next Next Year Day. You’ve gotta get me on the mailing list!” A group of crazed Cubs fans gazed at McGowan with a look of disgust. Zibung pulled him aside and explained that the party signifies the start of a new Cubs season and hopeful end to their 100-plus year drought.
The explanation unfortunately failed to resonate with the heavily intoxicated Sox fan. “I thought Next Year Day was some strange excuse to party once a year like Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo or Casmir Pulaski Day,” added McGowan. “I like it even more now that I know they have it each year the Cubs lose!” -- Brian Berns
APRIL 2010 | 9
Peein’ all over da Cubs
ey dere South Siders, it’s your ol’ pal Joe. And I’m so excited for dis time-ah year. Yeah, it’s opening day, and da Sox are probably gonna win at least dere first tirdy or fordy games, easy. But it’s also time for da big Next Year Day party! Ol’ Joe loves gettin’ all dressed up in my best cutoff T-shirt and clip-on tie and crashin’ dis big Cubs love fest with a liddle bitta south side-style partyin’! Yeah, da big party at Harry Caray’s got all sortsa classy drinks like PBR in a glass and wine outta da box. Now dat’s what I call a good time! But my favorite pardda da night is hecklin’ all those Cubs fans. Is dere anyting better den tellin’ off a stupid Cubs fan just steps away from his own ballpark? I think not. So, for those of you Sox fans who may be comin’ along wit me to the big party, here’s some heckles you can use to get those [expletive deleted] Cubby fans all riled up: I thought I was watchin’ that show ‘Glee’ on TV da udder day, but it turns out it was just the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley. How many Cubs fans does it
SOUTH SIDE REPORT By Joe Malonecki take to screw in a light bulb? Three – one to hold da bulb, one to turn the chair and one to take a picture of it on his cell phone Hey Cubs fans, why you makin’ such a big deal about these urinal troughs? I’m just gonna pee on your foot anyway. The nice thing about taking my girl South Side Tina to Wrigley is I don’t have to worry about those North Side guys trying to steal her -- they don’t go that way! You know what I’m talking about. What’s up with that big sign blocking the Horseshoe rooftop? Finally they get a classy sponsor, and the front office ruins it! Cubs fans are [expletive deleted}-[expletive deleted]s. Hey-oh! Can’t wait to see you all out at Harry Caray’s (what a traitor) for Next Year Day. I’ll be da guy in da South Side tuxedo next to you in the battroom, peein’ all over your leg.
10 | APRIL 2010
Sales thriving for Ryan Braun’s ugly, overpriced T-shirt company
Rangers’ skipper Washington caught snorting cotton candy Rangers manager Ron Washington, fresh from the revelation that he tested positive for the use of cocaine, found himself mired in more controversy after reporters spotted him snorting vendor’s cotton candy before a recent Rangers game. Washington seemed disoriented, and admitted that he had never fully grasped the distinction between “cotton candy” and “nose candy.” “He kept asking for some ‘candy’,” said vendor Bobby Benson. “He was acting very strangely, talking about how he
couldn’t believe five bucks would get him so much candy, and asking why the candy was pink instead of white. Then he just started snorting it with this crazed look on his face.” While Rangers officials expressed concern over Washington’s erratic behavior, this is not the first time a member of the team has accidentally purchased food from vendors thinking they were drugs. The most notable instance was in 2008 when outfielder Josh Hamilton unsuccessfully tried to heat up a frozen malt cup on a teaspoon and inject it into his body. -- Jeff GoodSmith
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun recently unveiled a line of T-shirts that, while spectacularly silly and overpriced, is selling well and is the classiest thing to come out of Milwaukee in years. Braun’s T-shirts, developed in partnership with Affliction Clothing, have been a surprise hit, thanks in large part to an effective 30-second TV spot that’s airing nationwide. “‘Sup, dudes, it’s me, Ryan Braun,” he says at the beginning of the commercial. “I know what you’re thinking. How can I have a
bunch of hot chicks ridin’ my jock all the time like you do? I’ll tell you: Get a few of my T-shirts. They’ve got tigers and samurai warriors and [expletive deleted] that’ll have honeys beggin’.” “I know what else you’re thinking,” he adds. “Why should I pay $80 to look like I’m poor and uneducated? You know what I say? To hell with all that noise. You wanna be a baller? You gotta spend like a baller. Now, go punch this recession right in the nuts and order some T-shirts. Like, right now, bro.” -- Brian Summerfield
Scientists: If Albert Pujols ever reaches potential, he’ll hit .526 with 112 HRs A team of scientists recently gathered in St. Louis to determine just how awesome the skills of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols would be if he were ever to play the game of baseball while perfectly healthy. “Last year he had chips in his elbow, this season it’s a bad back, and he still manages to be the best player by a significant
margin,” said Dr. Rain Osgood. “If we can’t use science to further irritate Cub fans, then what is it even good for?” In addition to an insane batting average and unheard-of home run totals, the data read that, on the defensive side, Pujols might also pitch from first base, allowing another infielder to play near the mound.
“His curveball would be that awesome,” said Osgood. One scenario has Pujols quitting baseball and traveling forward through time in search of a more challenging game. “We would have kept going, but we couldn’t find a calculator with enough numbers,” concluded the scientist. -- Dan Bradley
APRIL 2010 | 11
Del Negro anxious to underutilize a big-name free agent next year ‘Chris Bosh would make a great 2 guard,’ Bulls coach says Despite plummeting from playoff contention after an injury-riddled second half of the season, there is hope across the Chicago Bulls organization that this summer will witness the arrival of a big name free agent. In particular, the team is considered a likely suitor for Raptors forward Chris Bosh. According to sources within the organization, no one is more jazzed by the prospect of Bosh landing with the Bulls than second-year coach Vinny Del Negro. “It’d be premature for me to talk about our pursuit of any one player at this juncture,” Del Negro told reporters. “But, listen, you know me: obviously I’d relish the opportunity to
underutilize Chris. A low-post defensive stopper, a veteran clubhouse presence, and a perfect spot-up jump shooter. Floating Chris around the perimeter would spread the floor for Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah to run our pick-and-roll offense.” Sources say Del Negro envisions Bosh as the Bulls’ version of Robert Horry, already calling the five-time All-Star, “Crunch Time Chris.” The source cautions Bulls fans not to get swept up in false hope. “LeBron James and Dwyane Wade aren’t walking through that door,” the source said. “Surprisingly, they don’t want to be used as ‘change of pace players’ coming off the bench. And, if by some miracle Chris Bosh does come to town, a future trade demand is certainly in the cards.” -- Chandler Goodman
Bulls magical run to Final Four ends The Bulls became the Cinderella story of the NCAA Tournament, but their magical run to the national championship was cut short in an 84-82 loss to Duke in the Final Four. “It was a great run, but we just didn’t have enough to go all the way,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said of his team’s loss to the eventual champion Blue Devils. “But it’s hard to be disappointed in our effort. I mean, have you
seen Duke’s roster? They’ve got like three or four future NBA players on that team. How are we supposed to compete with that talent?” Despite the exceeded expectations, the Bulls don’t have much time to celebrate. They have a game with NCAA women’s champion UConn next week. The Huskies enter the game favored by 10. -- Matthew Wood
LEBRON SENDS STRONG MESSAGE BY WEARING KNICKS UNIFORM IN GAME
12 | APRIL 2010
Hawks switch to bubble hockey goalie for playoffs ‘Just keep him moving back and forth,’ Quenneville tells controller Unable to land a new goaltender prior to the trade deadline, the Blackhawks may have struck gold in their search for stability at the position heading into the postseason. A press conference has been scheduled to announce the signing of a crafty old veteran—the Super
Chexx Team U.S.A. bubble hockey goaltender. “Let’s face it, we desperately needed another keeper to have any chance in the playoffs,” admitted coach Joel Quenneville. “He doesn’t have a name, but we will simply refer to him as ‘Big Red.’ He looks just like a live goaltender, but in molded plastic form.” The life-sized replica comes complete with a connected knob and a quick-wristed, behind-the-
scenes controller from some nerdy bubble hockey tournament. The Hawks feel they’ve made a necessary upgrade despite their new keeper’s inability to move his arms or legs. “We’ll be fine, as long as the guy controlling the goalie keeps moving him back and forth,” added Quenneville. “He may be made out of plastic, but he’s not nearly as soft as our other options.” -- Brian Berns
McDonough rejects offer to Hawks trainer reveals list of obscure take helm of Chicago Fire items found in Quenneville’s mustache ‘I’m good, but I’m not David Copperfield’ John McDonough resurrected the two of Chicago’s least popular sports teams, but even he can’t fan the flames of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire. “My father always said that if you play with fire, you get burned,” said McDonough, after he turned down an offer to take over the Fire who are even less popular than the Schaumburg Flyers. “I’m good, but I’m not
David Copperfield.” Such is life when your team is named after the city’s biggest disaster ever. Most people are surprised to find out that Chicago has a MLS team. “The Chicago Fire?” asked Bill Glynn of Bridgeport. “They put that out in 1871.” “It just wasn’t the right fit,” continued McDonough. “The fact that it was soccer had everything to do with my decision.” -- Michael Kloempken
Mike Gapski, head trainer of the Blackhawks, has succumbed to the pressure and revealed the list of items found in Joel Quenneville’s mustache. Fans have been clamoring for months for the list to be made public, but the organization has been hesitant since they consider his stache to be sacred. “His mustache’s mystique has done wonders for our marketing department,” said John McDonough. “That broom he has across his upper lip has gen-
erated more buzz about the Blackhawks than those chicks with the shovels!” The list contains items like bits of food that he had eaten before games, such as poppy seeds from hot dog buns and bits of sausage from deep dish pizza. The list also contains some nasty items, such as day-old boogers, trapped bugs, and fingernails from his nervous habit of biting his nails when games reach overtime.
Fans started spotting items in his mustache due to the clarity of broadcasting hockey in HD. Now that the NHL plans to start showing games in 3D, there’ll be nowhere to hide for those poppy seeds. “We’re planning a marketing campaign around the items in his mustache,” said McDonough. “Identify the items in his stache, and win free Hawks tickets.” -- Michael Kloempken
STUFF THAT PROBABLY ISN’T REAL
Just one day says it all
olks, everything there is to know about the 2010 baseball season in Chicago we learned on Opening Day. We’ve got one great baseball team and one big pile of crap in a baseball uniform. Sure, I’m writing this after just one day of baseball. But after seeing what I saw today, I can safely guarantee that if you’re reading this for the first time in October, cause maybe you’ve been in a coma for the past six months and the first thing you did upon waking up was to ask the doctors to bring you copies of all the Screamin’ Johnny Blaze columns you missed, the White Sox will be playing on your hospital TV while the Cubs will be home for the winter, fulfilling the greatest certainty in the history of sports: another year passing with no Cubs championship. Opening Day has convinced me that the Sox will make it all the way to the World Series this year and the Cubs will finish next to last in the NL Central, ahead of Pittsburgh only because the Pirates roster is made up mostly of guys who’d have trouble
THIS I SCREAM By Screamin’ Johnny Blaze, Heckler Sports Talk Radio Host making any other team as a replacement player in a strike year. Now, you might say something about it being a long season, that it’s crazy to draw conclusions about the whole season based on just one game, and you’re going to hold off before making judgments. Well Screamin’ Johnny Blaze doesn’t need to “take a step back” and “think things over.” When I feel something, I know it’s going to come true, so I have no problem jumping to conclusions. And if you’re too scared to jump with me, then all I can say is try growing a pair. Of balls. Cause you obviously don’t have any, that’s what I mean when I say grow a pair. I’m saying you’re a wuss.
APRIL 2010 | 13
HECKLER STAT PACK Breakdown of ESPN’s Top 10 plays 2009-2 2010 1 - Slam Dunks 29% 2 - Amazing hockey goals 21% 3 - Derek Jeter jump throw from deep short 15% 4 - Fan making great barehanded catch/not dropping beer 14% 5 - Soccer goal we’re supposed to care about but we don’t 9%
CHUG-CHUG: INACTION Hijnks of The Heckler Mascot By Paul Czarnowski
Optimism leaders 1 - Ernie Banks .934 2 - Hawk Harrelson .923 3 - Len Kasper .900 4 - Average Cubs fan (April only) .899 5 - Darrin Jackson (Flatline. Been dead for two years)
OPS/BA/SLG/BB/HBP/SB/BMI/ BAC/IQ/SAT Leaders 2009
14 | APRIL 2010
5 HOURS AT THE BAR WITH WOOD
Houndstooth Saloon shows off its redneck side
o paraphrase a wise By Matthew Wood easy, although the individual comedic sage of our table taps weren’t yet worktime: If ... ing. (An aside: These individual beer taps seem to be all the rage, and You have not one, but two “country they are a great idea—although I wonder if nights” (Thursday and Sunday) it’s not a bit of a dangerous endeavor, both Your college team affiliate is Alabama, in terms of getting waaay hammered and and you’re in Chicago jacking up a bar tab at the end of the day. You serve a double Jack & diet in a Sometimes it’s better to have to wait a few Dixie cup ... you might be a redneck bar. Yes, it’s true that Houndstooth Saloon minutes for a beer, no?) Anyway, you can’t complain about the (3369 N. Clark) is the closest thing to a trailer park bar we have in Wrigleyville, but sports watching—especially since the that’s in no way a condemnation of the place. front room had the TV sound on for the First of all there’s the new digs, about a die-hards while the back rooms played block south of the original location. The new music. Country music. And lots of it. The menu is pretty standard: burgers, a home is much brighter and more comfortable than the old spot, which was too small and a couple salads, a chicken sandwich with avolittle dingy. And it brings some much-needed cados called the Alabama. Nothing was parlight to the dank spot under the Red Line ticularly bad, although it didn’t really stand tracks that housed Twisted Spoke and the out, either. Among my favorites were the short-lived Zoo, among many other failed sliders, and the fries were exceptionally fresh and well-prepared. And you can even get operations in the past half-decade. Now they’ve got three different rooms, them with cheese and bacon, which is pretty full of TVs, chandeliers, comfy booths much the trifecta of bar food goodness. We were there on a Saturday afternoon, and, yes, country music. It’s a pretty classy touch for a bar that prides itself on songs and the place was for the most part full but not too full. Our girl Casey kept the like “That Ain’t My Truck.” On our recent trip to watch some NCAA $12 Miller buckets coming, and if you Tournament action, we took one of the huge think we didn’t take advantage of the $4 booths in the far-back room. The three flat- bombs, you don’t know the 5 Hours crew. All in all, it was a comfortable place. screens in each booth make game-watching
Above: Lindsay, Lisa, Lauren and Nilsa read The Heckler. Right: Hines and Kramz talk about how much they love country music. Nothing particularly compelling for a return trip, but you could do much worse. Except—and I don’t mean to harp on this —that damn country music. Put it this way: As we were leaving, the put on Bob Denver’s “West Virginia” to celebrate the Mountaineers tournament win. It might as well have been a Jay-Z song, it was such a breath of fresh air in the haze of country crooning. Ouch. Of course, if that’s the worst thing you can say about a Wrigleyville bar, you’re probably doing more than a few things right.
THE REAL DEAL
APRIL 2010 | 15
Fantasy baseball threatens Cubs fan base, baseball books
aseball’s Comeback Player of the Decade is its three-letter initialism, which has surpassed BLT as the alltime three-letter initialism king. GNP is further down the list since teenagers disapprove of the word gross. KFC never stood a chance. The F sneakily conceals “fried,” yet their chicken is also being grilled now. Freud would have said that KFC’s three-letter initialism had some issues. MLB.com bats fourth for the Cyberspace Rainmakers, and everything it sells is licensed in case you get pulled over. You also get unlimited free checking on a global network for scores of games, even games played across the street from your apartment. MLB.com broadens baseball’s meanings of community and shared experience by selling jerseys of players on your fantasy league team
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF
LOCO ROB Rob C. Christiansen email@example.com who never played for the Cubs. The Cubs should be jealous over your distraction and diversity training courtesy of MLB. You follow players who are on, or might join, your fantasy team, and a big concern you have in light of recent events is signing Joe Mauer and still having enough money to build yourself a winner. This means that just out of curiosity you’ll follow the Twins.
You are “MLB correct” and support the White Sox and Cubs as required by your lineup, and you’ll even go to U.S. Cellular Field since Gordon Beckham is on your wish list. I can’t stand MLB.com’s e-mails because it takes too long to read them and I haven’t had time to read baseball books. I’ve seen Field of Dreams and still haven’t read the novel it’s based on. Only a classic baseball book (or movie) can make “Moonlight” Graham seem special. He isn’t the kind of player you would want today using “The Bloomberg Draft Kit” and “In-Season Tools,” offered on MLB.com for $31.95 when you buy both. New baseball books lack imagination and are written by political-economic experts like George F. Will. That’s known as function following form, since the Bloomberg industry originated relative to the stock market index
and GNP. Will wrote the baseball book Men at Work, published in 1990. Obviously, he didn’t think of the title himself and used the name of the Australian music group from 1983. It would be just as wrong if I wrote a book about the economy and called it Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If you want to read more of this column, you may read my blog. Actually, you can’t read my blog because I am not a baseball blogger, which might surprise you since you assumed that I drink while I write. You shouldn’t assume, and that goes for both of us. You surprised me, however, for thinking that “Field of Dreams” was a link on MLB.com that sells fantasy baseball products. Would you rather the Cubs win the real WS, or your fantasy team win the fantasy title?
ABOUT THE HECKLER The Heckler is about life as sports fans in Chicago. It has absolutely no affiliation with any sports team. Largely satirical, The Heckler also contains bonafide sports news and commentary. All names used in a satirical context are fictional, unless the individual represented is famous or otherwise noteworthy. The Heckler is published monthly. Special issues of The Heckler are published as warranted. There is a limited amount of each issue of The Heckler, so please take one and treat it well. The Heckler can be found at various honor boxes in Chicago, as well as bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments. Additionally, content from The Heckler can be found at TheHeckler.com. To advertise in The Heckler, call 773-220-1669. Please call 877-875-7277 with all other matters. Copyright 2010 by The Heckler. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of The Heckler is allowed without written permission. Publisher/Editor in Chief Brad Zibung, firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor George Ellis, email@example.com Design Manager Matthew Wood Copy Editor Angela Childers
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