Twenty-five years ago next Tuesday, April 29, 1983, the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 4-3 at Wrigley Field. To give you a little historic context, the start the Cubs had that year was a mirror image of 2008. They lost their first six and after this loss -- in which Lee Smith wild-pitched in the winning run in the top of the 8th -- they were 5-14, already seven games out of first place only three weeks into the season.
In those days the Cubs' clubhouse was in the left field corner; they'd cross the field from the dugout and enter through the little door that's now used by the ground crew and other team employees (the current clubhouse, behind the dugout, was constructed in 1984). And on April 29, 1983, as a weary team trudged across the field, a number of them, in particular shortstop Larry Bowa (who, ironically, had had a good day that day, singling, walking and scoring a run), were subjected to booing and (by some reports) had things thrown at them.
I wasn't one of those people -- in those days, I sat in the right field bleachers -- but I was at that game. Here's my scorecard from April 29, 1983 -- note that, among other things, Ryne Sandberg led off that day and future Cubs manager Dusty Baker batted third for the Dodgers and went 0-for-4.
This led to one of the most infamous tirades in baseball history from manager Lee Elia. Thanks to WLS radio reporter Les Grobstein, we have Elia's words immortalized for all time. In yesterday's Tribune, Teddy Greenstein recounts the crazy scene in the clubhouse.
BCB reader kaseyi has the complete audio version of the tirade on this page. WARNING! NOT SAFE FOR WORK! Also on that page is a letter he received from GM Dallas Green apologizing for what had happened.
Among the things Elia said in the tirade were the words that serve as the title of this post, and also that (expletives deleted) "85% of the world is working, the other 15% come here to boo my players." Those of us who both had jobs and went to the ballpark decided that we needed to tell everyone -- thus, the following buttons were created:
Anyway, Elia is now 70 years old and he wants to make amends. As a result, he has created "Lee Unplugged", a website on which he says:
The only thing that bothers me is that I would never want to destroy the love and what the fans of Chicago are to the Chicago Cubs. I mean, God knows. If there's one pure thing in baseball, it is the fans of Chicago.
And for $89.95, you can order an autographed baseball with a special positive message from Elia to Cubs fans. This isn't just a money-making enterprise, either -- some of the proceeds will go to the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities. Elia will be in town Monday morning to hold a press conference, so expect to hear and see about this and the tirade next week. Just thought I'd give you all a heads-up on this.
And print it!