A couple of weeks ago at work, we were talking about baseball- the All-Star game, the upcoming Hall of Fame inductions, etc., and some fond baseball memories came back to me.
I've alluded to one before-- when some old friends and I were attending a Chicago Cubs/St. Louis Cardinals game in St. Louis, when Chicago Cub pitcher Goose Gossage came out to warm up. I yelled to him that he should stay in St. Louis. He turned around with a grin, apparently thinking that we were St. Louis fans complimenting him. When I figured this out, I yelled "I'm from Chicago!" He gave me a gesture that is internationally known.
I recalled, also, the only All-Star game I've attended, the 1990 All-Star game that was played at Wrigley Field. My old friend Purple Larry had scored bleacher tickets to the game.
The night turned rainy and cold. I was, of course, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, since it was the middle of July (as I've said, only in Chicago). But the night did have its great moment. Failed baseball player, failed boxer, snitch and steroid user Jose Canseco, then on the Oakland A's with fellow future juicer Mark McGwire, who was also there that night, was playing center field for the American League team. In following a long Wrigley Field tradition, the folks in the bleachers were heckling Jose Canseco. He was used to it, apparently, and ignored it-- until I started up in Spanish, which I had just learned. I yelled to him "Tu hermana era buena, pero tu mama era la mejora" I'll let you translate that. It did finally get Canseco to flip me off.
When I told these tales to my co-workers, bartender Angie asked: who will complete your flip-off trifecta? I thought I had more of my life's work ahead of me and then I remembered: old friend The Elk and I had completed it decades ago.
We were at one of the many Cubs games he and I attended at Wrigley Field in the late eighties. This particular game was in 1987, against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Elk had a way of getting the whole crowd going in heckling ballplayers (his heckling of Dwight Gooden actually made the papers here in Chicago-- that'll be another post). At this particular game, Dan and I got the crowd heckling swaggering Philllies outfield Lenny Dykstra, swaying their arms and bodies back and forth, chanting "Lennnnnnny, Lennnnny!" Then suddenly, in the pause in between the chants yelled "You suck!" To our delight, we got him to flip the bird.
My trifecta is completed; my life feels whole.