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The Cubbie bandwagon

Kessler and ... | Friday, October 5, 2007

The Cubs are in the playoffs and, as usual, Notre Dame has become a breeding ground for Cubbies bandwagon hoppers. With brand new Cubs hats and jerseys invading campus like the plague, one can’t help but recall the last time the Cub bandwagon achieved this level of popularity: 1993, in the movie “Rookie of the Year.” While no one can deny that this movie is thoroughly entertaining, the plot has more holes than our offensive line (too soon?). It’s important to address these issues, not only to enrich our loyal readers, but also because we need to write this article before 6 p.m. on Thursday and it is currently 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

As the movie begins, Henry attends a game at Wrigley field with the stands less than half full. However, as many of you know, the Cubs sell out no matter how bad they are. Henry is out of school, so the game must be in mid-June, and with the stands that empty the team must have been at least 20 games under .500, with next to no chance of making the postseason. Yet somehow a pitcher, not to mention a closer, is single handedly able to bring them back into the pennant race. Something that spectacular would be tantamount to a 12 year old walk on with a mysterious calf injury banging out 70 yard field goals and taking us to a national championship at 7-5.

In the movie, Henry’s special “talent” is discovered when he uncorks a 450-foot frozen rope from the center field bleachers to home plate after the opposing team’s batter hits a home run and the surrounding fans urge him to throw the ball back (a Wrigley Field custom). The catcher then proceeds to attempt to tag out the batter who has not yet finished rounding the bases but nevertheless has the wherewithal to slide under the tag prompting the umpire to issue an enthusiastic safe call. Apparently, all three parties involved did not understand the standard ruling for when a ball goes over the fence and how fans in attendance do not serve as 40,000 additional fielders.

Next, we come to Daniel Stern’s character: the eccentric pitching coach who always seems to be getting himself trapped in odd places. Not only is there no way that a person in real life could get stuck between the doors of adjoining hotel rooms, how does the team not realize their pitching coach isn’t there? What happens when a call is made to the bullpen or a pitching change needs to be made? This, however, never seems to be a concern for this team of destiny.

Moving on, let us not forget how much of a dweeb this kid is. He is equivalent to your little brother’s friend who always tries to talk to you about how many babes he gets in junior high and how drunk he gets all the time. It is completely unbelievable to portray a team of thirty year old men liking this kid. From the d-bag in “American Pie” to the d-bag in “Kid in King Arthur’s court,” Thomas Ian Nicholas (Henry) has been almost unbearable to watch. On the other end of the spectrum, however, we have Gary Busey. Never before has a movie had such a dichotomy in terms of coolness between the two main characters, with the possible exception of Motocross Kids … also starring Gary Busey.

We end with the final game where John Candy, the radio announcer, declares: “This game is for all the marbles! The Division Championship! The winner goes home and the loser goes on to the World Series!” So apparently, what we have here is a one game playoff to win the division and go to the World Series. During this game, we find Henry in his usual spot trying to close out the game for the Cubbies. When walking back to the mound, however, Henry slips on the ball and lands on his arm, causing him to lose his special power. Still, the coaches leave him in despite the fact that his velocity had dropped from 103 miles per hour to about 40. This leads one to question: How bad must the Cubs’ bullpen have been? Who else did they have available? Terri Schiavo? So there is Henry, one out to go, and who comes to the plate to the gasps of the crowd? The best hitter in the league – Hedo! Apparently nobody realized who was up next in the order – as if nobody in the stadium including the pitching staff, radio broadcaster, and Henry himself looked at the Mets’ on-deck circle. In a fairy-tale ending, Henry realizes he was using his mom’s softball glove all along and strikes Hedo out throwing an underhand lob (which would be a balk). In conclusion, it is a great movie but flawed, Busey is cool, Henry is a weiner.

Go Diamondbacks.

Kessler and … is a non-profit pharmaceutical organization in search of a cure for male pattern baldness. Fritz Shadley, David Ferron, Matt Lisowski and Pat Canna contributed to this column. They can be contacted at kesslerand@gmail.com

The views expressed in this column are those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Observer.