Friday, June 11, 2010

Missed opportunity

There was a podium standing behind home plate before the start of the Cubs-Sox series Friday. It looked just about the right size to hold a certain championship cup won this week by a certain local hockey team. The podium, the game's delayed start (?) and the fact that about half the stadium was wearing Blackhawks gear only fed the buzz circulating throughout Wrigley Field: The Blackhawks, fresh from their downtown parade and rally, were on their way to Wrigley, where they would place the Stanley Cup on the podium and unite previously un-unitable Cubs and Sox fans in celebration.

Most of the park was so certain it would happen that they screamed during the national anthem, ala the United Center experience that is probably the best local sports tradition we have (at least since the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley was turned over to whatever random celebs are in town). Kurt Elling, the fine local jazz singer who sang the anthem Friday, didn't seem to get what was happening, and didn't try to sing any louder, so it wasn't the same, but was still a nice moment.

Unfortunately, the Blackhawks and Cubs management--including the two Blackhawk execs who used to work for the Cubs, totally blew it. The Stanley Cup didn't show up, though it seems like it would have been pretty easy just to load the Blackhawks and the Cup onto a bus after the rally and send it right up Clark St. to Wrigley. A great opportunity was missed, and the crowd's disappointment was palpable, especially because all they were left with was a hot, humid afternoon watching two baseball teams who look less like contenders with every game they play.

And it gets worse: Instead of the Stanley Cup being walked out to the podium, we got the "Crosstown Cup," the unnecessary marketing ploy that supposedly is giving the teams something to play for--apparently bragging rights just weren't enough for two groups of fans that still love to harrass each other. As the Crosstown Cup was placed on the podium, it was showered with boos (and perhaps booze...), though maybe some of the disdain was for Crosstown Cup sponsor BP... I am not friggin' kidding-BP...

Oh, yeah, the Sox beat the Cubs 10-5.

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