A final word on Ron Santo.

by

A click of the heels.

Sometimes in life, you try to ignore things that piss you off. You try to get away from something that annoys you. For me two years ago, I quit watching baseball. I couldn’t stand it. These days, the only way I even see that piece of shit team that I use to follow is on the news.  I see some of your reader’s comments from time to time, but that’s only to make sure everything is flowing smoothly and that the idiots who come here every now and then discuss sports in a grown-up matter.

However, this is something I cannot ignore. Ron Santo died Friday morning. I was checking the site before getting ready for work when I saw all the comments. I could not believe it. This sucks ass. I am one emotional kid this morning.

Until I was 16, I grew up just south of the Wisconsin border in Northwest Illinois. I did not have cable tv and WGN came in once every great while on the rooftop antenna. The only way I could watch baseball on TV was to either wait for the game of the week on Saturdays or go to a friend’s house (Which I did every now and then). So there I was stuck listening to Radio 720 WGN as early in my life as I could remember. I remember Harry Carey doing some of the games then in the mid-90’s, Pat Hughes took over.

Needless to say, I fell more in love with baseball when I heard the duo of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. I could not have imagined looking back how much I enjoyed those two guys. Hughes is one of the best announcers in baseball right up there with Vin Scully and Bob Uecker. This baseball team was as bad as it could get yet all of those years, I still made it a priority to follow them everyday. I could remember jumping in excitement as a kid when Hughes called a homerun for the team I use to root for with Santo being excited as well. The team was probably in last place, but Hughes and Santo made it sound like they were in the pennant race.

I met Ron Santo in 2004 and in 2005, I met both him and Pat Hughes. Hughes signed a baseball for me on the last home game of the 2005 season. That guy was as classy it could be. I remember telling him how much him and Ron meant to me listening to the games and he replied back with “Thanks for tuning in”. He is one classy guy. I ran into Santo again earlier that year and he was kind enough to sign my baseball glove. Even when I was still following baseball, I could see why he was screaming and yelling in the booth. That’s why I was never annoyed with him. I did the same damn thing in my house. I just wanted them to fucking win and so did Ron Santo even more than me. I think in the later years as a fan, he was screaming even more in the booth. I am sure all of us could notice the idea in the back of our heads that his time was running out and all he wanted to see was his team to win.

Loyal reader of the site JimmyD said a big “Fuck you” to the veterans committee and I would like to second that. It doesn’t matter if he gets in or not now. It’s too late. Go fuck yourselves veterans committee. Just another reason for me to hate that sport.

I remember watching his documentary a few years back and seeing all of his struggles. I almost cracked a tear. This morning, I had a couple running down my eyes. The only thing I missed about following that fucking baseball team was listening to Hughes and Santo on the radio. Now one of those guys is gone. No matter how much I hate baseball now, it was my life when I was younger and that was because I listened to the games on the radio. Before I quit watching the sport, I remember telling myself I really wanted them to win the whole thing. While it seemed selfish that I wanted them to win more than anything else, I wanted them to win more before something bad happened to Santo. Too late on that too.

I am going to miss you Ron Santo. No matter how shitty life was for me growing up listening to that team, you along with Pat Hughes made it a consolation prize.

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9 Responses to “A final word on Ron Santo.”

  1. erniesarmy Says:

    Fro –

    I grew up following the Cubs through the dark days of the revolving coaches. Out here in L.A. I couldn’t even get the games on radio, except on certain evenings when I could get Giant games (of course I could listen when they played the Dodgers, but it wasn’t as much fun) from S.F. Next to Ernie, Santo was my favorite player. I listened to a game in 66, the year the Cubs finished dead last, in which Santo single handedly brought the Cubs back from a 1-4 deficit to win 5-4 against the Giants. I think he went something like 4 for 5 with 2 home runs, and a double. Nobody else had more than one hit.

    You know what really stinks? In his entire life (70 years) the Cubs went to the W.S. once, that’s right ONCE – 1945 and that was it.

    I was there for 1969, and I was sick for the whole team, but especially Ronny. He took the losses really hard.

    70 years of life, and he never saw the Cubs win a World Series. I’m 60, and I don’t think I will ever see the Cubs even win a pennant in my lifetime.

    So long, Ronny, at least you won’t have to deal with all the losses anymore.

  2. Fro Dog Says:

    Ernie,

    It was nice reading your little story. It seems like you and I both have our stories of how we became fans and ironically, both involved Ron Santo. It’s just amazing how much one guy can make you care so much about something.

    Sometimes on this site, I feel like I talk about myself more often than I should. But looking back, I’ve realized another reason why I quit caring about baseball. I just didn’t want to put up with the crap like Ron Santo and many others have anymore. I sometimes would see the highlights on the news and tell myself how glad I am not be a part of it anymore. I no longer have an emotional investment.

    When the kids in my town went to the local swimming pool, I was at home listening to the games on the radio. When I was working in high school and college, I had a small radio that I could put in my pocket just to listen to the games. I even remember running home after school when I was kid to listen and it wasn’t just the team, it was the voice of Pat and Ron.

    When I woke up this morning and saw the news, I cried a little bit and remembered how much he meant to me growing up. Then I was driving to work, and I heard the news reporter on WGN Radio announce again that he had left, I cried again. I’ve never been that emotional over an athlete/announcer.

    So I’ll be thinking about this for a while along with the rest of you guys. This is going to sting for a while.

  3. erniesarmy Says:

    Very well said, Fro

    Keep posting, we all support what you’re doing.

  4. erniesarmy Says:

    One other thing I want to say –

    Many are rightly criticizing the HOF for not getting Ronny in there before. Shame on you HOF!

    But, I place more blame on the pathetic Cub management from the Wrigleys to the Tribune, to this newest clown Tom Ricketts. Shame on all of you for not doing what needed to be done to bring at least one World Series victory to the long suffering fans of Chicago, and for players like Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Dick Ellsworth, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Gregg Maddux, etc. who gave their heart and soul to a franchise that never gave them a shot, because they were never serious about winnning.

    Shame on all of you!

  5. robert Says:

    Ernie I am afraid this new ass clown will make us long for the days of sam zell

  6. robert Says:

    ps first moe lost dunn to the sox

    then he looses berkman to st louis

    whats his next great move…

    and if that sob says one more time….there are no trades imminent but I am working on them I am going to puke

  7. MadCityMac Says:

    Fro, all I can add is, well done!

  8. genrebuster Says:

    Very sad how this ended up.

    I saw Santo play a few times when I was a kid…including 1969.

    It truly sucks that Santo wasn’t inducted into the HOF during his lifetime. Many baseball “experts” agree, including Tim Kurkjian who IMOP is a first-rate analyst/journalist.

    I have about had it with the Cubs. Life is challenging enough without trying to keep up with a bunch of millionaires who don’t know their heads from their asses.

    Will check back as time allows.

  9. genrebuster Says:

    If there is a God….FIRE JIM HENDRY.

SHOW DA FIRE AND PASSION, MY FRENDT!

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