Ernie Banks - my second-all-time favorite cubbie and whose jersey I am sporting in my profile pic - opened the home-season stretch. Wow. I was giddy when I heard him take the mic to lead the stretch. This is huge as when you combine Mr. Cub and the first stretch of the season you are gonna have some powerful season-predicting mojo. Then I heard this:
"Listen to me. The Cubs will be supreme in 2013. Don't forget it"
Just incredible. The man they call Mr. Cub used the first words of the most-powerful Cubs plupit to plead with fans to pay attention ... and believe just one more year.
When the greatest Cub of all-time pleads with fans to not lose heart before they are even through the first Wrigleyville game of the year, things must be worse than I thought but a prediction like that from that guy on that stage could bode very well. I for one will be listening Mr. Banks. And I won't forget.
Then he sang. Slow. Plodding with a certain sureness and grandeur, like Tony Bennet singing today.
Two big things to note.
1. He threw in another plea, shouting "LOUDER!" in the middle of the song. This is really bad for moral as Take Me Out to the Ball Game is the Cubs' "Eye of the Tiger." It pumps up just on merit alone and should not require any additional encouragement. This can only mean the middle of the season is going to drag before a Cubbie comeback.
2. Mr. Banks ended with a bazaar, lengthy and sing-songy "gaaaa-uuuuu-aaaaa-uuuuu-aame!" which is a clear portent of the Cubs' closer situation this season. Based on Mr. Cub's rendition of TMO, the ninth inning is going to be up and down all season and never end when we expect. Thanks Marmol. But this could also predict the end of the Cubs season going on past when we expect.
Buckle up Cubs fans. Ernie said so.