#allegiance

Nearly every entry in this space has been a recap of a previous weekend or sentimental look back upon moving westward. For the handful of folks that actually choose to read the words on this page, learning about where I ate tacos or listening to my complaints about year-round golf privileges or viewing repetitive photos of California sunsets probably gets boring after a while. LONG BEACH FROM HOME has crossed 40 (!!) entries and is near its first birthday. The goal going forward will be to include further thought, feeling, opinion rather than just telling you where I enjoyed Sunday Pizza.

My love for football has slowly eroded into an apathetic puddle of complacency. The Bears are still king in Chicago and I’ll still follow and root for my local team. BEARS still dominate my social media feed on Sunday, during football season, basically year-round. The season has begun with an uninspiring 1-3 start, and I have only watched two games thus far; Partly because Chicago games are not typically showcased on the West Coast, but also because following this team is not a priority. I walked in and out of the room and did laundry and cleaning during the Seahawks embarrassment. And while it was fantastic to see friends and watch the victory against the Raiders, the oceanfront setting and delicious craft canned beer was Sunday Fun Day priority while the events of the game floated into the background.

I was able to walk away from a long-time commitment to my Wisconsin Fantasy Football league, knowing I wouldn’t invest the time or energy to field a competitive team, nor would I be present for the draft / pizza party. The hypocrisy of playing and marketing a violent sport while hiding the danger and long-term health effects of each player bothers me in a way I can’t totally describe, and probably makes me hypocritical for spending Saturdays and Sundays in front of the TV. The primary perk for football is that the games are readily available on network TV, so I’m able to leisurely enjoy from the recliner. Coaches and management annoyingly treat personnel moves and game-plan information like nuclear secrets. The scandals involving deflated footballs and domestic violence garner too much attention. And the Pinktober and G.I. Joevember promotions are flawed. I’d like to be able to enjoy watching the Bears without considering any of these other factors. But that would mean investing further effort in a team that is likely years away from being a significant championship contender.

The Chicago Professional Basketball Franchise is exceptionally unlikable, led by a bizarre, unsure, oft-injured “superstar.” Derrick Rose’s MVP season and the Bulls’ flirtation with championship aspirations are now distant memories. The Mayor should introduce a more entertaining style of basketball with free-flowing offense and encouraging fast break action. Defense wont take the same priority as it did under the previous regime, and ideally young players will have the chance to be developed, rather than grinding the veterans into dust trying to win insignificant games in February. I could have been more excited for the upcoming season if not distracted by other sports goings on. But how much could I possibly enjoy a team where the star player is campaigning for good health and max payment in free agency two years away, only to suffer another freak injury on the first day of practice. Of all Chicago rooting interests, I’m nearest to quitting my allegiance to the Bulls in favor of a new, more likable California team where I can attend games and enjoy the players’ performance and personality. For now hoops will take a backseat to the other sports… At least until I am asked to coach another youth team this winter.

Apparently there is a second team in Chicago that participated in baseball-type activities this summer. Fans of this team enjoy pointing out the team’s recent successes, including the 2005 World Series and multiple seasons above .500. There are exciting players on the White Sox roster who are in their prime, while the balance of players are hand-me-downs from other organizations. The team is perpetually semi-competitive, while lacking the creativity or resources to capitalize or differentiate from the other team in town. At least Sox fans have another (half) season of Hawk to look forward to.

Stepped into a nondescript, modern-European restaurant for a work lunch meeting and was serenaded with this anthem upon entry. The song paired beautifully with lobster bisque and blackened-chicken pasta:

Now to the meat and potatoes of this entry, with my two remaining favorite teams. Upon moving to California, the Blackhawks were my favorite and most prideful reason for calling Chicago home. The team was successful and dynamic and the organization became a model for all other teams in the NHL, if not all of North American professional sports. I went to a Blackhawks game in Anaheim days after first moving to Long Beach, as well as a handful of playoff contests during the team’s championship run. I spent the early summer touting the Hawks successes, eating Portillo’s Italian Beef, and disparaging Ducks and Kings fans. Then the Stanley Cup parade happened and one of the team’s bright stars opened his mouth to alert the City and warn fans of what was to come.

Much is yet to be learned regarding Patrick Kane’s Buffalo predicament. Each new development in the story brings an incomprehensible twist. Opening Night and Banner Raising is tonight, and I know I am uncomfortable rooting a for a team that prominently features a player dealing with these accusations. The team has bungled the public relations of this situation, from the awkward news conference to the announcement of another #88 bobblehead night. My meatball allegiance for the Hawks may eventually return, but for now all of the Blackhawks accomplishments of recent vintage are being sullied by a series of head-scratching decisions and poor handling of a serious matter. I don’t want to be a Blackhawks fan if that means blindly supporting laundry and being lumped into the disgusting fanboy underworld hurling insults at those honestly reporting the story.

Finally. The Cubs. The feel good story of the summer. I’ve seen the Northsiders play at Wrigley and Dodger Stadium this season and both venues were buzzing with anticipation of what is to come. Perhaps 2015 is a season earlier than expected for the Cubs to make their grand reappearance, but I’m not complaining. Management was transparent in each step of the rebuild, and we are now beginning to enjoy the perks of many miserable seasons. This Cubs team is the Blackhawks of seasons’ past with many young, likable, talented players who have not yet entered the prime of their careers. Management is innovative and interesting and the team is marketed brilliantly. The good news is that this is hopefully the first of many seasons where the Cubs teeter on the edge of championship contention. There are more highly regarded prospects yet to make their arrival and ownership is willing to pour money into acquiring top-line free agents. The bad news is that the Cubs have had a memorable season, earning ninety-seven wins, only to secure a berth in the coin flip Wild Card game on the road at Pittsburgh. I cannot wait to watch. Major League Baseball, thanks to the Cubs, late afternoon start times, and MLB.tv have gotten me to reinvest in my favorite sport. 

Let’s Go Cubs.

It is difficult to believe that I have already submitted rent payment for the FINAL month of my initial California lease. October will trigger more memories of last year’s decision to move and a West Coast visit to find housing. Hopefully the Cubs play deep into the month and provide enough entertainment/distraction from what could be a dark, cold, miserable autumn back home.


OCTOBER

is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name (from the Latin octō meaning “eight”) after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans.

October is commonly associated with the season of Autumn in the Northern hemisphere and spring in the Southern hemisphere, where it is the seasonal equivalent to April in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa. In the Western world, October is also commonly associated with Halloween (All Hallows Eve), which initiates the season of Allhallowtide.

Other Highlights:

  • World Architecture Day – First Monday of October
  • October 6 – McDonald’s Begins All-Day Breakfast Service
  • October 9 – Leif Erikson Day
  • October 18 – Alaska Day
  • October 22- International Stuttering Awareness Day
  • October 23 – Mole Day
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH
  • NATIONAL PORK MONTH

Reginald Martinez “Reggie” Jackson is an American former professional baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and California Angels of Major League Baseball. Jackson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jackson was nicknamed “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the Athletics and the Yankees. Jackson helped Oakland win five consecutive American League West divisional pennants, three consecutive American League pennants and two consecutive World Series titles (he did not play in the 1972 World Series due to injury), from 1971 to 1975. He helped New York win four American League East divisional pennants, three American League pennants and two consecutive World Series titles, from 1977 to 1981. He also helped the California Angels win two American League West divisional pennants in 1982 and 1986. He is perhaps best remembered for hitting three consecutive home runs in the clinching game of the 1977 World Series.

Jackson hit 563 career home runs and was an American League (AL) All-Star for 14 seasons. He won two Silver Slugger Awards, the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in 1973, two World Series MVP Awards, and the Babe Ruth Award in 1977. The Yankees and Athletics retired his team uniform number in 1993 and 2004. 

via WIKIPEDIA

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