Always have to pick sides in the World Series to make it worth watching, and this year I’m rooting for the Giants. It has nothing to do with the teams or the players or the cities, though San Francisco vs. Arlington is one of the great mismatches of all-time. Simply put, I’d like to see Giants coach Shawon Dunston get a ring.
Shawon was one of Mike Royko’s favorite Cubs, and we had a lot of long discussions about whether he’d ever make it in the majors. (OK, I listened, and he spoke). When the Cubs threatened to trade the erratic shortstop after the 1990 season, Royko penned a classic tribute to his beloved Shawon:
“(Of) all the flailing Cubs batsmen I`ve seen, none displayed as much public agony and suffering as did Dunston. I`m sure many of you saw what I saw through the pitiless eye of the centerfield camera. The pitcher whips the ball toward the plate. The pitcher knows it`s going to be outside. The catcher knows it`s going to be outside. All the players on both teams know it. The organist knows it. The hot dog vendors know it. The drunken bleacherites know it. The Yuppie freeloaders on the rooftops know it. Harry knows it, which could be the most terrible fate of all.
And, of course, Shawon knows it because even the most dim-witted of
million-dollar pitchers has enough sense to throw the ball outside to him.
But Shawon can`t help himself. It`s like a vile, self-destructive addiction. And
as the ball sails away, closer to first base than to home plate, he lunges,
hacks, spins, stumbles. Then he seizes the bat by the fat end, his jaw muscles
ripple, his eyes bulge, his Adam`s apple jiggles, and he stalks back to the dugout with the look of a man wishing he had a window out of which to fling himself.”
The point of the column was that naturally, the Cubs were going to deal Dunston after he finally figured out the strike zone. This annoyed the hell out of Royko, who ended his classic piece with a veiled threat:
“Cub management, don`t tempt our wrath. There are some of us who remember the trading away of Andy Pafko, Lou Brock, Ken Holtzman and, more recently, Joe Carter. All home-grown Cubs.
I work for the same outfit that owns the Cubs, but that doesn`t matter. You ship that lad out, and, so help me, I`ll have you in Family Court.”
I’ve seen Shawon many times over the years, and he still considers himself a Cub at heart. So here’s hoping this old Cub gets his ring. I’m sure Royko would approve.