The walls may be crumbling at Wrigley Field, but nothing can chip away at Steve Stone’s baseball acumen. Widely respected as perhaps the best ‘color man’ in the game today, Stone doesn’t hedge when it comes to speaking his mind. Sit a spell and read this one. You youngsters (and not-so youngster) out there may learn something.
The Heckler got a unique opportunity to chat with influential Indie rock recording engineer, musician, Chicagoan and baseball fan, Steve Albini. Singer and guitarist for the punk rock band Shellac, Albini was also a member of Big Black and Rapeman. He has recorded over 1,000 albums for over 1,000 bands including Nirvana, PJ Harvey, the Breeders, the Pixies, Cheap Trick, Jesus Lizard, Bush, Silkworm and Billy Corgan--most at his Belmont Ave. recording studio, Electrical Audio. But anyone who records with Albini and his staff at Electrical Audio know that they better brush up on their baseball knowledge, current pennant chases and Wiffle Ball pitches. For in between takes, baseball is king.
Gary Matthews came to the Cubs in a trade before the 1984 season. His addition to the club was one of the main reasons the team made it to the postseason for the first time since 1945. Matthews, a natural born leader, showed the team how to win. An aggressive hitter with a keen eye, Matthews knew when to attack and when to take a pitch. As the Cubs’ batting coach, he has a lot of wisdom to impart to his pupils. Whether they listen or not is another matter.
Outside of Wendell Kim, perhaps no one has been under the gun this season more than new Cubs trainer Dave Groeschner. While he has a huge role in the fate of the team, few fans know his name or would recognize him on the street. We caught up with the man who might just be the hardest working trainer in the business.
Back in 2004, The Heckler had a great conversation with Cubs legend Ron Santo. Here's the transcript.
The Heckler: How did you become a Cubs fan? Lin Brehmer: I was born in Queens and I was a Yankees fan. My best friend had moved to Queens from Oak Park, so when we’d play stickball, we’d take turns being the Cubs and Yankees. We even had the Cleo James fan club. With guys like Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks, the Cubs were one of the coolest teams in the 1960s. No matter where you lived, you knew the Cubs.
For two decades, Wayne Messmer has been the voice of Wrigley Field, serving as the Cubs’ public address announcer and singing countless renditions of the National Anthem. Ten years ago, Messmer made a courageous comeback after being shot in the throat during an attempted carjacking. He regained the distinctive singing voice that was a longtime part of Chicago Stadium’s famous “roar” and kicked off games for the Blackhawks, White Sox, Bulls, and Sting, as well as the Wolves hockey franchise Messmer helped launch. We got our pencils and scorecards ready and asked Messmer about his career, his comeback, and the Cubs.