From his well-known practical jokes to his deadpan humor, Cubs closer Ryan Dempster is the kind of guy who is always one step ahead of you. In the course of a conversation, you can never be sure if he’s telling the truth or pulling your leg.
JULY 15, PITTSBURGH PIRATES @ CHICAGO CUBS, WRIGLEY FIELD Things went so bad for the Pirates that even Jerry Hairston Jr. contributed to the onslaught with a grand slam (albeit off the foul pole), and then got into a heated, bench-clearing exchange with Pirate reliever Jose Mesa after his next at-bat. Of course, 39,000 suburban frat guys home for the summer left happy after the Cubs' 11-1 win, many of them singing the world’s most annoying tune. I’d appreciate the song much more if the lyrics "Go Cubs go! Go Cubs go!" were a command relating to the franchise’s geographic location. Chicagoans: There’s only room for one playoff team in this town, and we all know who it is in 2005.
If loose lips could sink ships, Ozzie Guillen would be the all-time champion at “Battleship,” but the effervescent manager of the White Sox is never afraid to speak his mind. He’ll do whatever it takes to win, and so far, all he’s doing is winning as a manager. As a result, he was recently rewarded with a three-year contract extension. In this interview, he expounds on the Cubs, Frank Thomas and his many baseball philosophies.
Affectionately known as “Sully” by his contemporaries in the media, Paul Sullivan is in his 12th year covering the baseball beat for the Chicago Tribune. He’s seen his share of baseball, and is not afraid to write the truth. In this interview, he shares his career background, and talks about being a Tribune reporter covering a Tribune-owned team. He also talks about what it was like dealing with Sammy Sosa, and a key player’s potentially serious health concern he kept under wraps.
Dusty Baker came to the Cubs after a successful career managing the San Francisco Giants. His signing signaled the Cubs were serious about trying to win. Two years later, not everyone is enamored with the job he has done. Here he answers his critics, reflects on the past, and looks forward to the future.
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.