By Patrick F. Cannon
I’m a faithful reader of the Sunday Chicago Tribune. There was a time when it took most of a leisurely Sunday morning to get through, but that was when it was privately owned. Now, with shareholder profit uppermost, it barely takes an hour. It still includes a real estate section which, among other things, includes a report on high value residential transactions. It’s amazing how many of these involve sports figures from the city’s major teams (Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks); and how many of them involve selling at a loss.
Now it’s true that we occasionally get someone like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, or Walter Payton who spend their entire career with one team and live their lives out in the Chicago area, but more often than not a player will be traded or leave in free agency after just a few years. Yet, for reasons which are incomprehensible to me, they think nothing of spending multi-millions for a house or condo of a size they don’t really need.
I’ve often wondered if they do this to keep up with their teammates, who seem to need seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a wine cellar and a six-car garage for their stable of Bentleys, Land Rovers, Escalades and Lamborghinis (all declining assets). Of course, if you’re making $15 or 20 million a year, why worry about losing two or three million on a house sale? Of course, sports figures aren’t the only folks who over buy. I know of one Chicago billionaire who owns something like seven homes spread around the country and overseas. If you’re wondering why, maybe he just hates to make hotel reservations, or is afraid of bed bugs.
While I’m making fun of sports figures, let me wonder when it became OK to be “bush.” Now, for those of you too young to know what that means, it means a ballplayer who inordinately calls attention to himself, acting as if he’s still in the “bush (minor) leagues,” instead of the major leagues, or the “big show” as it’s often called. Acting “bush” is, of course, not limited to baseball, although posing at the plate and watching one’s home run ball sail into the stands, then flipping to bat with aplomb, is now a common occurrence.
It has become an accepted feature of the NFL, too. It is now expected that scoring a touchdown will result in a carefully choreographed dance performance. This used to be limited to the player who scored the touchdown, but now he is often joined by some of his friends in a carefully rehearsed routine. When these “look at me” shenanigans began, the NFL took a dim view until it discovered that the “me” generation thought they were cool, and now they not only don’t frown on these displays of ego, but, within limits, encourage them.
They do draw a line at taunting, the practice of a pass receiver, for example, catching the ball and then saying “nhaw, nhaw, nhaw” to the defender while pointing his finger at his hapless opponent. I wonder when their research will tell them the fans love it, and the penalty flags will no longer be thrown.
Oh, and after listening to several politicians and pundits on the Sunday news shows, I couldn’t help wondering when our elected leaders, especially at the Federal level, were going to be more concerned with the condition of the Republic than about their chances in the 2022 elections.
But all my wonderment at this stuff pales in comparison to my absolute bewilderment at the numbers of my fellow citizens who still seem to support Donald Trump. That, my friends, is the wonder of the ages.
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon