Chicago Cubs News

A Reprise of Howard Cosell — on the First Place Chicago Cubs

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Apr 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans line up near metal detectors outside Wrigley Field before a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans line up near metal detectors outside Wrigley Field before a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Howard Cosell was the preeminent sports announcer/journalist of his time. He was a pioneer in sports journalism known for his biting commentaries and his “tell-it-like-it-is” style.

He interviewed boxer Muhammed Ali during the time he took his controversial conscientious objector status in the Vietnam War.

Cosell became a household name when he appeared in the ABC-TV broadcast booth of Monday Night Football, and that show became a viewing event. He also appeared on ABC’s baseball coverage of big games and the World Series.

For my part, Cosell was a great boxing announcer and very good on Monday Night Football. But he was a showman and could sell the dramatic moment of a baseball game, or a specific player.

Full disclosure, I met Cosell as a grad student and interviewed him for my M.A. thesis.

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What if Howard Cosell were around today? What would be his thoughts on the baseball’s hottest team, the Chicago Cubs? Perhaps, his commentary would go something like this:

(sound of “Chicago, Chicago” over Cosell’s voice as background, music fades)

Hello, everyone, this is Howard Cosell, tonight at the newly renovated Wrigley Field in Chicago. Yes, it is a toddlin’ town and the city is excited about their team, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, for decades, have been a loser’s lament, dwelling near the bottom of the League. Only to taste the playoffs, and let it slip away. In 2004, the Cubs were five outs from the World Series when a fan, interfered with a Cubs’ player to grab the ball. The Cubs lost that game to the Florida Marlins in a way that loyal Cubs fans find it hard to forget.

But, this is a new team, with a savvy manager, Joe Maddon, and the Cubs are 41-17, playing .707 ball, and have the best record in the majors. Could this be the year the Cubs get to the World Series?  It’s only June, but signs are promising. The starting pitching for this team has been brilliant. Let’s start with the Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta, who sports a 9-1 record and a stingy 1.80 ERA. To show you how good this team is, the fourth starter, Jason Hammel is 7-1 with an ERA of 2.14. How is that for a rotation?

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As a hitting team, they come at you in waves. If one hitter doesn’t either get on base, get a hit, or drive in a run, the next one usually does, and the next one. Infielder Kris Bryant leads the team with 14 home runs and 43 RBI. And, 35 years young, Ben Zobrist, is playing like a 29-year-old, batting .325 and seemingly, getting a big hit in every game he plays.

The Cubs are leading their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, by 10 games, and it’s not even mid-summer yet. Yet the calendar approaches and the Cubs have shown no signs of letting up.

Yes, Chicago is a toddlin’ town. And, right now the Chicago Cubs are the toast of this post-season starved city.

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