What an unbelievably sad day. I normally sign on to Twitter as an escape. As a place to be slightly more sarcastic or obnoxious than society allows me to be in real life. To hang out with my Cub friends who I would never have met or talked to if it weren’t for the site considering I live in New York City and most of them, in Chicago. It’s usually a rip-roaring good time.
This morning, however, was very different.
I have about a 40-minute walk to work. It flies by generally because of the hustle and bustle that is New York City. Lots to look at and take in to distract me from the journey and nowadays, the cold. Twitter is the perfect walking companion. When I signed on today as I headed downtown and checked my @ replies, the first thing I saw was RIP Ron Santo complete with birth and death dates. At first I wasn’t sure it was even real as it came from FakeLouPiniella. However, considering the date was just yesterday’s date, Dec 2nd, and not even FakeLouPiniella would make such an awful, unfunny joke…something told me that it was actually true. I checked my Twitter feed and unfortunately, it is true. My Twitter timeline was almost nothing but messages about Ron Santo’s passing. I couldn’t believe it.
The Cubs lost their voice and most likely their biggest fan.
There is always that moment when you receive horrible news that you are in fact speechless. You have absolutely nothing to say, mixed with the fact that you have no idea what to say at all. That moment usually passes when you utter the phrase “I’m speechless”. Technically you are speaking, yet still, you are speechless. Cubs fans all over Twitter could say nothing but tweet kind words about Santo, condolences to the Santo family and gratitude for the years he served as one of their favorite Cubs.
The Hall of Fame hadn’t come around to inducting Ron Santo and it’s unfortunate. If he gets in now, we won’t know if it was for sheer performance or because he’s passed before enjoying the moment. It’s unfortunate because no one deserved to represent the Cubs as a hall of famer the way Ron did and no one would have enjoyed seeing his Cubs win it all like Santo would have. People admire Dawson because of the way he played through injuries and they should. Santo was injured for a great portion of his career with a disease no one even knew he had. It says something about his performance that people consider him Hall-worthy and his play at that time as one of the best in the game that they couldn’t even tell he was dealing with a disease. Santo was a great Cub, a great ballplayer, a great person and a great listen on the radio.
Many Cubs fans I know watch the game on TV and listen to Santo on the radio. To a lot of Cubs fans, Santo’s calling of a game is the Cubs. There are also a lot of young fans who only know Ron as the radio voice of the Cubs. A Cubs broadcast will never be the same, not without one of the great Cubs in front of the mic. His passion from his playing days and his desire to win while in a Cubs uniform never waivered once he was away from the base and in the booth. This Old Cub is probably many fans’ favorite documentary as it chronicled his battle with disease in becoming one of greatest to represent the North Side. His number 10 hangs proudly at Wrigley, something he held dearly in his heart, perhaps even more so than a potential HOF induction. His love for the game and the joy he brought to Cubs fans after a victory was demonstrated in heel clicking delight. It became as much a part of a Cubs win as the W flag itself. Many little leaguers across the country who loved the Cubs I’m sure performed the same heel click a thousand times.
Ron Santo has passed away. Suddenly many things that normally bother Cubs fans about the Cubs don’t matter as much as they usually do. Today, all that matters is that we lost one of our own. A member of our family. And if it’s left everyone speechless, including the Cubs, it makes sense. The Cubs have lost their voice.
RIP Ron Santo.