The Cubs will honor one of the greatest Cubs of all-time tonight when they unveil a statue of Hall of Famer, Billy Williams.
The statue will be revealed in a ceremony at Wrigley before their game against the Astros at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. Lots of folks had a problem with the way they handled the Harry Caray statue situation in replacing his long-held location at that intersection with the new Williams statue. While I don’t really understand the decision to move Caray for Williams (why not just leave Caray and Banks, the only other player to be honored with a statue at Wrigley, where they are and put Williams else where?), it doesn’t bother me outside of not understanding the logic in doing so.
Williams already has his number retired by the club and it’s a great honor to be immortalized outside the game’s greatest stadium. I’m currently reading about Billy Williams and it’s a fascinating story. I’m happy for him and can’t wait to see the statue next time I visit Wrigley. (Banks too for that matter as I’ve only seen the Caray statue in person).
A team that is short on championships and long on failures, I’m glad the Ricketts have decided to find a way to keep moving forward while updating but not changing the old stadium and honoring greats of the past, highlighting the positives that Cubs fans can be proud of while many obsess over the losing seasons and loveable loser reputation (a little too much in my opinion). I feel it’s hard to break out of the lovable loser/losing mentality when you are constantly embracing it and while it may be necessary in a laugh-instead of crying kind of way, it won’t ever help us win a title. The more ways we can emphasize the positives and look to move this team forward in a way that makes a positive difference, the better.
In a way, it would be easy for the Ricketts to push the old Veeck mentality of come out and have fun at the ballpark, don’t worry so much about the winning. This would be even easier for them than other potential owners considering they grew up with it all around them finding love in life and for their team in the bleachers of Wrigley and as die-hard fans, it would be easy to take that loveable loser mentality into the owner’s box. Think about how horrible that would be if they took the ‘let’s have a sense of humor’ approach and commemorated some horrible moments/characters in Cubs history with statues outside of Wrigley. My Cubs statues of limitations if you will.
A statue of Lou Piniella for instance. Giant belly, raving lunatic face, maybe even yelling in the face of an umpire (this statue would take a while considering there’d be an ump as well). Holding two giant stone tablets, one reading 2007, one reading 2008 and beneath him on the ground, two broken tablets: 2009 and 2010. His left arm in the air in anger and his right arm reaching out, just short of a carved out stone version of the word “potential”.
A statue of Dusty Baker for instance. This one would have to be practically a characature. Big smile on his face commemorating his arrival in the Windy City. A toothpick so large it’s nearly the size of the rest of the statue. Carved out fans crying all around him at his feet and a little Sammy Sosa in the back of the statue doing whatever he feels like.
A statue of the Cubs batting glove Bill Buckner wore in game six of the World Series in 1986 for instance. Simply to commemorate the once a Cub, always a Cub feeling. You may be able to take the player out of Chicago, but you can never take Chicago out of the player.
A statue of Sammy Sosa for instance. Biggest torso on a player’s statue ever created with a tiny head and two gigantic arms sitting upon two gigantic, powerful legs. In his back pocket a syringe. His right arm pointing up to the sky in celebration of a home run and his left hand behind his back with his fingers crossed to denote the honesty that each home run was bashed in while chasing down unattainable records. Of course there would be no number on his back because next to him would be a very little Tyler Colvin wearing the number 21 just laughing and having a great time doing a respectable job representing Sosa’s old steroid infested number. At Sosa’s feet, a Spanish to English dictionary ripped in two and set on fire in hopes that no one knew it ever existed in Sammy’s possession, ever. And the bonus feature, for some reason after years and years of looking this way, the statue’s face will begin to fade until the face is so white it longer resembles anything that it used to be and fans will have to do a double take to make sure it’s who they think it is.
A statue of Todd Hundley if you will for instance. Todd Hundley’s statue would be made of the most expensive metal and yet, would deliver the least amount of entertainment value. If fans had their way, it would probably also receive the largest amount of bird excrement. Hundley would simply be standing there with hands in his pocket offering absolutely nothing with a giant smile on his face. No glove as he was horrible behind the plate. No bat as he delivered nothing compared to what was expected of him. Next to him on the ground? A giant bag of cash with a cartoonish $ symbol. Hundley’s would be the only statue with a sound effect…that being, the sound of a truck backing up which would commemorate the giant contract he was given. When the truck doesn’t arrive, fans will realize that it is commemorating how long Cubs fans waited for results out of Hundley even though all of his money was on the way.
And last but not least, a statute of Will Ohman for instance. Quite possibly the worst Cubs relief pitcher to ever demonstrate hilarious ineffectiveness right before my eyes. Ohman’s statue would be of him on the mound looking in for the sign. Behind him, a brick wall covered in ivy and the famous scoreboard. Out of the scoreboard would be a kid just waiting to flip over the visitors’ run total on the scoreboard. When Ohman pitches, the other team scores a ton of runs and it will show. Ohman’s statue, the only one with a cool interactive feature, will allow fans to step up to the plate, literally. You can step on a home plate and right on cue a ball with be shot out of a small cannon, flying over the outfield wall. The run the boy running the scoreboard was counting on, delivered.
Needless to say, this would be a horrible sight to see and I’m glad the Ricketts are knowledgable enough of the past and looking to celebrate it. We need more focusing on the positives these days as our team is falling apart beyond what I expected. 2007, 2008 were a blast. 2009 was a let down. However this year, has simply been sad. No playoffs. No title. Not even having Lou for the whole season. The bright spots need to continue getting us through and they need to continue to be celebrated. Williams is a bright spot from the past and we need to keep those bright spots in mind while enjoying the current bright spots of today (Quade, Castro, Colvin….and that’s been about it).
You guys have any other ideas for Cub Statues of Limitations? Congratulations Billy, you deserve it! Go Cubs Go!