CHICAGO - It took only a couple of moments for Chicago Cubs mastermind Tom Ricketts to hire acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman as the team's new colour analyst.
"We got the demo tape, and...I think he was giving commentary on a Cubs-Padres game last year, but...it just sounded so...beautiful."
The Cubs received word yesterday that Bob Brenly was stepping down as Len Kasper's right hand man for television broadcasts. While many people spent the next hours speculating about a replacement, Ricketts was already sinking into a demo from theaward-winning actor.
Ricketts shared a piece of the tape; a part where Freeman beautifully articulates a botched double play that leads to three runs scoring.
"The bases were loaded...loaded is a heavy word; a word that can cripple a man if he's taken on too much. When Chase Headley hit that bouncing ball to third, I'd like to think the last thing going through his head was that he couldn't believe how James Russell got the best of him. However, in the next 15 seconds, life...expectations...and the game itself...would be thrown in flux. Life can change that quick. A bobbled ball, a low throw to second...in one moment, a man's life goes from bases loaded and one away...to total catastrophe. A game that was a certain victory for those boys in blue, who were leading 4-1, turned into a nightmare. Nightmares. Something you can see on the face of Dale Sveum. As the ball skitted into right field, nobody thought that it...the ball...would skip past the glove of David DeJesus. When that third runner skipped over home plate, it was Sveum, the man who had seen this one too many times, who would have to think about the words spoken by his predecessor. Should he pull Russell now? As he walks out, he knows the answer. Get busy winnin', or get busy dyin'."
The tape was played for all of Cubs brass. In a matter of moments, Freeman was contacted by the Cubs.
"He just took one of the worst plays of the year and turned it into...into...what's that thing...poetry?" said Cubs radio commentator Keith Moreland. "I think on that play I said something like...'well, that wasn't good.' I don't know, I couldn't think of anything else to say...anyways, that dude...he should be in every movie. I'm a simple guy. I like applesauce with my pork chops. I enjoy an ice cold beer at a ball game. Sometimes, I like to keep score with my card upside down...you know, just for kicks. If we bring in Freeman, he'd be the ying to my yung. Or, the yin to my yong. Well, however that saying goes. All I know is that dude was in Shawshank and that movie is awesome."
One of the more excited people in the room was Cubs' fiscal-man Crane Kenney.
"I can't get a damn thing done in this neighborhood. You put Morgan Freeman in one of those town hall meetings...or in front of City Hall? Maybe we'll finally get that damn parking lot."
Freeman sent back a press release with the following statement:
"I've been hoping for this day my entire life. The Cubs are a good thing, maybe the best of things...and good things never die."