The year was 1995. The setting: Hawaii. Kevin Costner was coming an 8-year run that included films like Silverado, The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances With Wolves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK, The Bodyguard, and The War. Okay, Silverado might be pushing it.
But all waves must eventually come ashore, which is exactly what happened to Costner with Waterworld. I remember visiting the set with my family while on vacation, seeing this huge platform out in the water, and looking forward to seeing the movie. Until I saw the movie. Ugh. While Waterworld was not actually the flop everyone made it out to be, it signaled the beginning of the end of Costner's box office viability.
Sure, he would go on to film Tin Cup and For the Love of the Game. But he also mailed in The Postman, cast a Swing Vote, traveled 3000 Miles to Graceland, and was mocked in Draft Day. I think Family Guy's Chris Griffin put it best when he asked, "How does Kevin Costner keep gettin' work?"
I felt the same way Saturday morning when I saw the news about Crane Kenney's 5-year extension with the Cubs. And here I thought the Manny Ramirez headline was a joke; now it's as though the Cubs baseball and business sides are competing to see who can make the most mystifying move. Seriously, this is the professional sports version of the penis game.
And I suppose that's fitting, since so many people think Kenney's real first name should be Richard; at least, I think that's why they're calling him a Dick. Whatever name you refer to him by, the Cubs president of business operations will be with the team through 2019, which, incidentally, is right around the time all the major debt issues from the Ricketts' purchase should be resolved.
Much has been made about Ron Santo memorabilia and an elaborate cake being hucked in the trash, Comiskey Park being portrayed as Wrigley Field ON Wrigley Field, and the whole rooftop contract business. Some have gone so far as to call my colleague, WilcoMeThat, a dumbass, while others have brushed the narrative aside as meaningless.
And while it's true that these incidents, when viewed in a vacuum, are minor in nature (okay, well, the rooftop thing isn't minor), they become indicative of a more insidious issue when viewed as a whole. They shouldn't just be ignored, just like chest pains and numbness in one's left arm shouldn't be ignored by someone with high blood pressure, or anyone for that matter.
Regardless of how wholeheartedly you believe the company line that the Cubs need new revenue streams, you have to believe that the business and baseball sides of the organization need to sync up at some point. Sadly, that's actually what's happening now, albeit in the wrong way (i.e., without Raj or Rerun, or success); a couple bungled PR moves have involved a dumpster, while the Cubs on-field product closely resembles a dumpster fire.
But while there are signs of hope on the horizon for the baseball side as Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant all continue to track nicely toward promotions, the extension of Kenney's contract appears to signal continued entropy for the Cubs' biz ops. So I ask, how does Crane Kenney keep gettin' work?
I guess it's because he's the Kevin Costner of baseball executives. They do, after all, share the same initials. But where Costner keeps getting roles and making bad pictures, I can only wonder as to whether Kenney keeps his role because he's got some pictures of his own, compromising ones. How else do you explain his continued employment in the face of what appears to be abject failure?
Perhaps Kenney took a cue from the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in order to gain mastery of the guitar. Crane could have headed out to the corner Clark and Addison to sign a deal of his own; of course, that's assuming he had something left to trade in the first place.
And if it seems as though a 5 year deal isn't much to receive in exchange for one's immortal soul, consider that spending that much time with the Cubs really is kind of like an eternity.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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