"You Play to Win the Game!"

Phone ringing, Friday morning, Nov. 1, 2012,  2:00 am.

Hizzoner:  (yawning, bleary-eyed, thinking to himself, “Oh God, the red phone. What the hell does Axelrod want now? And, why do we have these land lines anymore?”)

“David, can’t this wait till the morning?”

Axelrod:  That’s the problem with you Rahm, you’ve gotten too cushy being just a Mayor. Have you forgotten your politics?  And THAT politics is Sports?

Hizzoner: Don’t get me started on that one. You’ve never run for an election. You’ve never dealt with Karen Lewis and the Teacher’s Union. And now we’re possibly closing over 100 schools. Or my constant battle with Governor Quinn on the Executive Director of the Ilinois Sports Facility.  And then there’s ALWAYS the controversy about the turf at Soldier Field. It's becoming a national laughing stock, not to say a possible injury to one of our own.

Axelrod: And staying on that, what is up with the Bears’ running game?  Or our offensive scheme?  As Jon Gruden and Jiggetts say:  Our offense is not consistent or even established.   How can we even think of making reservations for New Orleans in February, if you can’t talk to Tice about that? or Lovie? What else do mayors do?  I mean, Bloomberg did HIS job by postponing the Knicks – Nets opener due to Hurricane Sandy.  Aren’t you up on these duties?

Hizzoner:  I’m already doing my job for the Prez,  bringing you Illinois' 20 electoral votes.  We won’t need to do what Daley did in 1960, when he had dead people vote early and often. Don’t you have other things on your mind?  Like something called “KEEPING THE WHITE HOUSE ANOTHER FOUR YEARS?”  Or worrying about another 2000 joke, of going to the Supreme Court?

Axelrod:  Hey, you saw how the Prez and Republican Governor Christie are making nice-nice these days, so it’s good for our team to show we can do business with the other side of the aisle.  Makes for great 30 second spots in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Hizzoner:  Pennsylvania is Penn State, David.   Given that Former Penn State President Graham Spaniard was just charged with child, endangerment, perjury and obstruction of justice in the Penn State sex abuse scandal, don’t be so sure there won’t be any Koch brothers money TV adds, giving Republican Governor Tom Corbett all the credit for “doing justice.”

Axelrod:  I’ll make sure the Prez says something about the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Philadelphia, and FEMA’s future assistance.  Then fly him to Pittsburgh and get a picture with Roethlisberger.

HIzzoner:  David, I’m done here. But I can read you like a book:  A.J. is on your mind.  And  you’re still upset with Joe Buck constantly going after Pierzynski during the entire 2005 World Series , after getting on base in game 2 vs. the Angels.  Get over that.  Okay, I’ll talk to Jerry about re-signing A.J. for a 2 yr. contract. Happy now?

Axelrod: See how you can read my mind?   Truth be told, I miss our battles at 2 am in 2008 when we couldn’t sleep, planning the next stump speech, and battling everything, including sports. Sports talk helped settle us down, right?

Hizzoner:  David Plouffe  knows his stuff, go rattle him.  Talk to me when you’re back in Hyde Park for a few days.

Axelrod:  Plouffe can’t express himself like you do.  You live on four-letter words. Just like Rod Marinelli.

Hizzoner:  You want sports talk?  Well, I’ve got nothing on the Cubs front, other than a Gold Glove for Darwin Barney. And to make the city happy, the re-signing of Taj Gibson was my call to Paxson, all the way.  So I’ll take credit for that.

Axelrod:  Man, you do have blinders on.  Pippen wants to be a head coach soon. How’s that gonna look if he goes somewhere besides the Bulls?  Between you and me, Thibs is beginning to feel a bit like Ozzie – much too intense and all-consuming.  And we know what happened there.  Da Prez is watching this one, you know.  Rose or no Rose.  Bulls need to show up. Pippen has 6 rings.

Hizzoner:  David, look what Jordan did, with 6 rings, to the Charlotte Bobcats.  Enough said on that front.

Axelrod:  What about Peavy’s co-Gold Glove? And Hahn did his job by bringing him back. But it was up to you to talk to Jerry about re-signing Buehrle, who won his 4th Gold Glove with the Marlins!   The Prez is still upset about that one.  But then again, you're a Cub fan, so all you cared about was getting Theo. Can’t you get this right?  And what’s this I hear about Patrick Kane playing hockey in Switzerland?  Where’s your red phone to Rocky? Or Bettman?  That Madhouse on Madison needs some ice, Rahm, not just wood on the floor.

Hizzoner:  Madhouse?  The only Madhouse I go to is a City Council meeting.  With all the back room dealing going on, even those Aldermen look more juvenile  than Kevin Garnett  snubbing Ray Allen.  Are we going to get into a sports rap at this time of night? Well you’ve got quite the battle on your hands, my friend.

Axelrod:  You said it, not me. Speaking of which:  did you see that one- million fan parade yesterday in San Francisco!  And a great World Series for the Giants.  We here in the White House loved the way our nemesis was taken down in a 4 game sweep, especially by a team in the state of California,  that will deliver us 55 electoral votes, along with 2 Democratic Female Senators.  No one had to ask for “their binders,” did they?

Hizzoner:  David, what are you asking me to do for you here?  God - Sports and politics at 2:00 am.  It was like this in 2008 with you and I.  But I’m hanging up here. Anything else?

Axelrod:  Immigration, Rahm, loud and clear in the Giants parade today.  We’re putting a spot together, featuring Sergio Romo’s  t-shirt:  “I ONLY LOOK ILLEGAL.”  The guy has the best slider in baseball, was born in California with Mexican heritage.  Fabulous story. We’ll run it in Colorado and Nevada, which could really help us.  Since the Giants beat Cincinnati, we’ll keep these spots out of Ohio, which is too close to call.

Hizzoner:  Now that one I like. But I’ll give you one more to take to the bank with you.  Get  Spielberg or the Coen Brothers to pay for this spot:  Remember?  October 30, 2002.  Herman Edwards, Coach of the NY Jets.  Jog your memory, old friend?

Axelrod:  Come on, Rahm, you know I was out of the country in Ontario, Canada, helping Dalton McGuinty of the Liberal Party win their election then.  Talk to me here.

Hizzoner:  Herm Edwards – head coach of NY Jets had a 2-5 record, and was asked by a sports reporter, if his team was ‘giving up’. So listen up to my one final piece of advice:  get a spot with the Prez, standing next to Edwards this Sunday, during Fox half time NFL football, shaking Herm's hand, and thanking him for giving this answer 10 years ago:

“…..giving up? That’s unthinkable to me.  That you have an opportunity in your lifetime to be a professional.  That you think of quittin?”  You don’t quit in sports.  You retire.  That’s not an option.

YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.  HELLO? …..you don’t play to just play it…..You go play to win. When you start telling me it doesn’t matter, then retire.  Get out.  Cause it matters…..Big time….Cause there’s one thing I know.  I don’t quit. That will not happen. “

Axelrod:  So what happened?

Hizzoner:  The Jets went 7 – 2 after that, and made the playoffs.

Axelrod:  Perfect.  Thanks ol’ buddy. Just like it was 4 years ago – politics and sports, the same game.  The good ol’ days with you.

Hizzoner:  (Yawn) Right. And let me worry about Rose, Alshon, A.J., Youk, Kane, Toews, and the O-line. There’s always next year for them, but not the Prez. But you guys?  PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.  CAUSE IT MATTERS.  BIG TIME!


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