Anarchist's Brunch: All Alone Is All We Are

Oh look, another hand me down from my big brother. Just like three-quarters of my wardrobe from the ages of 11 to 19. How joyous.

In all seriousness, I’m really chuffed that John asked me to keep the brunch in the family. While Adam could be as self-deprecating as anyone on Earth, he was pretty arrogant when it came to his writing (ask any of his coworkers at various ad agencies). Just about the only one he’d trust, with no offense meant to any of the great staff here at The Den, is me and even that’s heavily questionable.

But it’s good to be here. Some things you should know long term before we continue on this journey together. It’s funny, but it used to be that I was the hotheaded one when it came to the Cubs, as little brothers tend to be. I couldn’t see the big picture, couldn’t always adapt to the rhythm and length of a baseball season, and it was my brother who talked me off the ledge. The past few years, that’s kind of reversed. One of the things you guys loved was that Adam would still get upset about the Cubs’ performance. I do at times too, but I’ve chilled out a lot. I guess I’m getting old. Or I’m dying inside. Or both.

Second, my music leanings, while quite similar, lean to the louder side. For instance, you’ll get no Neko Case love letters here, because she bores the utter shit out of me. You’ve been warned.

Anyway, let’s get to it, shall we? I also have to warn you that this is a little tough to type because I think I busted up my pinky finger last night playing drunken air hockey. This is also something you should be prepared for. The booze-induced injuries that is, I don’t always play air hockey.

-So on Thursday, I experienced something for the first time. I went to a Cubs game by myself. It’s not that I was opposed to it before, it had just never come up. This is my first season being a partial season ticket holder, and the date came up where no one I knew could blow off work to come see Jake Arrieta (which certainly means I need new friends). I’d broken down the movie-alone barrier years ago, and I’ve come to almost prefer going to the movies alone (no one to judge me after the bathtub of butter I put on my popcorn, though that’s usually only my girlfriend. Such a prude when it comes to butter). And I loved it.

Sure, it didn’t hurt that Arrieta shut down the Rockies something fierce, which is always enjoyable. I found myself more locked in to what was going on. When in attendance, sometimes it’s hard to follow what’s going on in an at-bat while you’re talking with your friends, to see how a hitter is being worked and how they’re trying to get him out. You might miss the bite of the breaking stuff, depending on your angle and focus. Or you might not notice the shifting of the defense or everything that goes on before every pitch.

But on Thursday I did. Arrieta’s cutter/slider/whatever he dubs it this week was snapping and I wasn’t missing it. The way he consistently jammed an admittedly unfortunate Rockies lineup was fascinating. I guess when your lips aren’t moving, your other senses lock in a little better. Makes for a different baseball experience, let’s say.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be attending every game alone now. Only rarely or when forced. And I’ll have to point out that it’s much tougher to ignore the inebriated, dumbass woman two rows behind you who never shuts up all game and then gets really upset that Emilio Bonifacio was traded. There’s only such a level of zen I can get to, y’know? But I’m working on it.

-Is this the point where I make a music reference? Or rec? Ok, well in times of trouble I generally go with Led Zeppelin III and a lot of PJ Harvey. Blast “Man-Size” as loud as you can and you’ll find the day is tackle-able.

-Oh, another thing you should know about me is that while my Cubs passion is paramount, my second team has always been the Oakland A’s. That’s been the case since I was about 12 years old. I’m sure it’s not shocking that a team comprised of players and run in a punk rock sensibility would appeal to me. So this has been a pretty exciting season in that sense. Still can’t escape the feeling it will all come crashing down against the Tigers in a deciding game though. Because of baseball’s and its postseason’s variance, I don’t think a World Series ring should matter on how we judge Billy Beane. He’s produced seven playoff teams, and an eight on the way, with perhaps the game’s most hamstrung budget over that time. Only Brian Cashman can boast that, along with John Shuerholz, and they had much bigger advantages. And I’m enjoying this new phase of him basically turning into David Lee Roth and wanting everything. There’s still room in baseball for putting your balls on the table, even amongst the analytics and search for inefficiencies.

-Premier League starts in two weeks. And I was being so productive on the weekends. Oh well. Hope there are some fellow Scousers amongst you!

-As excited as I am for that, I think I’m most excited for Eva Green in Sin City. That might alter my world view.

Til next time, kids.



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  • Really great stuff. Having Sam keep writing the Brunch is a pretty awesome call. Also: COYS

  • Thanks for taking over the Brunch Sam. The Nirvana reference is nice. I've gone to quite a few ball games (Daytona Cubs mostly) on my own and you are right. It's a totally different experience, and one I find I enjoy.

    I usually reach for something from the NW in times of trouble. The Wipers, Youth of America may be my play for the day. Looking forward to many happy returns of Anarchist's Brunch!

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    In reply to Jayhawk81:

    If you go to wrigley solo
    you have to sit i Sec 415 - 420 if you can
    easy to sit there this time of year - awesome
    ad you can see the breaks o the pitch. Plus some great old times up there keeping score - with their 1990 walkman and head phones
    thats the spot to be.

  • Sam, thanks for keeping the Brunch alive. You learned something early as a Cub fan which is actually brilliant: It is wise to have a second favorite team to root for. I never learned that and it is too late for me since one of my first games at Wrigley was a doubleheader with the two Dicks pitching, Drott and Ellsworth.

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    One line struck me in the article... how you felt numb overall concerning the Cubs winning or losing. I too feel that way, after 40+ years as a Cubs fan. I attribute it to wisdom, to know after all this time that you alone cannot change the outcome, no matter how much you wish for that base hit with a guy on second.
    So, I guess I'm saying, don't let yourself attribute anything about becoming callous to this reality, it is actually just the opposite, that you are indeed growing.
    just my humble opinion, good article btw, I enjoyed!

  • Awesome stuff Sam! The meme pic and David lee Roth references definitely remind of Adam. Those are the nuggets I've missed the most.

    Onwards ~

  • Welcome. A solid first Brunch...and you skipped the melon, cottage cheese, and croissants, and went straight for the shaved ham,Eggs Benedict, bacon, and pastry table...a man after my own heart. Ahhh...Led Zeppelin III....the hours and hours I spent as a kid trying to get down Bron-Y-Aur Stomp on the guitar...great album. Anyway, very glad to see you taking this over. I look forward to your future contributions.

    Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

    Eva Green, Sin City

  • Ha! Billy Beane as David Lee Roth kills me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yea just jumped right out at ya! :)

  • Welcome aboard Sam. Damn glad to have you here. As a Chicago native living in the Bay Area my life is lacking regular rehash of Cubs life. I will text or email my dad or old friends when something big happens, like the cubs trade away 40% of their rotation, but I really miss the day to day and week to week. Maybe John can twist your arm into doing the daily recaps as well. Your brother did an amazing and unique job of filling that void for me. It made me feel like I just had a couple of beers at Estelle's in Wicker Park discussing the game when in reality I'd been laying in bed next to my sleeping newborn (and yes she will grow up a Cubs fan in SF). I love that you'll be continuing the informal insights into Cubs baseball. Because although I can geek out on stats as much as the next Denizen, its the conversation aspect of this blog segment that is found nowhere else on the web.

    Keep on keepin' on my man.

  • In reply to good4you:

    That's lovely of you to say, but my other blogging responsibilities, which basically involve telling people it's ok the Hawks traded Bollig all the time, would prevent me from that.

  • Well done Sam. My weekend is now complete. Onwards.

  • Well done Sam. And might I add, never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

  • Very entertaining, Sam! Thanks. How sweet it must be for you to see Samardzia pitching for the A's in the playoffs this year. Let's hope he kills it man-size. Not sure that phrase is common, but let's go with it.

  • Brunch it up, Sam!

  • Happy the anarchy continues. Enjoyed your piece.

    The A's are my second team also (never had one before moving to the Bay area), and they are easy to support. The ultimate underdogs. Beane has gone all in this year, and I hope he gets rewarded.

  • Nicely written.........................................

  • Welcome, Sam. We don't have a Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Keith, Crawford, ... YET; but our wave is coming

    I do understand the going solo thing. When the home team has the league's 2nd worst record, it IS hard to find friends who want to visit the Friendly Confines, Arrieta or no Arrieta. But I gotta feeling your friends are going to be coming out of the woodwork this time next year.

    Meanwhile, Go Hawks.
    Oops, sorry, wrong blog.

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    Welcome! I enjoyed reading your first brunch Sam. Edwin J. Just got us out of the 3rd. Hmmmmmmm. Too soon?

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    Great stuff, Sam. I'm glad John invited you to stay indefinitely.

  • Ron Swanson would be proud.

  • Good stuff Sam - haven't been to a baseball game myself since watching pony league games while a little-league aged kid back in the 1970s,.... Might have to try it some day.

    Glad to have you around.

  • Wow, great writing, Sam. It's really good to have you here, not just because of your writing, but your presence here softens the loss of your brother just a bit. We all miss him, so you bring a bit of him back to us. My condolences to you and your family.

  • I've gotten behind in my reading again, and am late to this party, but I couldn't pass up the chance to welcome you here and say how glad I am that you will be writing regularly. What a great start too--very enjoyable and well-written article. And finally, the A's reference. The Cubs have always been my favorite team, in any sport--and after the Blackhawks finally won the Stanley Cup, the only one without a championship. But when I was a kid, my favorite American League team was the A's. I was first attracted by the uniforms; I thought the green and gold colors and white shoes were cool. But players like Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter kept me cheering for them. When the Cubs traded Samardzija and Hammel to the A's, it brought back those old memories for me, and I'm all in on the A's for this year. I hope they can win it all this time.

    In any case, it's great to have you here, and we look forward to the weekly blog posts. Welcome!

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