Mike Royko and the Cubs

I’m counting on sd’s Chicago roots and the Teeming Millions’ smarts to make up for the inadequacies of my own memory and research skills.

The Cubs’ most recent travails reminded me of what I’ve long “remembered” as one of my favorite lines. I believe I remember reading a Mike Royko column that said something like:

“Life, after all, is a losing proposition. That’s why we have cemeteries and Wrigley field.”

Did Royko actually write this? If so, when and where? I "remember " it as being toward the end of his career – probably in the '90s. I don’t think the entire colum was actually about the Cubs; it was just a passing, typically Royko, comment.

A week’s worth of library and Internet searching has yielded only frustration, so now I turn to you, sd and the Teeming Millions. Can you help?


Welcome. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve even tried the new Amazon search feature for their books. Nothing yet.

I’ll post this over at the American Dialect Society Mailing list. Probably nothing will come of it.



PS–I had to respond, as Royko is one of my top 5 heroes in life.

His “Slats Grobnic” pieces are the funniest things I’ve read in years, and they take me back to my old family home in Logan Square in the 60’s.

I used to live near Logan Square, in the 70s. Actually, I transferred “els” at that station, IIRC.

Slats Grobnic was, as you probably know, Mike Royko’s alter ego. Royko and “Billie Goat” Siannis were friends, the latter having his tavern on lower Wacker, just below Royko’s office. Royko mentioned that tavern several times in his columns. Too bad he couldn’t get Billie Goat to remove that damn curse.

IIRC, he tried. When the Cubs were in the playoffs in '84, Mike and (I believe) the nephew of the original Billy Goat Tavern owner, took a goat out onto the field in an attempt to remove the curse. The result, of course, is that the Cubs won the first 2, then lost the remaining three. They break your heart, don’t they?

Anyway, I guess that when dealing with Greek curses, you need the original goat. Oh well…

Hope Springs Eternal.
Hey Mike and Harry, put in a good word for the Cubbies, will ya?

Any chance we can get Royko on the 2004 presidential ticket.

Yeah, yeah, I know he’s dead. But we’re talking Chicago

Yes, but the nephew tried twice previously to bring a goat to the park in the post-season games and the goat was refused admission; this after the nephew said he lifted the curse. But Billy Goat died in 1970 and did not bequeath his nephew the power to lift the curse. Billy Goat died without doing so. And you saw his hand in the sixth game, knocking the ball out of Alou’s gove and out of Gonzalez’ glove. Such karma. :frowning: :frowning: :frowning:

Besides being a gay basher and a racist, Royko was a pretty cool guy. :dubious:

Among other things, Royko is quoted as saying “jag off queer” and “fuck you fag” to the arresting officer. To the ambulance crew, he reportedly said: “What are you, fags? Why are you wearing those fag gloves . . .?” And while being processed, Royko is said to have asked: “You fucking loser, what’s your ethnicity, you fag?”


Well, I don’t want to make excuses for him, but I will: He did become quite loopy and cranky in his later years. If you’ve read any of his work up until, say, the mid-80s, especially his work at the Chicago Daily News, you’d realize he was a vocal advocate of the civil rights movement. Read “The Boss” and then tell me what his stance on ethnic relations and racism was.

Yeah, I used to like Royko when he and I were both younger. In his later years he kind of went off the deep end in crankiness. It got to a point where it seemed to me he would write anything in his column as long as it would stir up some controversy, and I think this hurt his integrity, at least in my opinion.