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LOS ANGELES- Former Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia is suffering from a case of Cubilitis Dementiatis. Most folks suffering from Cubilitis Dementiaitis have warning symptoms. However, for most former Cubs managers, it’s viewed as a right of passage.
Elia is the 13th Cubs manager to suffer from the disease. And in his sad pain, he’s still slamming Cubs fans…and he’s still doing it with fuzzy math.
27 years after Elia’s famous tirade, the former Cubs skipper told a Los Angeles Times reporter that he still thinks the city’s unemployment rate is so high because of day baseball.
“The other 85% is out workin’. And the other 15%? Well, they go to day baseball.”
When Elia was informed by the reporter that the Cubs don’t play 81 games of day baseball anymore, the field manager was indignant.
“No, they’re out there because they’re the real Chicago fans. They sit in the sun, drinkin booze, complainin’ about Mel Hall’s slow development. Usually we have some jerk throwin’ stuff at Rainbow (Trout), it’s just a playground for the-“
Cutoff by the reporter; Elia was told his facts weren’t just wrong…they were from a different era.
“Dont’ cut me off, young man! I’m telling you there’s more to this story than the record says! This is a really, reallly good story. Now my records might say one thing, and your’s might say another. But that doesn’t change the makeup of my story. 15% of Chicago could be helping out the economy. People wanna blame Reagan? It’s not his fault. People wanna blame that sweet faced Jane Byrne? Whatever! That city there has folks lightin up poor guys like Jay Johnstone. So, the SOB can’t hit a curveball? So what! He loves his wife. He’s got great kids. If you wanna get on somebody, get on the manager. Me. If you’re gonna rip somebody, rip me. Don’t be one of those nickle dime fans that come to the ballpark every day. You wanna boo? And you’re the real Chicago fans? My f-“
When interrupted again, the reporter informed Elia that players like Johnstone, Trout, and Hall were long gone. Bleacher tickets cost $60 for night games…and Ronald Reagan was no longer president.
“Listen, I know what the situation is in Chicago. Those fans don’t work because of severe depression. They got phillie-itis…some are stuck with that stigma of the Cardinals and Dodgers. It’s ugly. But they’ll turn it around. The city just needs to get those people to work. Maybe that new black guy (Harold Washington) can get some programs up. Can you tell Dallas (Green) that I need some popcorn? I’m light-headed.”
Elia isn’t the first Cubs manager to go mad in his ladder days. The first Cubs manager to go mad was Frank Chance. Chance’s final days saw him stand outside the bleacher entrance mumbling about fire hoses and John McGraw.
Charlie Grimm spent his final years his yelling at his wife about how the refrigerator magnets were just inaccuracies on the manual scoreboard.
Most notably were the final years of Leo Durocher’s life. Durocher spent his final years randomly berating his dog ‘Margie’ about dropping two fly balls in Shea Stadium during the 1969 pennant race.
Elia has been left in the same delusional state that most Cubs managers find themselves…His final words were that of exhaustion, and left many wondering how much time he might have left.
“I don’t know how much longer I can take this. We’ve got 143 games left. The changes in my life have been multifold…I just hope that the changes can occur in Chicago…too much day baseball…too much losing…stigma…you can take that downtown and print it…rip me…143 games left…fire me Dallas…I’m losin’ it…it’s a tough National League East…it’s a rough life…it’s a tough life, period.”