Thursday, July 31, 2014

HOW DO I SPELL BELIEF? F-A-N-S! By Jerry Pritikin

                                             This is something to cheer about... My Hilda!
Signs of my times...
This sign can be found in Ryno Sandberg's Book-Second to Home.
How I love to Hate the Cardinals! 
This is when I thought the balls were juiced,not the players!
Sadly,this was from the day after the Bartman Ball fiasco.
I  really appreciated the great hand when I expose my Cubs Gay Pride T-shirt from this year's OUT AT WRIGLEY DAY.
Without the winds... it's not the Freiendly Confines... I usually held this up when ever the Cubs hit one out of the park!
This is Don Zimmers wife ZOOT! She was a genuine hoot when she accepted the award for her husband,who died just weeks ago. They were married for over 60 years.
This was the complete roster for the 2014 Induction Day at Baseball Reiquary.

The Hilda Award is named after the fabled fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. She was best known for her cowbell. I was the lead off man for this event and I had a prepared speech that was to last about 8 minutes... However when  Executive Director Terry Cannon introduced me to the crowd of 200+ baseball fans,he touched almost all the bases that I was going to speak about... So I pulled out a few of my signs and and started by saying I was not used to speaking to crowds, I was use to yelling from them. I started off with one of my signature calls using Lenny Dyksta as an example. Hey Lenny! This ball is going over your head... Just like Sesame Street! And the crowd enjoyed it.

The first sign was originally made on the first day of the 1994 MLB Strike. I wish that MLB would realize that the real everyday fan is almost extinct due to the greed of the owners and players.

The second sign was made when Ryno spent the day in the Bleachers and sat next to me along with a friend of his. When his SECOND TO HOME book was published,I was in line to buy one when he saw me and said "Your in my book", and added and your the only one who knows why I have two cups in my hand. When I got my copy, I knew what he was talking about. 4 college kids where sitting in thr row in front of us and asked Ryno if he would like to play MOUND BALL? They explained the game and told him it cost a buck. Ryno opened his wallet and he had no money in it and had to ask his good friend Peter Bensinger for a dollar. And on his first turn, he won $17. and in the picture besides me holding this sign,he had a beer in one hand and the winning jackpot in the other cup! And now you know the rest of the story!

When ever the Cards came to town,I used to bring several bags of "Red" feathers and pass them out to the Cubs fans. Ofter,Arne Harris,WGN's director would show them wearing a Cubs cap with a red feather in it.

When Sammy Sosa was knocking homers back then,I had many signs for him,including SLAM BAM,THANK YOU SAM! However,after the cork bat and then the steroids... Sammy fadded quickly  in the fans standings.

The No Virginia sign was the day after the infamous "Bartman Ball" game. Of course I was hoping to get to the PROMISE LAND and into the World Series. When I was 8 years old in the summer of 1945,my dad gave me a crash course in Baseball 101 and CUBS History and took me to my first game at beautiful(when it was) Wrigley Field. A short time later,when the clinched the N.L. Pennant I asked my Dad to take me to the World series... he said I was too young,however he made me a PROMISE,he would take me the next time! So as I evolved into the Bleacher Preacher my main goal was to go to a Cubs World Series game. I had a deal with BIG ASS FAN Company when that happened... they were going to pay me $5,000 to wear their T-shirt into the Friendly Confines as well as buy me a ticket to the game. But be that as it was...WAIT TO NEXT YEAR was in the air,again!

One of my proudest moment at the Hilda event came when I opened up my Bleacher Preacher shirt and exposed my CUBS Pride T-shirt from this years OUT @ Wrigley Day. It is annual affair in it's 14th year and a great tie-in with Chicago's gay Community. I mentioned my 40 years in the gay rights movement and knew Harvey Milk as a friend. I received a grand ovation and after the event many of the audiance asked me about Harvey. Last year I was inducted into the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

The signs I brought were my small signs and I did not bring my 10 Cub-Fan-Mandments with me because I was limited to what I could take on the plane. When the wind is blowing out at Wrigley,I think I could probably hit one over the wall... in fact I have seen many pitchers look like the clean up hitter. It's generic, and with my propeller spinning it usually wound up on the tube.

Don Zimmer was always a fan favorite no matter where he  played,coached or managed. Pop Eye was a genuine character. He passed away about 5 weeks ago,and it was great to see his wife ZOOT, there to receive his award. They were a perfect Double play LOVE-COMBO!

One more thing,I have been priced out of the ballpark at the face value of a ticket. There are no more cheap seats at Wrigley or at almost every MLB ballpark. Bill Veeck who was Honored by Baseball Reliquary a few years ago used to say that after roaming ballparks for pver 20 years, he noticed by inverse proportion of what a fan paid for a ticket was their knowledge of the game. That does not prevail anymore. If Hilda was alive, I am sure that if she had a ticket to any MLB game and brought her cowbell... she would probably be kicked out of the park for making noise!
This was taken at Bill Veeck's last game at Wrigley in 1985.(c) Jerry Pritikin


Jeff said...

"One more thing,I have been priced out of the ballpark at the face value of a ticket. There are no more cheap seats at Wrigley or at almost every MLB ballpark."

What does it cost?

Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher said...

The reason I was able to attend so many games was the bleachers was called Cheap Seats. I boycotted the Cubs in 1991 when the Tribune Co. raided the price of a bleacher seat from $ 6 bucks. Today,it depends if it is a day or night game or weekend. Some bleachers on a weekend can cost $75. each for an adult or kid. This plus the cost of eating or drinking a soft drink or beer are extremely expensive. There is no such thing as an everyday fan anymore.

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