25 years ago today, Lee Elia went on his classic tirade against Cubs fans that would make Marty Brennaman blush. The radio voice of the Reds' rant will always be remembered in Wrigleyville, but what made Elia's blow up so special was that he was the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Not a rival. Not a South Sider. The beloved Cubbie manager.
To provide some context, Al from Bleed Cubbie Blue, who attended the game, provides some context:
"(The Cubs) lost their first six and after this loss -- in which Lee Smith wild-pitched in the winning run in the top of the 8th -- they were 5-14, already seven games out of first place only three weeks into the season.As a proud bleacher dwelling Cub fan, I can attest to the ruthless nature of many idiots who also frequent these parts over the last 4-5 years. I can't, however, fathom what must have been said by the drunken fools that prompted the following from manager Lee Elia. Audio is above, but its equally powerful in written form. In total, there were 54 profanities, including 45 F-bombs. (NSFW, btw)
In those days the Cubs' clubhouse was in the left field corner; they'd cross the field from the dugout and enter through the little door that's now used by the ground crew and other team employees (the current clubhouse, behind the dugout, was constructed in 1984). And on April 29, 1983, as a weary team trudged across the field, a number of them, in particular shortstop Larry Bowa (who, ironically, had had a good day that day, singling, walking and scoring a run), were subjected to booing and (by some reports) had things thrown at them."
Oh, man. That gets better every time I hear it. A diatribe for the ages."F*ck those f*ckin' fans who come out here and say they're Cub fans that are
supposed to be behind you, rippin' every f*ckin' thing you do. I'll tell
you one f*ckin' thing, I hope we get f*ckin' hotter than sh*t, just to
stuff it up them 3,000 f*ckin' people that show up every f*ckin' day,
because if they're the real Chicago f*ckin' fans, they can kiss my f*ckin'
ass right downtown and PRINT IT.
"They're really, really behind you around here...my f*ckin' ass. What the
f*ck am I supposed to do, go out there and let my f*ckin' players get
destroyed every day and be quiet about it? For the f*ckin' nickel-dime
people who turn up? The motherf*ckers don't even work. That's why they're
out at the f*ckin' game. They oughta go out and get a f*ckin' job and find
out what it's like to go out and earn a f*ckin' living. Eighty-five
percent of the f*ckin' world is working. The other fifteen percent come
out here. A f*ckin' playground for the cocks*ckers. Rip them
motherf*ckers. Rip them f*ckin' cocks*ckers like the f*ckin' players. We
got guys bustin' their f*ckin' ass, and them f*ckin' people boo. And
that's the Cubs? My f*ckin' ass. They talk about the great f*ckin'
support the players get around here. I haven't see it this f*ckin' year.
Everybody associated with this organization have been winners their whole
f*ckin' life. Everybody. And the credit is not given in that respect.
Alright, they don't show because we're 5 and 14...and unfortunately, that's
the criteria of them dumb fifteen motherf*ckin' percent that come out to
day baseball. The other eighty-five percent are earning a living. I tell
you, it'll take more than a 5 and 12 or 5 and 14 to destroy the makeup of
this club. I guarantee you that. There's some f*ckin' pros out there that
wanna win. But you're stuck in a f*ckin' stigma of the f*ckin' Dodgers and
the Phillies and the Cardinals an all that cheap sh*t. It's unbelievable.
It really is. It's a disheartening f*ckin' situation that we're in right
now. Anybody who was associated with the Cub organization four or five
years ago that came back and sees the multitude of progress that's been
made will understand that if they're baseball people, that 5 and 14 doesn't
negate all that work. We got 143 f*ckin' games left.
What I'm tryin' to say is don't rip them f*ckin' guys out there. Rip me.
If you wanna rip somebody, rip my f*ckin' ass. But don't rip them f*ckin'
guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give. And right now they're
tryin' to do more than God gave 'em, and that's why we make the simple
mistakes. That's exactly why."
What I find so amazing is that Lee Elia wasn't fired the next day, or the next week. Fortunately for Lee, there weren't an army of bloggers calling for his head, nor were there an army of bloggers who would have undoubtedly tried to keep him at the helm. One can only imagine what Jay Mariotti might have uttered. Lee was eventually fired later that season.
So what's f*ckin' Lee Elia up to today? Trying to make a f*ckin' dollar at age 70. Yes, you too, can get a signed baseball from Lee, with positive words he has assured, for the low, low price of $89.95. (pssst, my birthday is Thursday)
Lee Unplugged, he's called it. I would say.
Elia is even making his way back to Wrigley Field tonight and will be doing the full radio media tour throughout the day. He did offer up one quote Monday that we wanted to make sure I PRINTED.
"I'll tell you one thing, it's time the Cubs get hotter than hell this season and stuff it up the rest of the baseball world. The 40,000 fans who fill the ballpark everyday and work hard for a living are no nickel dimers! They deserve a championship. They're the real Chicago Cub fans. And PRINT IT!"