if you didnt grow up in chicago

you probably dont know jerome holtzman who died today at 81

but if you love baseball, and youre not a faker, you should respect “the dean” because not only did he cover Chicago baseball beautifully for decades, but he invented a little thing called The Save that not only gave kudos to closing pitchers, but, if you ask me, changed baseball because it made that stat one of the most valuable in the box score. and it created not just a new stat column but a new way of thinking about pitching, pitchers, and how to help end a game.

Holtzman came up with the formula for baseball’s “save” rule in 1959, a move to acknowledge effective relief pitching. In 1969 it was adopted as an official rule, the first major addition to baseball statistics since runs batted in were recognized in 1920.

“The reality is, he revolutionized baseball,” former Sun-Times columnist Bill Gleason said. “He glamorized the relief pitcher, who was just another guy before [the save rule].”

Holtzman wrote six books, including the classic “No Cheering in the Press Box,” an oral history of baseball as recounted by 24 sportswriting legends such as Paul Gallico, Shirley Povich and Red Smith. The book, published in 1974, was reissued in 1995 with six new chapters and remains a popular text in college journalism classes.

“He was the consummate writer,” said George Vass, a former colleague and friend who collaborated with Holtzman on two books. “No one was ever more dedicated and clear-minded about the sport, those who played it and wrote about it.”

After Holtzman retired as the Tribune’s baseball columnist in 1998, Selig hired him as baseball’s official historian. – Chicago Tribune

in what must have been a dream come true, for 28 years holtzman covered both the Cubs and the sox, often switching beats after the all star break.

Holtzman was always primed for a big scoop, including the news during the 1974 World Series that Oakland pitching star Jim “Catfish” Hunter would be granted free agency after A’s owner Charlie Finley failed to honor certain provisions in his contract.

“He beat everybody on the beat,” Gleason said. “It was during a World Series, and he was so far ahead of everybody it was amusing.”

Holtzman also was a hard-bitten reporter who didn’t back down from those he covered, most notably then-Cubs manager Leo Durocher. Holtzman once bragged he had spent an entire season not talking to Durocher because the volatile manager had slighted him.

really great picture of him sitting next to former Cubs manager don zimmer here.

my nutritionist says the reason im a huge cow is because of my diet

but i disagree.

the reason im a huge cow is because i like mayonnaise and french fries and beer and doritos.

and oreos.

and because for the first time in my life i have an appetite and my stomach doesnt tie in knots after i eat a full meal.

there was a time in college where i couldnt even eat half a slice of pizza from Pizza Bob’s without my stomach complaining like mad. the only remedy was a half bottle of pepto bismol and a rip from a 6 footer. i was sick all the time because i had no nourishment inside me to fend off the most common ailments.

today i can eat a full breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack and not only does my stomach hang in there with me but it even has started offering up suggestions. “why dont you try out that new japanese place?” “ever been to that one korean joint?”

back in the day a hot dog would be the worst idea ever as every foul ingredient would cause the most spectacular explosion on the way down and as it traveled out, but nowadays i can devour it all and lick my fingers of excess mustard and ketchup and mayo and beer.

finally i feel alive.

and you know why i feel alive? because i am alive. because the cubs are winning and i have a job that i love and im surrounded by people who respect me and because im doing the things that i want. but mostly because i can eat like the beast that i was meant to be.

i am a man. men are not supposed to eat lean cuisine. men are not supposed to have anything that says weight watchers in their cupboards. men are supposed to die young and fat and with a smile on our faces. we’re supposed to have heart attacks rounding second during sloshball. we’re supposed to have strokes chasing some mamacita up a stairwell as she giggles and then screams at the discovery. we’re supposed to croak behind a saloon after a night of one too many after stepping in the alley for a little fresh air because something wasnt right.

we’re supposed to go out like men in the gutter next to the trash in a puddle of standing water and piss.

and life.

thank you.

why didnt i think she had a boyfriend?

of course she would have a bf. bfs are a dime a dozen these days. bfs are the new black.

but what about black boyfriends?

maybe i didnt think she had a boyfriend cuz when i asked her if she wanted to have dinner with me she said sure.

ive had a few gfs in my day and you know how many went to dinner with a stranger? maybe life is different these days. maybe her facebook was inaccurate. maybe hes at war. maybe hes stuck in traffic. maybe hes not attentive to her needs.

maybe he doesnt eat dinners. maybe hes obsessed with the upside down triangle where you gorge for breakfast, have a sensible lunch and hardly any dinner. maybe thats how he keeps his girlish figure, and his girl.

then whys she having dinner with tony pierce. clearly a man with an agenda. obviously a man who’s hypnotizing skills are capable of convincing a young lady that shes sleepy very sleepy. your eyes are getting heavy. oh so heavy.

now listen. break up with your dude. you know hes not right for you. you know he doesnt drive a 14 year old car with a leaky oil thing. and if he does it doesnt have a satelite radio in it and oh so many stories.

your eyes are still heavy and you know in yr heart that pretty boys just lead to misery and woe. that dudes with flat stomachs lead to stomach aches and night shakes. so heavy yr eyes. how do you keep them open?

one thing all yr pretty bfs cant give you is the new paul westerberg album called 49:00 for 49 cents. does merle even know who paul westerberg is? when he talks about his boom boom music does it make yr eyes get heavy? maybe not. girls hate music pretty much. this one told me she hates aerosmith. i was all am i dreaming? is this a daymare? aerosmith? i probably listen to aerosmith every day.

these dogs dig these holes in my courtyard. first the dogs pooped everywhere. then they ate my newspaper. now these different dogs are digging ginormous holes all over the courtyard. do people have any sense? wouldnt you think if you saw a really nice courtyard when you moved into a place and then a week or two later when you saw a huge hole and dirt everywhere and then another huge hole, huger than the first, and way more dirt all over, and maybe dirt on your dogs’ paws and noses you might say huh.

do you really not do something about it?

huh, she has a boyfriend. do i really not do something about it? do i ignore like my neighbors and their dirty dogs?

do i ignore that my favorite singer has a new record out and it cost less than two quarters? no, i do something about it. i download it. i listen all night as i type to the world. and heres my review:

forty nine thousand times better than all the last radiohead albums combined.

clearly something phenomenal is happening with paul westerberg as this is easily the best work he’s done since Pleased to Meet Me.