Remember the other day, when the Blob pointed out just how thoroughly Major League Baseball stepped in it by not inviting Charlie Sheen -- aka, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn -- to throw out the first pitch of the World Series in Cleveland tonight?
Well. I have conducted an extraordinarily scientific survey (i.e., I asked a few of my Cub friends) who should get the honor of throwing out the first pitch Friday for the first World Series game in Wrigley Field in 71 years.
The consensus: Billy Williams.
Who would be my choice, too, even though I'm sort of partial to former Cubs manager Lee "My (Bleeping) Ass" Elia, simply because he delivered the greatest postgame rant of all time one spring day in 1983.
(OK, so that's a lie. I was just going for laughs there, and perhaps irony).
Anyway ... Billy Williams was the pick, although Ryne Sandberg got a few well-deserved votes, too. They're both icons, but Williams is the last of a generation that would have reveled in this like few others had they lived. But Ernie Banks and Ron Santo and Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray are all gone. Williams is the most prominent figure from that generation left.
He's a Hall of Famer who played 2,213 games in 16 seasons for the Cubs, and hit 392 home runs for them, and drove in 1,353 runs for them. None of those 2,213 games were World Series games. More than 1,350 of them were losses. Who better to fully appreciate the moment? Who better to stride out to the mound, wrap his hand around the baseball and fling it plateward, thereby exorcising all the ghosts, all the sour history -- all the failing -- with one elegant motion?
Yessir. If Ernie or Ronnie or Jack can't do it, their old running buddy should. Or so it says here.