Saturday, August 09, 2014

Double Header Day

Had a tremendous day yesterday with my son Sean and nephew Joey. We went to the Cubs game AND the Bears game. I don't think I'll ever be able to pull that off again. Thanks boys for hanging with the old man...


Thanks for this one, MC. I'm definitely going to use this...

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Bruce Bohrer media tour continues

Bruce Bohrer on WGN Radio

In case you missed it, "Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher" author Bruce Bohrer has been making the rounds.

Perhaps you heard this interview on WJRN Afternoon News: Listen here.

Or this piece on Chicago's top rated radio station, WBBM News Radio: Listen here

Bruce has got a few more appearances coming up in the near future.

On August 18th at 9:30pm, Bruce will be on with WGN Radio's Pete McMurray.

On September 10th at 7pm, Bruce will be at the Brookfield Library.

On October 7th at 11:30am, Bruce will be at the Buffalo Grove/Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.

If you'd like to book Bruce to be on your radio/television show, or appear at your organization's event, contact Eckhartz Press publishers Rick Kaempfer ( or David Stern (

"Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher" is available here at Eckhartz Press. It's also available on amazon as an e-book.


Going to the Country

This was John Records Landecker's facebook post last night...

Saturday Night At The 70's!!! This weekend Aug 9th at the Georgetown Fair in Georgetown Illinois. (about 10 miles south of Danville) John Records Landecker in person!! Trivia contests!!! Music !!! Best Dressed contest!! Copies of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"..7-10pm!!! Presented by 980 WITY !!!!!

It's an old-fashioned country fair. Come for the goat contest, and stay for the 70s night. Come for the Demolition derby, and stay for the book signing. Should be fascinating.

Here's the actual schedule for the event from the Georgetown Fair's website...

Saturday, August 9th
8:00 a.m. – American Dairy Goat Association Sanctioned Sr. Dairy Goat Show (Milkers) – VanBuskirk Arena
8:00 a.m. – Registration for Pretty Baby Contest
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Release-Home Ec. Entries
9:00 a.m. – Pretty Baby Contest – Sponsored by GRHS Class of 2004
9:00 a.m. – Llama and Alpaca Show
9:00 a.m. – Open Poultry Show
1:00 p.m. – Ponytail & Piggytail Contest
1:30 p.m. – Pedal Tractor Pull
1:00-5:00 p.m. – Kiddie Day at the Carnival (Armbands)
5:00 p.m.-Close – Armband Night in Carnival
7:00 p.m. – Demolition Derby – Sponsored by 94.9 K-ROCK & NAPA Auto Parts, G & K Inc.
7:00 p.m. – Showcasing – Saturday Night at the 70s – with John Records Landecker (more details)

The Eckhartz Press Publishers, Rick and Dave, will be there too. We're bringing the books and CDs.

Frampton Grabs Camera-Phone From Audience and Throws it

When Peter Frampton says "no flash photography or videos", he means it.

One couple just found that out.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Back in the Game

We have a cover for our next book. It will be coming out in September. Looking forward to working with Rich King, and his book is very inspiring...

Hillary on Colbert

Colbert really has a great show. I hope he can figure out a way to translate this sort of bit to a mass audience when he takes Letterman's slot.

Something to Keep in Mind

Old WMET Commercial

I did listen to this rock station when it was on the air in Chicago, but I don't remember this ad from 1983...although in my defense, I was living in Champaign at the time. It stars Geena Davis...

Apparently Kid

This video has gone viral. They are calling him Apparently Kid...because he constantly says the word apparently.

It caught my attention because I had my own Apparently kid about seven or eight years ago. I didn't even remember this until I started working on my Father Knows Nothing book. Over these past two weeks I read all 400 of my Father Knows Nothing columns. This column was written was back in 2008, and may be included in the book...

My youngest son Sean has always had a parrot-like ability to pick up the language. It was through four-year-old Sean that I discovered my overuse of the word “apparently.” Apparently I said apparently all the time, because apparently Sean picked it up and began to say it in every sentence, apparently.

“Apparently I have to go to the potty.”

“Apparently Pokemon cards are all over the floor.”

“Apparently Johnny wants to punch me because I say the word apparently too much.”

Sean and I went cold turkey together, and after a brief period of shaking and sweating, we came out of the other side of the apparently tunnel stronger than ever. We attend Apparently Anonymous meetings every Tuesday. Apparently we’re completely recovered.

After Sean starting attending school all day, a new word replaced “apparently.” He said the word “Snap!” a thousand times a day. This word doesn’t have the utility of “apparently,” but it can be used in quite a few situations.

It can be an exclamation of regret (”Snap! I forgot my mittens.”), an exclamation of delight (”Snap! French Fries!”) or a valuable part of a gloating song and dance (”Oooh Snap! You got pwnd.”)

“Pwnd” was the other new word entered our house. This ultra-cool 21st century word was introduced to the household by my middle son Johnny. It was his favorite word. “Pwnd” has various different uses. An individual can “pwn” an opponent in a debate by presenting an argument that simply can’t be countered. He can be “pwnd” in a game by decisively outsmarting his opponent. And, in rare cases of total domination, the victor is able to bask in “pwnage.”

If the “pwnr” is Sean, you were sure to hear the word “Snap!” during the pwnage aftermath.

Apparently he really likes that word.

11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Beatles

I actually did know three of these, and a couple others are slightly questionable.

But still worthy of reading for my fellow Beatle-geeks. You can read it here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher is now also available as an e-book

Bruce Bohrer has been receiving rave reviews for his book "Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher", and for those of you who were waiting to purchase the book for your kindle, you can now do so.

You can get the e-book at amazon, by clicking here.

Of course the trade paperback is still available right here at Eckhartz Press.

Future's So Bright, Gotta Wear Shades

Mock away, but I'm drinking the Kool-Aid right now. The Cubs youth movement inspired this new t-shirt we're offering at Just One Bad Century.

Get your very own right here.

Chicago Radio Ratings by Dayparts

I like the way Robert Feder breaks down the radio ratings these days by dayparts.

Top Rated Morning Shows
(I noticed that Brant Miller was #6 in the mornings. Wonder why WLS is looking to replace him.)

Top Rated Midday Shows
(Surprised to see WGN is not in the top ten)

Top Rated Afternoon Shows
Robert Murphy, my next interview subject for the Illinois Entertainer, comes in at #7.

Top Rated Evening Shows

The one station I notice largely missing from the ratings is the Drive. I suspect there's some tumult there these days.

Kaempfer Boys

My two oldest boys both had big days yesterday. Son #1 finally got his driver's license. Son #2 visited Old Faithful at Yellowstone.

CNN Lawsuit

Yowza. This is a wild one. CNN correspondent Arwa Damon allegedly bit two paramedics in a drunken rage at the U.S. Embassy in Bagdad. CNN is being now being sued.

TV Newser has the story. Here's the basis of the lawsuit...

The lawsuit was first reported by TMZ, which says Damon and CNN are being sued for $1 million by two EMTs who claim they suffered injuries after Damon became “seriously intoxicated” and “unruly and violent” at the Embassy. The lawsuit claims “CNN knew Damon had a history of becoming drunk and abusive, and had a penchant for violence, even when sober,” according to TMZ.

Wow. I wonder if she knows Fox News anchor Greg Jarrett? Sounds like they'd make a lovely couple.

Rupert Backs Off on Pursuit of Time Warner

That's the report in this morning's New York Times. Although this little portion of the article set off red flags in my head...
Tuesday, the chief executive of Time Warner Inc., Jeffrey L. Bewkes, received an unexpected email.

“On behalf of our board and senior management team, I am writing to inform you that we are withdrawing our offer to acquire Time Warner, effective immediately.

Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch.”

A hand-delivered letter bearing the same message arrived soon after.
Hmmmm. This has a Lucy/Charlie Brown football sort of feel to it, doesn't it?

The only thing that makes me believe it's real is that Newscorp stock has gone down since Rupert announced his pursuit. That's literally the only thing that can get his attention.

But if I was Jeffrey L. Bewkes, I would hire guards to watch to my back.

(Photo: Rupert Murdoch)

New Night Jock at FM 100

From today's RAMP Newsletter...

Robb Rose is officially hired to replace Cara Carriveau, who was recently upped to afternoon drive. Rose segues from the state capital of Springfield, IL, where he was Operations Director of Saga's six-station cluster and morning personality on Country WLFZ (101.9 The Wolf). As WILV PD Marty Bender stated in a staff memo, "You might recognize Robb's name and voice already. He has actually been a weekend personality at WILV off and on since 2009." Bender added, "We set the bar pretty high with this particular hire. We were looking for someone with an overall great radio background and had on-air experience in all the key dayparts. Thus, [Robb] will be handling all the key weekday fulltime fill-ins." Rose is actually filling in this week on afternoons for the vacationing Carriveau and will assume his new 7-midnight shift next week.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Power Pop

Great song from 1979. Just had a hankering for some power pop. We used to play this on WPGU all the time...

Chicago Radio Ratings

No big surprises in the latest Chicago radio ratings. From Tom Taylor's NOW Column...

*Urban AC “V103” WVAZ tops the market again, 5.6-5.9-6.1.

*Next is CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM and its FM partner, 5.0-5.0-5.5.

*Third is Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX, 4.9-5.0-4.9.

*CC’s top 40 “Kiss” WKSC (4.1-4.3-4.5), tied with CBS Radio’s country “US99.5” WUSN (4.4-4.4-4.5) and just ahead of CBS’s rhythmic “B96” WBBM-FM, 3.9-4.5-4.4 and Cumulus classic hits WLS-FM (4.3-3.4-4.4).

*Notable month for Univision’s regional Mexican WOJO, 3.0-3.5-3.7. But a bad month for Cubs baseball flagship WGN. The Tribune-owned talk station may be paying for some talent changes, including moving Garry Meier off of PM drive, as it goes 4.6-4.0-3.6.

*Chicago Public Media’s news/talk WBEZ is a bit softer, 1.8-1.7-1.4. That ties it with Cumulus talker WLS, 1.6-1.4-1.4.

*In sports, there’s CBS Radio’s “Score” WSCR, 2.4-2.0-1.9 and ESPN-run WMVP, 1.9-1.5-1.6.

*Chicago’s cume leader is CHR “Kiss” with an average weekly cume of 2,365,600.


Here he comes, Cub fans. Javier Baez is making his debut tonight for the Cubs. I'm going out with a fellow Cubbie geek to watch the game on television together.

I realize that's a little ridiculous. My fellow Cubbie geek (who is actually double the geek I am, if you can believe it) warns me that Baez has struggled every time he has been brought up another level, at least initially. It happened at High-A ball, Double-A, and Triple-A. It will probably happen in the big leagues too.

But we're still going out tonight to watch him on television together. We're like alcoholics who haven't had a drink for years, sitting at the bar, drinking a cup of foam, waiting for the next keg to be tapped. The foam doesn't quite cut it. It's bitter and slightly disgusting, but it has the taste in it...and that taste is being brought up from cellar any moment.

Hmmm. After reading that metaphor, I'm thinking I may have more pressing problems than what happens to the Cubs.

Explaining the Downside of Native Advertising

Thank you John Oliver for explaining why it's a slippery slope...

Monday, August 04, 2014

Pete McMurray

My latest media column has been posted at the Illinois Entertainer. This month I interviewed WGN's Pete McMurray

You can read it here.

Ten Cubs To Forget by Stuart Shea

Stuart Shea is the author of Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, published by University of Chicago Press in spring 2014, as well as of Fab Four FAQ (with Rob Rodriguez) and Pink Floyd FAQ. He has edited five baseball annuals and is assistant editor of Who’s Who in Baseball. Stuart and I both contributed pieces to the book "Cubbie Blues", which is when I got to know him.

He was kind enough to contribute this guest piece about the Cubs to Just One Bad Century. I hope you enjoy it...

The Cubs have employed plenty of heroes both long ago (Banks, Williams, Jenkins, Brown, Chance, Santo, Hartnett, Dawson) and in the recent past (Sandberg, Grace, Wood). But considering this team’s storied but often unsatisfying history, we’d like to forget that some guys ever wore the pinstripes. For every Billy Herman, Stan Hack, or Greg Maddux, there’s a Jeff Kunkel, Anthony Young, or Andrew Lorraine. Or two.

Some fans would like to forget Sammy Sosa’s tenure, which produced more than 500 home runs in Cubs garb but ended in dissension, bat-corking, and suspicions of PED use. But that’s a point still to be argued. Among the ten Cubs to forget on this list, it would be hard to find a defender for any of them. All of them were bad players—at least by the time they got to Wrigley—and some were also malcontents, malingerers, clubhouse cancers, or simply incapable of handling the pressure of the major leagues.

Most of these players are from the team’s last two decades of play, both because the team has often been jaw-droppingly bad in that span and because most of us remember these guys. So let us forge ahead, exhale, and say, “I’m glad that guy’s gone.”

Jeff Blauser: Following a huge season for the Atlanta Braves in 1990, in which he hit .308 with 17 home runs and 70 walks (numbers well above his career norms), the 32-year-old Blauser came to Chicago on a two-year, $8M contract. Unfortunately, he stunk up Wrigley Field for the entire run of his deal. Troubled by nagging injuries, he not only hit .226/.343/.342, but also established a reputation as a clubhouse problem. His playing career ended with the last paycheck he drew from the Cubs.

Milton Bradley: The talented but troubled Bradley hit—and wore out his welcome—everywhere he played. Whether arguing with fans, fighting with other players, or getting into trouble off the field, Bradley was expert at being in the wrong place doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. After a superb 2008 with the Rangers, Chicago GM Jim Hendry inked Bradley for three years at $30M. Sadly, Bradley exited the gate poorly and never got the fans on his side. Benched by manager Lou Piniella, on September 20 he was suspended for detrimental comments about the organization. Bradley did well at Wrigley Field but hit just .214 on the road with three homers. That winter, the Cubs unloaded him to Seattle for pitcher Carlos Silva, who was coming a 4-15, 6.46 season—a classic “you take my problem, I’ll take yours” swap. At least the Cubs won that deal.

Ernie Broglio: It’s an awful fate to be remembered as a punch line. Ernie Broglio was a good pitcher for St. Louis; in 1960 he was 21-9 and in 1963 went 18-8 with a 2.99 ERA. But he struggled early in 1964, and the Redbirds were happy to pack him off to Chicago in a ¬six-player June 15 deal that netted young outfielder Lou Brock. While the Cubs thought they were getting a top starting pitcher, by 1964 the 28-year-old Broglio had already thrown more than 1,900 professional innings—and as a guy who walked and struck out a lot of men, those innings weren’t easy. Almost immediately he began to struggle with a sore elbow, losing bite of his curve and MPH off his fastball. Elbow surgery late in 1964 didn’t help, and he went 3-12 in 1965 and 1966, his last action in the majors. And Brock? He had a decent enough career in St. Louis.

Todd Hundley: Fans who remembered the grit and smarts of catcher Randy Hundley could have been forgiven for feeling optimistic when the team signed his son Todd after the 2000 season, in which he’d hit .281 with 24 homers in Los Angeles. But Todd, raised in suburban Palatine, never turned on the jets in Chicago. Amid talk of personal and health problems, Hundley hit .187 and .211 in 2001–02 with the Cubs, showing only occasional power and playing defense that reminded nobody of his father. He last played in 2003, and in 2007 was cited in the Mitchell report as a suspected user of performance-enhancing drugs.

Howard Johnson: “Hojo” had suffered through three straight bad seasons before the Cubs brought him on board as a free agent in 1995; even playing in the heady air of Colorado hadn’t inflated Johnson’s batting line. For some reason the Cubs tried him anyway, signing him for $325,000 on April 13 once the strike had ended. Unfortunately Johnson’s bat was permanently warped, as he hit just .195 in 87 games with seven homers overall (just .098 with one home run on the road). Johnson wasn’t any help on defense either, and Wrigley was his final stop.

Neifi Perez: While Perez did inject the Cubs’ lineup with some attitude and hustle, he was a terrible player. Acquired from the Giants in mid-2004, the already well-traveled Perez hit .371 over 62 at-bats the rest of the way, therefore endearing him to manager Dusty Baker and GM Jim Hendry. Perez, who hit a lot of singles but did nothing else well with a bat, compiled .681 and .610 OPS in 2005 and 2006 before the Detroit Tigers acquired him. Once departed from Chicago, he was cited for repeat violations of rules against amphetamine use, which explains a lot. This guy, with his .297 lifetime on-base percentage, made more than $20 million playing baseball.

Ruben Quevedo: Supposedly a mound prospect, Quevedo came to the Cubs in a July 31, 1999 deal sending Jose Hernandez and Terry Mulholland to the Braves. At age 21, he began the following season in Chicago’s bullpen, headed back to Triple-A to get in more innings, and was recalled for good in late July. He made 15 starts for the Cubs, only six of which rated as “quality starts.” His 3-10 record and 7.47 ERA made him palatable only to Milwaukee, who acquired him the next season in a minor league deal. Was Quevedo rushed by a Chicago front office desperate to prove its spurs? Certainly. Was he good after he left the Cubs? No.

Ken Reitz: As a regular for the Cardinals in the 1970s, Reitz played every day, made one All-Star team, and in 1977 hit 17 homers. He was highly overrated because of his batting average and fielding percentage. Reitz hit around .260-.270 and fielded most chances cleanly…but had little pop, never walked, ran like he was stuck in a tar pit, and had poor range, meaning he didn’t get to many balls to begin with. After assembling a typical season in 1980 (.270/.300/.379), the 29-year-old Reitz was unloaded on the Cubs, with Leon Durham and Tye Waller, to obtain Bruce Sutter. While Durham enjoyed a few fine seasons with Chicago, Reitz—who was supposed to plug the team’s third-base hole—instead batted .215 with two homers in 1981; over a string of 38 games he drew just two bases on balls. The Cubs released him the following spring.

Steve Swisher: This okay-field, no-hit catcher was actually the Cubs’ all-star representative in 1976, which should tell you something about the Cubs in 1976. Swisher was the White Sox’ first-round draftee in 1972 but was packed off to the north side the next winter in the Ron Santo deal. Even in the minors he barely hit his weight, and after four seasons (1974–77) the Cubs sent him and Jerry Morales to the Cardinals for Heity Cruz and Dave Rader. While he had a strong arm and was a gamer, Swisher just could not plug the holes in his swing or curb his frequent defensive mistakes.

Don Young: A speedy outfielder with a light bat, the 19-year-old Young made his big-league debut on September 9, 1965—the day Sandy Koufax fired a perfect game. Following his 2-for-35 stint that year, Young didn’t appear again in the majors until 1969, when he surprisingly won the Cubs’ center field job in spring training. While he didn’t hit, his glove kept him around—at least until July 8, when he misplayed two balls in a critical loss at New York. Teammate Ron Santo, always emotional, called Young out for his miscues, and some fans piled on. By September, stuck around .230, Young was forgotten, appearing in just seven games during the team’s month-long swan dive. He never made another major league roster and was out of baseball by 1972.

I'm Not Quite There Yet

I feel this screenwriter's pain. He calls his Village Voice piece: I Will Not Read Your F***ing Script

Like the screenwriter in this piece, I am inundated with people sending me things they have written (all publishers are). Like the screenwriter in this piece, I have two piles--a must read pile, and a want to read pile. My must read pile is so big I don't even have time to read it all. My want to read pile is from friends and people I admire. Those are the people I feel terrible for, because it's going to take me months to crack that pile, and they check back with me regularly to check on my progress. Like the writer of the piece, I feel a constant extreme guilt about this.

I can't say yes to everyone for obvious reasons, but the writer of the piece articulates another less obvious reason. It's the ultimate Catch 22. If I say I won't read it, I'm a dick. If I say I will read and don't, I'm a dick. If I read it and don't like it and tell you that, I'm a dick. If I read it and don't like it and lie to you and say I love it, I'm a dick.

My solution is to very carefully pick and choose who I agree to read.

His solution is to say to everyone: I will not read your f***ing script.

I'm not quite there yet. I made a vow to myself years ago when I was working so hard at getting published that I would always remember that helpless "nobody will read my stuff" feeling if the shoe was ever on the other foot. I'm trying. I really am. I just never knew there was also a helpless "I don't have time to read this" feeling on the other side.

RIP Pete Van Wieren

He was the longtime announcer for the Atlanta Braves, and on-air partner to Skip Caray. Van Wieren died over the weekend at the age of 69.

The Atlanta Journal Consistition has the details.

Alan Freed’s ashes no longer welcome at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

From Tom Taylor's NOW column this morning. The drama around Alan Freed and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

It’s quite a local story for the Plain Dealer, which explains that the Hall’s not eliminating references to legendary jock Alan Freed altogether – they just no longer want his remains kept there. This NOW Newsletter hears that Freed’s family may pick up his ashes as soon as today, but it was an upsetting episode. Freed was the charismatic radio DJ who popularized the term “rock & roll” and who started doing rock & roll concerts and dances in the early 1950s. One of the things that made them noteworthy is that they were racially integrated, and on the air, Freed played music by both white and black artists. Freed was a pied piper, both on the air and at his live gigs, but unfortunately after he came to New York, he got into big trouble with allegations of payola, and he died in 1965 at the young age of 43...The Plain Dealer’s Laura DeMarco says Freed’s remains were brought to the museum in 2002, with the okay of his family. Now the museum is changing its mind – and the family hopes Freed’s importance won’t be downgraded in the exhibits.

Green White on the Front Page

So thrilled to see this yesterday. Green White was on the front page of the Daily Herald, with a very positive article about our club, our history and our future! It's also on the Daily Herald website, but subcription necessary.Thanks to Daily Herald writer Matt Arado, and Green White members Rudi Mayer, and Steve Samuelson for contributing. My dad (one of the club co-founders) would have been so excited!

Check it out here.

Terri is Back

After a lengthy recuperation from knee replacement surgery, Terri Hemmert is back in the saddle beginning today at WXRT.

Robert Feder has the details.