I will be the first to admit that I don’t know how a newsroom works. I don’t know how story ideas are created, vetted, and assigned. I don’t know the process of writing a news article. I don’t know the pressures of a deadline.

And I also don’t know how letters to the editor are selected for publication. I assume that not all such letters are published. I assume that, if some wacko writes an absurd letter, the “editor” to whom the letter is directed would¬†exercise¬†some editorial discretion and refuse publication.

Perhaps these are unreasonable assumptions. Submitted for your consideration, the following “Letter to the Editor,” by Rich Nolan of Downers Grove, was published last week by the Chicago Tribune.

I’m prepared to save the Chicago Cubs from yet another season of failure. Think about this: Chicago White Sox: world champions. Chicago Blackhawks: world champions. Chicago Bulls: world champions. Those are powerful names.

And then we have the Chicago Cubs, or, worse, the Cubbies. A cub is a baby bear. Babies don’t win anything. They smile and coo, and just when you give them your heart, they start bawling and load their diapers! A professional sports team has no chance of winning a world championship with a baby name like Cubs. In fact, these babies expect to lose.

I have it on good authority that when the infamous Steve Bartman interfered with a play a few years ago, several Cubs were heard to whine, “See, we have no chance to win,” at which point these Cubbies burst into tears and loaded their pants.

I never thought I’d see the day that the Tribune would publish the phrase “loaded their pants.”

But seriously, just read those inflammatory paragraphs and let it sink in. Not only is this guy actually espousing this absurd garbage, but the Tribune affirmatively selected this letter for publication. Look, I understand and appreciate the concept of page views as well as anyone, but this is beyond the pale. It reads like something you’d find on Bleacher Report – but, you know, with commas and correctly spelled words.

It gets less incendiary, but more ridiculous.

We’ve all heard some version of the idea that “if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Well, it’s high time the Cubs organization did something different. I suggest the Chicago Tribune sponsor a “Rename the Cubs” contest. Just to get the ball rolling, here are a few suggestions: The Chicago Dominators, the Chicago Annihilators, the Chicago Eviscerators .. well, Eviscerators might be just a bit over the top, but you get the idea. These baseball babies need a powerful, manly name that will surely propel them to a world championship.

How about the Chicago Face Punchers? The Chicago Dodo Crushers? Oh, I know. The Chicago NL Central Division Winners. The name will make it happen!

I know what you’re thinking. The guy writing this letter is actually just a clever satirist, and he’s kidding.

Oh, you think I’m kidding? Your alternative, loyal Cubs fans, is to stick with your baby name and face another century of losing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

He’s not kidding. He’s just not a Cubs fan. Or a person of moderate intelligence. But thanks for the warning just the same.

My beef isn’t really with Rich, though; it’s with the Tribune for publishing this tripe. The content is not only thoughtless, thin, and crude, but it’s probably a little bit harmful. Perhaps the fact that I’m here bitching about it – and you’re reading about it – is the point. After all, it got the Tribune some attention.

For all the reports of the old media’s demise, I cannot say that publications like the Tribune do not have my respect. They are a venerable institution, without whose reporting ability, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. But if I might offer some words of advice to the Tribune as it navigates its way into and through an evolving technological landscape: you may want to resist the temptation to publish this kind of race-to-the-bottom crap, lest you fade into memory – without anyone’s respect.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Jared

    So, then, what’s his reasoning for the Pirates and Royals being perennial losers? What a ridiculous letter.

  • http://soi veryzer

    The letter is terrible and the Tribune is terrible…..but Cubs has to be one of the worst names in sports, right alongside the (former) Expes, the Metropolitans, the Athletics, and the Trolley Dodgers. Not to mention any of the Sox.

    I’m all for chjanging the name, not because I think it will make the team better, but because the name sucks.

    • http://soi veryzer

      Expes = Expos. Sorry, too much crack last night.

    • Ace

      Agreed in principle, but… it’s classic.

  • TWC

    Actually, I thing Rich in Downers is on to something:

    What’s in a name, really? Rearrange the letters in “Bleacher Nation” and you get “A Oriental Bench”, which sounds pretty wimpy to me. Seriously, Ace, you think you’d have half the traffic if this site was named “A Oriental Bench”? What about “Hetero Cannibal”?

    Of course, as long as you’re annagramming, rearranging “Bleacher Nation” also yields you “Banal Erotic Hen” and “Anal Boner Ethic”, which might indeed drive up the site visits.

    Just a thought.

    • Ace

      I always assumed Anal Boner Ethic was taken. Crap. Could’ve had a winner.

    • Bric

      Cassic! Let me try a couple:

      How about: “A Latin Boner” (in honor of Sosa)

      “Clean in the Rabo” (as in- “She couldn’t have got it from me, man… I’m clean in the Rabo”)

      Last one: “A cat in her Noblee” (as in- “Holy crap! That chick’s got a cat in her Noblee!”)

  • savant

    Anal Boner Ethic is without a doubt the funniest thing I have ever seen on the internet.

  • funkster

    This actually not the first time some dope has said this. I’ve read this ridiculous idea elsewhere, so the worst part is Rich is ripping off someone else’s moronic idea.

  • jstraw

    Ace, I know a lot about how a newsroom functions and how letters are selected. This letter was selected because it’s ridiculous and incendiary. It was selected so that you would blog about it and I would comment about it. Nothing matters but eyeballs.

    • Ace

      So it’s exactly as I suspected.

      • jstraw


  • Cardfan

    I couldn’t “bear” you to be anything but the sweet, lovable, timid, docile cubbies!

    • Ace


      And hey, it’s not like cardinals are particularly terrifying. In fact, they’re quite pretty.

      • http://SOI veryzer

        When my wife is on the rag, we often say “the cardinal has come to roost.” That’s how I think of the Cardinals. A bloody red period, complete with cramps, mood swings, and jamming something into your crotch.

        When you think of it like that, cardinals can be very terrifying indeed.

        • http://SOI veryzer

          There needs to be an edit feature so that I may add the missing quotes after “roost.”

          • Cardfan

            Dude, you have bigger issues than missing quotes…

            • VanSlaw

              Yeah, tommy, if you think something natural like menstruation is as much of an abomination as Cardinal fans, then you really should take a step back and breathe.

              • Bric

                And periods only happen once a month. Card fans are a pain the full 365.

                • Cardfan

                  24/7/52…Yeah, baby!!!!

          • Ace

            Sorry. That’s a future functionality, but it’s in the pipeline. For now, I fixed. Now you only look crazy for this post.