The Chicago Cubs have, unfortunately, had some bad starts over the years. That was true in 1983, when the Cubs started 5-14 out of the gate.

And, 31 years ago today, Cubs manager Lee Elia did something magical in response to that start, and what he perceived to be a lack of fan support (warning, NSFW language like whoa):

That year’s team would go on to bottom out right around 6-17, before posting a winning record the rest of the way

Today’s Cubs stand at 8-16. I don’t expect Ricky Renteria to go off on a tirade like this one, and I don’t expect the 2014 Cubs to finish within a handful of games of .500.

Mostly I just hope that things go next year they way they did for that 1983 club. The 1984 Cubs won 96 games (under new manager Jim Frey, and during the rebuild of Dallas Green) and made the playoffs. Then some things happened that I don’t remember. But the point is, even after things look as dark as they did back when Lee Elia was popping off, it can all turn around quickly.

Of course, if you’re not in the mood for the positive mojo, just enjoy the rant. While I don’t like the liberal use of a particular slur that was probably a lot more acceptable at the time, the thing is full of memorable and clever quotes. I guess fans are just more supportive now than they were back then …

  • Myles P

    It’s something else…

  • itzscott

    It takes a “special” kind of person to be a Cub and a Cub fan.

    Lee Elia just didn’t have the right stuff.

    • mjhurdle


      Just imagine, if he got that worked up back then, what would he do now in the age of Twitter and the ability of every fan to heckle and boo even when not at the ballpark.

      • ssckelley

        A rant even milder than that one would have gotten him instantly fired.

        Green tried to fire him that night but he was not in his office to take the call, this was before cellphones.

        • Brocktoon

          If Green tried to fire him that night, and then changed his mind when he calmed down, that reflects pretty poorly on Green.

          • ssckelley

            That’s what they say anyway, Green called his office and Elia had left early to umpire his daughters softball game. Not sure what changed his mind the next day.

            • Brocktoon

              I hope nobody argued any calls that night.

              • ssckelley

                Hopefully the event was well attended by the other 85%.

            • Jon

              That’s awesome if true, almost reminds me of a Seinfeld plot…..

              • jp3

                Speaking of Seinfeld, sort of is that pic of the guy in cubs jersey Jeff garlin?

  • Jon

    Just as Go Cubs Go is played after every win, this rant should be played after every loss.

  • Required

    That is Clark Griswold tirade Wally World rant worthy! Priceless!

  • ssckelley

    The unbelievable part about Elia is he actually got a 2nd chance to manage another ball team, the Phillies in 87 and 88.

    • GarrettFilsonFS

      lol… Crazy.

  • Napercal

    The greatest rant ever! 1984 was the most magical Cub year ever. Too bad that in 1985 the entire starting rotation was DLed. Cubs never should have gotten rid of Green and turned the GM over to Jim Frey. Frey was not a good talent evaluator, gutted the scouting department and killed the farm system.

    • Jon

      Dallas Green had the right idea over 30 years ago. Abandon that shit hole and the Chicago politics and all that other BS and build a new digs in the suburbs. It would have been the best thing ever for the Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, Dallas Green was one of the best GM’s the Cubs ever had.

  • P.Fronts

    “it’s a disheartening f’n situation we’re in right now”

    I can’t believe the geniuses in the Cubs marketing dept. haven’t used this an ad campaign yet. Maybe next year.

  • Funn Dave

    What’s the slur he kept using? I didn’t catch it.

    This clip makes the Ron Washington tape sound like a Christian service.

    • Brocktoon

      f’n or C—S—er

      • Brett

        The latter.

  • Dustin S

    A few of us have a tradition to listen to this before the opening season game every year just for laughs. I try to keep in mind how bad things were at the start of 83 (late 70s through early 80s when I was a kid and early Cub fan were soooo bad, bad teams, bad minors, Wrigley not in great shape, attendance bad enough to rival Marlins games) and then how great 84 was.

  • Satch

    Oh man, thank you Brett! I needed that. What I would give to hear those words coming out of Rickey’s mouth.

    “Hit the ball, catch the ball (and I would add – ‘and get the fuck out’)”


    I am sure the players appreciated it.

    I like old school coaching tirades I think everyone is a little bit too sensitive these days and overreacts with that kind of stuff. It certainly is funny if nothing else.