Trying something new

Budweiser was my gateway into alcohol in general. Over time, I developed a preference for Corona with a lime wedge, but Bud was like an old friend to me. I could dabble in other beers, or harder drinks on occasion, but Bud was always there to welcome me back. And I never strayed too far from the self-proclaimed “King of Beers.”

And then one day, I decided I had had enough. After a quarter century, and who knows how many thousands of dollars spent chasing the next buzz, I decided that I could live without it. I didn’t need rehab or detox, just a resolution that the way things had always been wasn’t going to work anymore.

The presence of a Budweiser ad in the background of Tony Campana’s rookie card seems odd to me. The strained look on Campana’s face is unusual enough, but he seems to be almost engulfed in the red and white signage behind him. If it’s not product placement for Budweiser– right down to the circled R symbol appearing to the right of the Cubs’ logo–it sure looks pretty strange.

But Tony Campana represents something, too. His speed–as evidenced by his 22 thefts in limited action in the majors last season–is something I’ve never seen on the Cubs before. He’s a stolen base threat every time he reaches base. I think about this as “game-changing” speed, since a pitcher will be distracted whenever he’s on the basepaths. You can try to think of a comparable player in Cubs’ history, but you won’t be able to do it.

The closest I can remember was Bob Dernier in 1984. He was the Cubs’ leadoff hitter, and Ryne Sandberg hitting behind him comprised what Harry Caray dubbed the “Daily Double.” Dernier stole 45 bases that year, which is a lot by Cubs’ standards but was only eighth-most in the National League that year. He also set the table for Sandberg (who won an MVP that season), Gary Matthews, Jody Davis, and all of the others on that team.

The presence of a tablesetter at the top of the lineup is something that the Cubs have done without for much too long. And a resolution to make a change is all it would take to make this a reality, for this season and beyond.

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