Blame Jeff Pico

I love Tumblr, even if I don’t use it very much. I cross-post a few of my posts here on my page, which shares the BlueBattingHelmet name. My Twitter page, incidentally, does not use this name because “BlueBattingHelmet” has more characters than a Twitter handle allows. I would have to call it @4BlueBatting or something like that, and I don’t want to bastardize it that way. That’s just how I roll.

It’s through Tumblr that I learned of a great video by Chicago atrist Serengeti. The video is called “Don’t Blame Steve” and it begins with footage of that infamous foul ball from Game Six of the 2003 NLCS. It strikes a theme similar to one that I’ve stated in this space, but has a funkier hook than anything I could come up with. And there’s a Beastie Boys sample thrown in for good measure, too.

The song is written from the vantage point of someone next to the fan (you know his name) when the ball came toward them at the same time as Moises Alou did. Serengeti is positing that the fan’s reaction was something that you or I would have done, and just because we know how it all ended up, that doesn’t mean he was in the wrong to do what he did. Serengeti names a bunch of old ballplayers that we can blame (Paul Assenmacher and others who played for the Cubs (or not) over the years), but states, again and again, that we should not “Blame Steve.” And he’s absolutely right about that.

Jeff Pico, one of Serengeti’s potential blame targets, was drafted by the Cubs in June of 1984, a few weeks before the fabled “Sandberg Game.” By 1988, Pico had made it to the majors, and could count Sandberg as a teammate. I’m sure it was quite a thrill for him.

Jeff Pico’s three-year stint with the Cubs lasted from 1988 to 1990, meaning this 1990 Topps card may have been one of his last. I don’t know if a 1991 card of him exists, but he spent the 1991 season at triple-A in the Oakland organization. He was with two other organizations in 1992 and 1993, meaning that his big-league talent was somehow only apparent to the Cubs. Jeff Pico’s professional baseball career ended after the 1996 season.

So Serengeti’s point, as I understand it, is that Jeff Pico, as a player, deserves more blame for what happened on that night in 2003 than the fan does. By 2003, Jeff Pico hadn’t been seen at Wrigley Field in 13 years, so blaming him makes no sense at all. But blaming a fan, even one who went for a foul ball hit his way, makes even less sense. And Serengeti has a point there.

Sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Serengeti’s song, appearing eight years after the game was played, is art imitating life, but he makes a very good point. And he mentions “Hawk Dawson” a few times along the way. It’s definitely worth a listen or two.

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