• Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs

    What would you do to show the world you are a Cubs fan? For many decades, being a Cubs fan meant keeping the faith, perhaps saying a prayer, and cheering for our lovable losers, despite the endless disappointments. Lately, especially after the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series, being a Cub fan means continuing to strive to be your best, just like the players and the entire organization. For nearly 14 years, I strived to sing my best during a quest of singing our National Anthem at all of the ballparks in the Chicago Cubs organization. My quest is now complete, thanks to the love for the Cubs instilled by my…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs – Spring Training

    I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. Not only would it be the first time I attended a Chicago Cubs spring training game, I would also complete my quest to sing the National Anthem at all of the current Cubs ballparks. Growing up in Rockford, Illinois and listening to Cubs games on WGN Radio on 720 AM, or watching the Cubs on WGN-TV Channel 9, I had always heard about glorious spring training baseball games. We may have been shivering during February and March snow storms, but 1,700 miles away the sun was shining, white puffy clouds dotted the Cubby-blue skies, and the crack of…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing for the Cubs: Eugene Emeralds

    A week after the long drive and faulty singing for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, I was flying across the country to the West Coast. Looking down from 30,000 feet above the plains of eastern Texas, I saw a landscape outlined by 90-degree man-made roads. These roads intersected around checkerboard squares, large swaths of wind farms, and crop circles of summer wheat, corn, and soybeans. Interstate highways crisscrossed densely packed, well-organized residential communities. Puffy white clouds added sporadic blots of shade; the landscape looked peaceful, geometric, orderly. But as I learned last week in Myrtle Beach, life on the ground is never orderly. Baseball games are never orderly; not for the…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Myrtle Beach Pelicans

    It took me longer to sing in Myrtle Beach than I expected. I was scheduled to sing the National Anthem in July, 2016 for the Pelicans. My flight was booked on Southwest Airlines, the hotel room was reserved, and I was packed to leave in about five hours, the day before I was to sing. Then I got the text from the airlines that my flight was cancelled due to problems throughout the airline’s computer system. In a panic, I considered jumping into my car and driving the whole way that day. I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to sing at one more ballpark in the Cubs’ farm…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs: West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx

    As part of my preparations to sing the National Anthem at Wrigley Field in two months (in 2004), I needed a live performance to sharpen my performance and calm my nerves. Since the AA affiliate of the Cubs was in Jackson, Tennessee, just a few hours west on I-40, I contacted the club and checked on an opening to sing. I was glad to hear that the Diamond Jaxx needed a singer at the beginning of August and they would be happy to invite me to sing. (I think it helped that I could truthfully tell Jackson that I was scheduled to sing later this year at Wrigley. This strategy…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs: South Bend Cubs

    When I set out to sing the National Anthem at all of the ballparks in the Chicago Cubs organization, I never thought I would travel to Indiana. I also didn’t think I would have to “redo” two of the Anthems at new ballparks. In the winter of 2014, the Chicago Cubs announced that they were moving three of their minor league affiliates: The Class A-Advanced affiliate would change from the Daytona (Fla.) Cubs to the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans. The Class A affiliate would move from the Kane County Cougars (Ill.) to the South Bend (Ind.) Cubs. Finally, Class A – Short Season team would move from the Boise (Idaho)…

  • Singing 4 the Cubs

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Iowa Cubs

    The trip to Des Moines to sing for the Cubs’ AAA affiliate was extra special with lots of family members joining me, second only to singing at Wrigley Field. The performance coincided with my brother Rick’s visit to the United States from his home near Manchester, England. He traveled to the States with his two lovely daughters Claudia and Eve. Since we were driving to the Midwest and Rick wanted to visit as many family members as possible, we took off one summer morning in our car. We drove west, stopping first in Metropolis, Ill. to see the large Superman statue. We later stopped in St. Louis to enjoy the…

  • National Anthems

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Daytona Cubs

    Following a year of playing with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 23, 1945 and was assigned to the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate – the Montreal Royals. Five months later, the players in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization reported to the 1946 spring training in Jacksonville, Florida. This was two years before “Dodger Town” in Bradenton, Florida was completed. After a couple weeks of drills and inter-squad games, the major league Dodgers were ready to play a game against Robinson and the Royals. Segregation was still pervasive in Florida and throughout the South at this time. When the day of the…