While baseball nerds are busy playing with their statistics and shifting fielders to play the percentages, those of us who miss balls to the wall baseball are reminded today that it’s been 39 years since Cubs manager Lee Elia let loose with one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, managerial rants in the history of sports.
It wasn’t just any rant. This one was LOADED with profanity to the point where it’s easy to lose track of the f-bombs that Elia dropped into sports reporter Les Grobstein’s mic after a 4-3 April 29, 1983 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The announced attendance that day at Wrigley was just 9,391.
The Cubs were 5-14, Lee Elia was an old salty dog in his mid-40s — he’s now 84 and still kicking — who’d been through some baseball wars and he hit his breaking point. It was time to vent. The fans were on his ass, and he was tired of these lazy, out-of-work bleacher bums ripping his team.
As the great poet Fred Durst went on to say 16 years later, “How many people here ever woke up one morning and just decided it wasn’t one of those days and you’re gonna break some s–t?”
“Well, this is one of them days, yooooo.”
Well said, Fred.
Happy anniversary, Lee. Let it fly!
“F–k those f–kin’ fans who come out here and say they’re Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you rippin’ every f–kin’ thing you do. I’ll tell you one f–kin’ thing, I hope we get f–kin’ hotter than s–t, just to stuff it up them 3,000 f–kin’ people that show up every f–kin’ day, because if they’re the real Chicago f–kin’ fans, they can kiss my f–kin’ ass right downtown and PRINT IT.
“They’re really, really behind you around here… my f–kin’ ass. What the f–k am I supposed to do, go out there and let my f–kin’ players get destroyed every day and be quiet about it? For the f–kin’ nickel-dime people who turn up? The motherf–kers don’t even work. That’s why they’re out at the f–kin’ game. They oughta go out and get a f–kin’ job and find out what it’s like to go out and earn a f–kin’ living. Eighty-five percent of the f–kin’ world is working. The other fifteen percent come out here. A f–kin’ playground for the c–ksuckers. Rip them motherf–kers. Rip them f–kin’ c–ksuckers like the f–kin’ players. we got guys bustin’ their f–kin’ ass, and them f–kin’ people boo. And that’s the Cubs? My players get around here. I haven’t seen it this f–kin’ year. Everybody associated with this organization have been winners their whole f–kin’ life. Everybody. And the credit is not given in that respect.
“Alright, they don’t show because we’re 5 and 14… and unfortunately, that’s the criteria of them dumb 15 motherf–kin’ percent that come out to day baseball. The other 85 percent are earning a living. I tell you, it’ll take more than a 5 and 12 or 5 and 14 to destroy the makeup of this club. I guarantee you that. There’s some f–kin’ pros out there that wanna win. But you’re stuck in a f–kin’ stigma of the f–kin’ Dodgers and the Phillies and the Cardinals and all that cheap s–t. It’s unbelievable. It really is. It’s a disheartening f–kin’ situation that we’re in right now. Anybody who was associated with the Cub organization four or five years ago that came back and sees the multitude of progress that’s been made will understand that if they’re baseball people, that 5 and 14 doesn’t negate all that work. We got 143 f–kin’ games left.
“What I’m tryin’ to say is don’t rip them f–kin’ guys out there. Rip me. If you wanna rip somebody, rip my f–kin’ ass. But don’t rip them f–kin’ guys ’cause they’re givin’ everything they can give. And right now they’re tryin’ to do more than God gave ’em, and that’s why we make the simple mistakes. That’s exactly why.”
The final tally:
• 164 seconds of audio
• 38 f-bombs
• 2 s–t bombs
• 5 ass bombs
• 2 c–ksuckers
• Unlimited laughs
The story goes that Grobstein, who passed away in January, was one of the only Cubs reporters to use a tape player to record press conferences and interviews. He was in the right place at the right time and came away with some of the greatest f–kin’ audio in sports history that, frankly, should reside in a special exhibit in the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
There isn’t a dad out there who visits the HOF who doesn’t want to sit down with his teenage son or daughter to enjoy a piece of baseball history.
So today, on Lee Elia Day, sit back, relax and hit play.
Just f–kin do it.