Doug Finke: Cubs suffer Blagojevich jinx?
Just when the Chicago Cubs think they’ve finally buried all of their multiple jinxes and are poised to make it to the World Series, along comes another one – Number One fan Gov. ROD BLAGOJEVICH. You may scoff, but the evidence is irrefutable.
Cubs ace CARLOS ZAMBRANO pitched a no-hitter Sept. 14, the first Cubs pitcher to achieve that feat in 36 years. In honor of that, Blagojevich proclaimed Sept. 16 “Carlos Zambrano Day.” Three days later, Zambrano pitched again, giving up eight runs in less than two innings.
On Tuesday, there was a big rally in Chicago in support of the Cubs. Blagojevich was there. The Cubs promptly lost the first two games of their playoff series, looking really bad in the process. (By the time you read this, they may be toast).
The bottom line is, who needs a goat when you’ve got Blagojevich?
--Gov. Baseball saw some similarities between the game and state government. Blagojevich said that when he argues with the General Assembly, he feels like Cubs manager LOU PINIELLA when he argues with the umpires.
Of course, the difference is that, when Piniella goes too far, the umpires toss him out of the game.
--The noon-hour rally was carried on television. One Springfield restaurant had it on for the benefit of customers.
At one point, Blagojevich said having the Cubs in the playoffs was better than winning an election.
“It better be, because you ain’t winning another election,” muttered a customer sitting at the restaurant’s counter.
Springfield’s love affair with Blagojevich continues.
--Under the Timing is Everything category, we have Outdoor Illinois magazine, a publication of the Department of Natural Resources.
The current issue features a story on how the state park system was created. You can read the story while sitting in the parking lot of one of those parks scheduled to close at the end of November.
--GEORGE JONES of Oswego has an interest in Abraham Lincoln, photographs of Lincoln and the photographers who took those pictures.
Jones and his wife were in Springfield recently and they saw one of the Looking for Lincoln displays on the Old State Capitol Mall. On it was a reproduction of the second-oldest known photograph of Lincoln. Naturally, it piqued Jones’ interest.
The picture was taken in 1854, when Lincoln was in Chicago to deliver a speech on containing slavery in the new American territories. The original was destroyed in the 1871 Chicago fire. Before that, though, copies were made, including one in 1858 that measures 2 by 2.5 inches. It’s tiny, but it’s rare.
The state has that 1858 print. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum bought it from a Chicago dealer in late 2006 for $150,000. That’s a lot for a dinky picture, but, again, it’s rare. At the time it was purchased, the state said it would be put on display at the museum in 2007.
Jones decided he wanted to see the actual picture and went to the museum. Sorry, he was told, it is not on display – even though this is now late 2008. He was sent across the street to the library, where a staffer offered to show him a book with a reproduction in it.
“I thought maybe they sold the sucker off to fund some of their deficit,” Jones said. “I didn’t come to see the picture in a book. I came to see the real thing.”
“They finally dug it out. It was a joy to examine it,” Jones said.
Jones became the first member of the public to see the $150,000 picture in two years. He’ll apparently be the last to see it for another year.
ALPLM spokesman DAVE BLANCHETTE said the state did plan to put the picture on display in 2007. But that was before the museum foundation acquired about 1,500 Lincoln items from collector LOUISE TAPER. Suddenly, the dinky but rare Lincoln picture was shoved aside.
“We can only display a small fraction of our items at one time,” Blanchette said. “The decision was made to display those other items and push this one back.”
For now, the museum plans to put the $150,000 picture on display sometime in 2009. In the meantime, you can see reproductions of it in books and displays, Blanchette said.
Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527 firstname.lastname@example.org.