Bet on Cubs means long walk to work

Rob Dale

As he stepped out onto Fulton Street in Peoria on Tuesday afternoon, the rain drizzling onto his Cubs hat, radio personality Mike Pesto began his walk home. While many people would groan at the thought of walking several blocks in the rain to their car or home, Pesto would just have to get used to it. He still had about two and a half miles to go.

What force could twist a man's fate into such a miserable state as this? Baseball, of course.

Last Friday, Pesto was talking on air with co-host John Young on their show "The Funny Farm" on 104.9 FM "The Wolf." Discussion turned to the Chicago Cubs, who were then two games down in their five-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I thought they couldn't be swept twice in a row, basically guaranteeing that they would win," Pesto said, referring to the Cubs' similar Game 3 elimination last year at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pesto made an on-air wager that if the Cubs were swept, he would make his daily commute on foot every day for a week.

The Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-1 on Saturday, clinching the series, sending the Cubs to the postseason doldrums and putting Pesto on the street.

Pesto is making good on his promise, walking twice daily between the station's headquarters at Civic Center Plaza and his home. Pesto works seven days a week, making the total distance of his journeys just over 35 miles, roughly the same distance as a walk from downtown Peoria to Normal.

Many in the station's office are reveling in Pesto's turn of fortune, including those who favor other teams.

Shaun Newell, the station's news director and "one of the biggest" Cardinals fans there, according to Pesto, said if his team had been in a similar situation, it would be easy to make the same bet.

"Cardinals fans are more used to their team being in the playoffs," Newell taunted.

Pesto and Young had ventured to a bar in Bartonville to watch the game Saturday, where fellow patrons waited keenly, aware of Pesto's situation.

"Half the bar was cheering me on, half were just waiting to say something to me," Pesto said.

The "die-hard Cubs fan" now has to get up at about 3 a.m. to make it into the office by around 5 but said he enjoys some aspects of the walk.

"The exercise, I like," Pesto said, adding that the trip also gives him time to organize his thoughts for the morning's program. "It's helped the show, in a sense."

Rob Dale can be reached at (309) 686-3251 or