Another week and another batch of insightful questions from you, the home reader.  This week we answer a great mystery of Desipio “in-jokes”, catch up with Chuck McElroy, get an update on Wrigley Field Malt Cups and answer the eternal question Coach Taylor or President Bartlet.

Tyler Houston
Can you explain in boring detail the origins of “Seattke?”
There aren’t many details. The day after the Bears beat the Seahawks in the second round of the 2006 playoffs, the Tribune headline was Bears beat Seattke. Who are we to disagree with Chicago’s paper of record? So, ever since we’ve spelled it Seattke.

Matt M
I was going to ask where is Chuck McElroy now? But then the Google has answers for that. This youtube videos shows he’s an assistant coach for C2 Baseball.

However, my question is: Does he still wear the MC Hammer glasses? I can’t tell in this video. The C2 Baseball website doesn’t even list Chuck McElroy on their staff page! So we can’t see a better photo of him there.

Chuck has a Linkedin profile: but no photo! Does he still rock the MC Hammer glasses?!

I can’t imagine that Chuck isn’t still rocking those Hammers. He was photographed a few times during this playing career without them on and he’s clearly blind without them. Check out his Baseball-Reference photo. He can’t even find the camera without his specs. I have no doubt that if Chuck ventured outside without his glasses he would wander into traffic and be killed within seconds. I’m not even sure that he takes them off around the house after what happened to him when Bob Scanlan and Jim Bullinger tricked him into buying their bird.

Would you agree to live in Rockford the rest of your life if Schwarber returned 100 percent healthy September 15, 2016?

A hundred percent healthy? I think I’d relocate to somewhere even worse for 100 percent health for Kyle. I mean someplace REALLY bad like Yemen, or a boathouse in Rio, or Gary, Indiana. We’re talking a fully healthy Kyle Schwarber, and the ability to live in a city with the finest Taco Bells in America, two Big Lots, several trees, easy interstate access to go to nice places, a really nice state park, and Mr. C’s Family Restaurant? How could a guy pass that up?

A couple questions if I may….
1. Would it be worth playing SFG in the playoffs and facing MadBum for getting the chance to see Samardzjia shit the bed in spectacular fashion?
Obviously I would prefer the Cubs play the Reds and Barves in the playoffs, but that doesn’t seem likely. Bumgarner is a beast, but if you’re going to win the pennant you’re going to have to beat somebody really good like Noah Syndergaard or Clayton Kershaw or whatever is left of Stephen Strasburg after a season of Dusty, so you might as well take on Madison if it also means you get a heaping helping of Jeff Samardzija when it really matters. It’s nice to see Jeff finally on pace to win 10 games for the first time…ever. Plus, by that time of the year Hunter Pence will have run into the right field wall and paralyzed himself, Matt Cain’s right arm will have flown into the stands during a game, Jake Peavy will still suck, Angel Pagan will have died of dysentery, and Johnny Cueto will have eaten enough garlic fries to finally get to 300 pounds. Bring them on.

2. Do you trade Soler to upgrade the LF position?  Or get another 4-5 starter/reliever?  Same question worded differently:  who is more streaky and frustrating to watch: Soler or Castro (when he was a Cub)
I doubt they’d trade Jorge to get another left fielder. I think they can get a lefty companion for him fairly cheap. It will probably be somebody in the final year of a contract, or young and cheap. As much as Joe likes to shuffle the lineup around to open up spots for Tommy LaStella and Javy Baez, I think come playoff time you’re going to see Kris Bryant at third and those guys coming off the bench. One guy I think they’ll look at is Jay Bruce. The Reds are sure to deal him, he’s got a team option for next year at $12.5 million but with “only” a one million dollar buyout, and he’s slugging almost .580 against righties this year. The Reds have been trying to trade him since last July and haven’t gotten anything they want. Some team will get him this trade deadline for a couple of decent (not top) prospects.

I think Jorge only goes in a package for a pitcher if it’s a stud. So I don’t think he’d get traded for a four or a five. If the Cubs get into the Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman talks, I’m sure Jorge would be considered. But I also think you could get either of those trades done without giving him up. Though either guy will cost a lot.

I think how well he played in the playoffs last year makes the Cubs less likely to deal him this year. I think Joe’s plan is to gradually increase Jorge’s playing time, using it as a carrot to keep him engaged when he’s actually in the lineup and to pick matchups where Jorge is likely to have a good chance at success. It’s easy to forget that Jorge is only 24, and that he only played 155 minor league games. He’s so physically imposing that you just expect him to have it all figured out, and to dominate, but baseball doesn’t usually work like that. I think it’s a bad sign for Jorge’s long term Cubs career though that if a month from now he’s still losing at bats to Tommy and Javy on a regular basis. When you hear Joe talk about Jorge it’s clear he’s trying to slowly increase his playing time.

As for how frustrating he is, he hasn’t reached Starlin levels yet. Part of the frustration with Starlin was that by year five he’d played way too many games for his mental lapses to keep happening. You kind of expect a guy in his first couple of years to take a bad at bat out into the field with him and make some stupid mistake, or to take a horrific route on a flyball once and a while. That said, I think it was also more frustrating because Starlin was regressing so dramatically. Remember what a shock it was that he was so good when they moved him to second? It was mostly because a) he was so good again, but also b) because it had been so long since we’d seen him play well on anything close to a consistent basis. I have no idea if Jorge will ever turn into a consistent force. But I do expect to see him on the roster all year and through the playoffs at the very least.

3. Can we get a brighter light on the CF scoreboard?  When in the stands, the historic CF scoreboard is not lit nearly as well as the new LED boards.  Cubs need to increase the wattage on the CF scoreboard.
I’m sure it’s some stupid historic landmark restriction that they can only use period-specific candles from when the board was originally built or some shit. It is strange though to look at either of the big boards then glance over at the old scoreboard and be struck by how small it looks now and how dark it is. Todd’s probably in charge of lighting it.

4. If the Cubs don’t win it all in the next 2 years, can Theo make it clear to Jake that he’ll end up MLB purgatory (AZ, MIL, SD, SEA) because he won’t give the Cubs a discount?
I don’t think Jake should take a discount, and I don’t think the Cubs should even try to sign him until this offseason. If I’m Jake and I look at how much Jon Lester is earning, and how the Cubs have to coddle Lester at every turn with his own special catcher and his inability to throw to the bases and that stupid camo Cubs hat they gave him, and I’m the ace, I want ALL the money. If he stays healthy, I think they’ll get him signed. They’ll have to pay him what he’s earned, but a) they have the money, b) they don’t have pitching prospects, c) they can structure Jake’s deal so that his biggest pay days come before they have to pony up to keep Bryant and d) he’s got it pretty sweet with the Cubs with a great pitching coach who has done great things with him, the best manager in the game, and his own friggin’ Pilates room. Lots of things worry me about the Cubs, losing Jake isn’t one of them.

5. At what point will Ryan Dempster finally go away for good?
It’s never going to happen. Just like he’ll never run out of ill-fitting plaid suits, bad impressions or awful puns. You just know he’s going to be the star of that Cubs TV Network. It’ll be him and Dave Kaplan 21 hours a day and the actual game for the other three.

6. Who can I talk to about getting on TV by throwing peanuts at the old man who wears the pink hat behind home plates at Cubs games?
Pink Hat Guy is Jim Anixter and he’s loaded. I guess anybody with those season tickets would have to be. He tried to put together a group to buy the Cubs when the Ricketts did. I think you’d be better off sitting by him and throwing peanuts at Tom Ricketts and John Cusack. Just make sure Pink Hat Guy sees you do it. He’ll probably give you a no-show job at his multi-million dollar wire and cable business.

Mark G
Do they still sell frosty malts at Wrigley? Before I could drink, it was my go-to purchase there. If so, do they still give out flat wooden spoons for the delicious frozen confection?
According to our pals on the Twitters they do, but they’re not as good as they were when we were kids, and they give you a plastic spoon now.

When I was a kid we made the trek into Wrigley probably four or five times a year on average. And every time we went you could count on five things:
1) Dad would score what he thought was a primo parking spot on the street within about four blocks of Wrigley.
2) Dad would spend the rest of the day worried that he was going to get towed.
3) We would each get a hot dog, a smoky link and a malt cup.
4) Shawon Dunston would strike out three times and throw a ball into the stands.
5) The Cubs would lose.

It was really just the best.

Better TV character: Coach Eric Taylor, or President Josiah Bartlet?
Wow, this is a great question. At first I thought it was a slam dunk. Coach. He was just the coolest guy, with the coolest wife, and every time he’d start to do something really stupid you could count on the fact that he’d figure it out and always…without fail…end up doing the right thing. He got into a shower fully clothed with a grieving (and also fully clothed) Matt Saracen in one of the greatest hours of TV ever put on film (or pixels or whatever they shot it on).

He won two state championships, when there’s no way in hell those teams should have ever won. (Fun fact, because they were so sure NBC was going to cancel Friday Night Lights after one season they decided to have Dillon win the state title because…why the hell not?) He got one of his player’s names wrong every day forever. Nobody played frustrated bemusement better than Coach Taylor.

Friday Night Lights should not have been a good show. It just seemed like the worst idea ever when they announced they were making a fictionalized TV show out of crazy Buzz Bissinger’s book and the really good Billy Bob Thornton movie. But it was tremendous. It’s one of my top five favorite TV shows of all-time. And it was full of awesome characters, even the secondary ones. I’m pretty sure I went to high school with Billy Riggins and his stripper wife. I would guess I bought a car from Buddy Garrity at some point. Alan Sepinwall wrote thousands of words about how Eric and Tami Taylor had the best TV marriage of all-time, and I don’t think he was wrong.

So clearly, it has to be Coach Taylor, right?

But then there’s Jed Bartlet. When Aaron Sorkin originally conceived of The West Wing he wanted it to be solely about the staffers and he wasn’t even going to cast the president. They’d just refer to him, but you’d never actually see him. Then he thought better of that, and decided the president had to be in at least some of it. So he’d get a big movie star who wouldn’t want to be in it too much. And he’d worked with Martin Sheen on The American President and Martin said he’d do it, and then Martin liked the character so much he wanted to be in it all the time. And, why not, considering Sorkin wrote him a great introductory scene with the greatest introductory line possible:

The West Wing started during the end of the Clinton presidency and ran through much of GW’s, and there’s no doubt that those of us who loved the show lived vicariously through a TV president who could actually talk at a time when the real one couldn’t all that well. It’s easy to write and pretend to be a noble, president who always says and does the right thing. A hell of a lot easier than to be it and live it, of course.

But the combination of a great writer like Sorkin (for the first four seasons) and a great actor like Sheen, created some incredibly memorable and iconic scenes. Like the scene in the National Cathedral after Mrs. Landingham’s funeral. Or the time he tries to act like a regular citizen and call the Butterball Turkey hotline. Or the debate. Or pretty much any scene with Leo, or Josh.

So clearly it’s Jed Bartlet. Right?

Nah. Here’s the difference for me. They are both great characters. Two of the very greatest of all time. Both played by great actors given great material and knocking it out of the park pretty much every time.

For me, it’s Coach Taylor. You never watched The West Wing and didn’t marvel at how well done it all was (well, maybe not season five), and how good every actor was (well, except for John Amos—just kidding, everybody loved Fitzwallace). You watched Friday Night Lights and it felt real. Even when the actors started to show up in other stuff, you still felt like you really were in some crappy West Texas town. You felt like the stakes were real. And, sure, Martin Sheen is a great actor. Well, so is Kyle Chandler. And he did every bit as much with a high school football coach as Sheen did with the President of the United States.

Two great actors. Two great characters. Two great shows.

Oh, and while I gave credit to Jed Bartlet for a great first scene (and it is amazing) how about the end of the very first Friday Night Lights ever?

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.