These days, ink — not X — marks the spot
Tattoos are sort of like children: Once you have one, it’s there forever.
Let’s just say that getting rid of it is exceedingly painful. So get those tats carefully, folks!
Having said that, I am in favor of Cubs infielder Javy Baez’s new ink work — in three colors — on his left deltoid. It features a large red ‘‘C’’ below ‘‘2016 World Series CHAMPIONS,’’ the Major League Baseball logo and the championship trophy.
You’re aware by now that the Cubs won the World Series last fall for the first time in 108 years and that Baez was a huge part of their playoff success. So if he wants to do something that’s out there forever, a kind of personalized banner as much a part of him as his nose, then the tat is about as good as it gets.
Nowadays, pro athletes come as decorated as wedding cakes. We all know this. It’s much harder to think of a decent NBA player, for example, without a tattoo than with one. (Dwyane Wade? Chris Paul?)
Then there are human palettes such as Chris ‘‘Birdman’’ Andersen, who has so many tattoos in so many colors in so many places that you could glue him to the wall of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and call him an exhibit.
In baseball, you’ve got heavily tattooed players such as Brett Lawrie, Josh Hamilton, Yadier Molina and former White Sox pitcher Mat Latos, whom I enjoyed ‘‘reading’’ last year at spring training when he sat around one day in the locker room, shirt off, watching TV and chatting about his just-finished performance.
So Baez is not plowing new ground with his fresh tattoo (he already has tons of them on his right arm), except in its Cubbish singularity. Maybe president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and all the Ricketts family members have tatted up since the curse was lifted in November. I don’t see them in the shower too much.
But only those who directly had a hand in the World Series title — players, managers, front-office folks and a couple of ancient hot-dog and beer vendors — rightfully can claim a tattoo such as Baez’s and say, ‘‘We did it!’’ And, ‘‘I don’t care if it’s there when my skin looks like crepe paper and even my doctor won’t look at me naked!’’
Of course, fans are welcome to join in. Suffering purged is worthy of documentation and joy.
And I’ll bet lots of Cubs fans already have gotten their tattoos celebrating the title. Let’s pray they went when they weren’t too drunk and used tattoo artists who could spell and count.
You can look up these real-life tattoo screwups online, if you wish: ‘‘Your Stronger Than Your Think,’’ ‘‘You Only Life Once,’’ ‘‘It’s Is My Life’’ and the remorseful trio ‘‘No Ragrets,’’ ‘‘No Regerts’’ and ‘‘Regret Nohing.’’
More to the topic might be this gem: ‘‘Super Bowel XXXVIII.’’
I’ve thought about getting a tattoo a number of times, usually after lurching out of a bar at closing time. Never did it, though. Exactly half my family members have tattoos. Many friends do. That old lady who bends over the fruit counter at the grocery store has a lower-back tat. Hell, Thomas Edison had a tattoo. So did Teddy Roosevelt. So does Caroline Kennedy and half the housewives of Cook County.
The radical days of Dennis Rodman are now the norm. (Just don’t get the forehead horns and checkerboard facials going around!)
If I were a Cub and I didn’t have one of those Baez tattoos, I’d run right out and get one. I’ve seen enough ink shops around Phoenix to know they can take care of everybody, pronto.
Me, I’ll stick with nothing. I’m more like manager Joe Maddon, who said he had heard it hurts too much.
Nor should any Cubs fans make tattoo bets with anyone. Ask pitcher Jake Arrieta about that. He sports a new ‘‘CCU 2016’’ tattoo after losing a College World Series bet to teammate Tommy La Stella. Arrieta went to losing Texas Christian, La Stella to winning Coastal Carolina.
But if you’ve got a Cubs tattoo you’re proud of (or not), send me a photo. You won’t win anything, but you’ll be among friends.
Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.