All rants aside, Lee Elia actually liked Chicago

The former Cubs manager made his famous expletive-filled tirade 40 years ago.

SHARE All rants aside, Lee Elia actually liked Chicago
Former Cubs manager Lee Elia made his famous rant 40 years ago.

Former Cubs manager Lee Elia made his famous rant 40 years ago.

Fred Jewel/AP

A lot of Cubs games are played at night now, so it’s safe to assume that most of the people in the stands have paying jobs.

And with ticket prices these days, those fans paid a lot of nickels and dimes to get in.

The 2023 Cubs aren’t doing as well as they hoped, but they’re quite a bit better than the 1983 squad that would finish 71-91 and in fifth place in the National League East Division.

Plenty has changed on the North Side since former Cubs manager Lee Elia made his famous rant 40 years ago on April 29, 1983.

Thanks to reporter Les Grobstein and his microphone, Elia’s expletive-filled rant ranks up there with the A.J. Pierzynski vs. Michael Barrett crosstown brawl and the Bartman game in Cubs infamy.

You wouldn’t know it from his frustration-born verbal attacks on the fans and media that day, but Elia actually enjoyed Chicago.

‘‘This is the place you want to play,’’ he told Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander in 2003. ‘‘You can’t be a pro baseball player and not understand the beauty of this place. And Chicago is without a doubt the greatest city at the major-league level.’’

Actually, Elia told Telander, it was just a handful of fans that managed to get under his skin. There were ‘‘six or seven guys, something like that. In my mind, I was talking about them, a bunch of rednecks. I don’t know if they were drunk, but they were close.’’

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