[Ed's note: Today is the 25th Anniversary of Lee Elia's classic meltdown. To cover it from multiple angles, we had one of our people in Chicago at the press conference commemorating the event. We also put together our own link dump of the best tirades and meltdowns ever. Enjoy.]
REPORTING FROM: HARRY CARAY'S
CHICAGO - The Cubs history of futility is enough to make a preacher curse like, well, Lee Elia. Twenty-five years ago today, the manager of the Cubs wove a post-game tapestry of F-bombs captured on tape that still hangs over Wrigley Field. But yesterday, Elia made peace with the fans, himself and the guy who took the tape public.
Elia was here to sell an autographed ball along with a recording of the tirade to benefit Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities. And reporter Les Grobstein, just like a quarter century ago, was there to get the scoop. Even using the same microphone that he used after a loss to the Dodgers dropped the Cubs to 5-14 on April 29th 1983. After the game, fans tossed beer on shortstop Larry Bowa and rightfielder Keith Moreland. At the post-game interview, Elia was out for beacher bum blood.
"85% OF THE (blank)ing world is working, the other 15 come out here!" Elia screamed.
That's the part he regrets most. "I'm not a percentage guy," he says now. "I can barely break a dollar."
Elia admitted to holding a grudge against Grobstein, kicking him out of his office five years later when he was managing the Phillies. But he now realizes Grobstein was just doing his job. "It's nice to get some closure," Elia says.
"I had closure the day it happened," says Grobstein, sitting next to Elia in the dark wood paneled banquet room. As sports director of WLS, Grobstein knew he had radio gold as he ran out of the clubhouse to feed the tape back to the station. He also knew it would take engineers a while to edit the tape. "There were 54 bleeps, 45 of them f-bombs," Les re-calls. Soon the Tirade Heard Around The World spread like (bleep)ing wildfire.
Today's interview ended differently: Grobstein and Elia shook hands.
Elia looked at the familiar microphone and asked, "What are you going to do with that?" Grobstein smiled and said, "Konerko has already made an offer on it." But he said he's thinking about auctioning it off for charity.
"I can always buy a new mic."
CLASSIC TIRADES CLIP REEL ROLLOUT
[Ed's note: These are in no particular order.]
Great, thorough list of all meltdowns and tirades in the modern era.
Another such list.
Maybe the best ever: Hal McRae.
Calipari vs. Chaney.
The George Brett pine tar incident.
Lou Piniella's first meltdown with the Cubs.
A mix of good Earl Weaver moments.
Joe Mikulik's meltdown.
Phillip Wellman's meltdown.
Tim Belcher's meltdown.
Allen Iverson going off about practice.
Kellen Winslow Jr. took too many military classes.
Craig Esherick's meltdown. [Ed's note: One of our staffers was in the room for this!]
The Holmes vs. Berbick incident.
This one clip has a ton of stuff, from Mora's "Playoffs?!?!" to Chad Kreuter and Bobby Bonilla's famous moments.
Ryan Leaf's "Don't talk to me, alright?!?!"
An All-Time Bobby Knight Top 10. Should be fun.
"Have another donut, you fat pig."
Chris Webber doesn't like people in his business.
"You play to win the game."
Lindy Ruff incensed.
Boeheim on G-Mac.
A pretty filthy Mike Tyson compilation of meltdown/tirade moments.
Bonds vs. Leyland.
Rick Pitino on the next person coming through that door.
Sam Wyche's "You Don't Live in Cleveland" moment.
Lloyd McClendon steals first base.
Denny Green loses it.
Mike Gundy is pretty secure in his manhood.
Jim Rome vs. Jim Everett.
Michigan Women's Basketball coach this past year.