WCPO - Reds fans still talk about the day 27 years ago – July 7, 1993 – when Browning snuck out of the bullpen at Wrigley Field, walked across the street to an apartment building and joined a party of Cubs fans on the roof during a game.
While the surprised partiers laughed and drank, Browning, still wearing his uniform, casually dangled his feet over the railing, doffed his Reds cap and waved at his teammates and TV cameras.
I'm on record that I generally hate Anniversary Blogs but in this case I'm breaking stride because I think this is my new favorite baseball statistic. Even if it's not a real statistic and even if the anniversary was technically yesterday, the fact remains that this story deserves more playing time both locally and nationally. We're talking 1-time All Star Tom Browning, proud owner of an 85 ERA+ circa 1993, his 10th season as a big league starter ditching the bullpen to sneak across Sheffield and up 5 flights of stairs to spend a day game with the boys on the roof.
We'll get to the stunt in a second, but just imagine that happening in today's world. I mean actually think about being on a rooftop for your Miami (OH) networking event and in walks Wade Miley looking for a spitter and decent view of the dugout. Full fucking uniform, metal cleats scratching on the freshly poured concrete with the copenhagen ring properly bulging from the left butt cheek. In the 90's that's fucking sweet. Today it's an occupational safety hazard subject to league oversight and collective bargaining. Rule 26(a)(b)(Go Fuck Yourself) reads in part "Players can't be in uniform on the Wrigley Rooftops during gameplay because it's too fun and we suck."
Once upon a time players used to get hammered regularly on Clark Street after games. I remember after the last home game of the 2014 season, I went out with Dante & Rizzo and a handful of guys from the Pirates and literally NOBODY stopped him until we got to Stanley's Kitchen & Tap in Lincoln Park (RIPIP). I'm not saying this to drag dick. That was 6 years ago when I was filing for unemployment so not exactly Glory Days for me. But kind of/extremely funny to think about how much Wrigley's changed since the Cubs got very good and remember there actually was a point in the modern world where it still happened. But now it's all gone and will never come back and I'm sad about it.
Back to the stunt.
Tom Browning basically set this up the night before to protest Tony Perez getting fired 6 weeks earlier. He ended up getting fined $1,000 and bitched out by Davey Johnson but all for a few good laughs and more amazingly - only 30 seconds of video out of the whole thing and a bunch of stories for the people on the roof. Only thing that would make this cooler is if he sat down and got loaded with the locals.
With that, important to note that the rooftops will be operating for Cubs' home games this year. So far a lot of people are saying that's not a big deal. But then you hear Kyle Schwarber say some shit like this and you know 2020 is bound to be special.
I happen to love a good shimmy.