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Josh Wilkens

May 11, 2010

A few weeks ago, the Florida Marlins broadcast team became aware of the interview-in-cards I did with Zach Dundas at Asylum.com, and they talked about it on the air. (The Marlins’ color commentator, Tom Hutton, was one of the players featured.) My editor happened to be listening to the telecast. The next day, we approached them to see if they would be interested in having me on as a guest when they came to Chicago.

So last night I took the Ashland Avenue bus up to Addison and walked over to Wrigley Field to appear on the Marlins pregame show.

At Wrigley, I got the “2010 Guest” sticker shown here upon showing some ID. My ID does not confirm that I’m “Josh Wilkens,” but I guess it was close enough. I was early, so I sat around for a little while by the Ernie Banks statue and read the messages Cubs fans had engraved into bricks. All were statements of undying Cub fandom. One was also a marriage proposal, which seemed a gutsy thing to have engraved into a brick. After several minutes I got up and asked the Cubs employee working the media entrance parking lot which truck was for the Florida Marlins. He pointed toward a trailer with a Big 10 network banner on it. I had a stomach ache.

I finally got to see an example of “the guys in the truck” that broadcast teams are always talking about. It was tiny and full of TV screens and guys jawing at each other in a good-natured way.

“You ever been on TV?” the producer, Bob, asked.

“No,” I said. Did my voice crack like that of the teenage guy on the Simpsons who is perpetually going through puberty as he holds down all the fast food service jobs and summer tour guide internships in Springfield? I’d rather not say.

Nervous, I pulled out a pack of gum for something to do as the producer and another guy worked furiously to get images of some of my cards into a display they could run during my interview. One of the pieces of gum from my pack fell into an open briefcase. I thought about digging it out but I decided I shouldn’t be putting my hand into someone’s briefcase. I wonder if the owner of the briefcase wondered about the gum later, or if, given the tight and unruly nature of the production truck, things are always falling randomly into briefcases.

“We gotta get you out to the field,” Bob kept saying.

I thought to myself: The field?

One of the guys in the truck—the one who had brought the Asylum.com piece to the attention of the broadcast team—kindly tried to loosen me up by talking baseball cards. I felt like I was made out of something stiff and easily breakable, like Styrofoam. Finally, a college-aged woman appeared in the truck.

“This is Angie,” Bob said. “She’ll take you out to the field where Craig is doing the pregame show.”

I’ll have more about this experience tonight or tomorrow, before I head out on my little book tour. I’ll leave off for now with me following Angie out of the truck and through a side door into Wrigley Fucking Field and, eventually, right onto the field itself, me, Josh Wilker, or at least Josh Wilkens, walking for the first time on the plain of the gods, untasered. The long and winding walk with Angie from outside to all the way inside felt exactly like this:

[Note: the video that was originally in this place in the post was removed from youtube a few days after this post came out; it was the clip from Goodfellas in which Henry Hill leads his future wife into the Copa.]

8 comments

  1. Very Cool story, it’s like living out a childhood fantasy or something.


  2. Last summer our family, and my wife’s extended family, took a trip to Disneyworld. We are fortunate enough to be very old friends with a young man who at the time was very high up in consumer relations there. We met up with him on our first full day in the parks and he was gracious enough to give us two VIP passes; precious red cards that we guarded with our lives. Each card granted up to six of our party immediate access to the FastPass line of any ride in the park or better – sometimes we were allowed access through a handicapped exit or some similar exit. The passes were also good for the character lines where guests line up to wait for autographs. I don’t think we waited for more than 4 minutes for anything at any park. Since my kids were 2 and 4 years old at the time, these cards were priceless. We were there in July and the parks were packed; with these cards you felt a bit guilty but the time they saved us was insane.

    Last fall our friend changed jobs and no longer works at Disney. The bar has been set too high; I don’t think I can go back to Disneyworld ever again (at least not when it’s busy)! Pampered treatment like that is intoxicating.


  3. I don’t this could be one of those childhood dreams where Josh ends up on the field at Wrigley dressed only in his underwear and having failed to study for the final.


  4. Video of Josh being escorted out of Wrigley after the interview:

    Ok, it’s not really Josh, it’s Steve Bartman.


  5. Hey Wilkens! You think you’re funny? Funny how? How the fuck are you funny? Like you’re a clown? Like you’re here to amuse us?

    Actually…you do.


  6. Just don’t ask me to get my shinebox. (Not because I’ll fly into a murderous, Donovan-scored rage, but just because I don’t have a shinebox.)


  7. Don’t believe ‘im — he’s still got that shinebox in a closet somewhere. (And don’t ask him to bring it along next time. Only I get to do that, as it is my natural-born right as elder sibling.)


  8. After St John’s won the 1983 Big East tournament, Lou Carnesecca (cribbing from his mentor Joe Lapchick) proclaimed that on that night his players “walk(ed) with kings”.

    Mr Wilkens, those Redmen are now eating your dust. I say again, well done, sir.



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