Off the Cuff: All praise Westside Willy

Live, from the den of a rabid Windy City blowhard, it's time once again for another installment of Off the Cuff. This chapter: Westside Willy and the drive to October.

He's a long-time radio producer at the local ClearChannel news station. Heck, he was at KNST before it was ClearChannel, and before it was CapStar, and before it went through about six other ownership changes.

He's such a fixture that he even has an on-air nickname, even though his voice only occasionally passes through the microphone. The initials of said nickname are TNG, and we will refer to him as such here. Not because he doesn't want his real name recorded, but because for this installment of Off the Cuff I was very journalistically bad and neglected to ask his permission to partake in this exercise.

It's very difficult to type when you're slapping yourself on the wrist.

Anyway…TNG (not to be confused with the Star Trek show that starred Patrick Stewart) has ties to Chicago. We'll let it slide that he has certain geographic issues with other sports allegiances: Miami Dolphins, Miami football Hurricanes, Kentucky basketball Wildcats, New York Knicks. For our purposes we'll just focus on Chi-Town.

As a result, he thinks Will Bynum is the greatest player in the history of college basketball. I'm not making this up. Greatest player ever. Michael Wright was big-time good too, but even he couldn't hang with Westside Willy.

So imagine the emotions TNG has been feeling during this tournament. Bynum buries the huge three against Kansas that helps move Georgia Tech into the Final Four, then in the biggest game of his career, gets chastised repeatedly by Billy Packer, only to hit the clutch layup on the sweet drive at the end of the Oklahoma State game that propelled G-Tech into tonight's national title game.

"It's so awesome. That's all I have to say," said TNG in grand inaccuracy, since he actually did have more to say.

"Did you hear the moans and groans in (Tucson) when he hit that shot? Jealousy. Don't tell me that's not it. Will the Thrill baby!"…

…Since he represents Chicago so well, this is also a big day for TNG, opening day, that is, the day all Cubs fans come out of the woodwork and trumpet the glory of the franchise. Yeah, I know, Cubs and glory aren't exactly synonymous, but the way Cubs fans are talking this year, you'd think the World Series was a foregone conclusion.

TNG's roommate, who also shall remain nameless only because I didn't get his permission for this piece either (slap, slap, slap), although he does happen to write baseball stories for Cat Tracks, says…

"They've gone from lovable losers to the game's most arrogant fans. They're fast becoming worse than Yankees fans."

The Cubs open the season with Cincinnati.

"The drive to October begins," said TNG…

…Moving on…

…As a self-proclaimed expert on Altoids, I proclaim Tangerine flavor as the reigning champ. Recently, Altoids released an Apple Sour brand extension, but while there's a certain apple tinge, the sour part seems to be missing. When it comes to Altoids, I want my mints to be curiously strong, and my fruit flavors uncompromisingly sour. The apple version lacks that punch I've come to appreciate. Certainly consumable—I'm working on one now, for review purposes, of course—but not to the level of greatness of its Tangerine brethren.


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