Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Lee Elia: Former Cubs Manager Cashes In On Tirade

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the greatest rant in coaching history: Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia’s unbelievable tirade.

If you haven’t heard it in a couple years, it’s a real treat. Thanks to Neil Best’sWatchdog blog for the bleeped Chicago Tribune version.

Anyway, when Elia did this a quarter century ago, all he got was angst. Now at least, he’s doing what all coaches do from their rants--making money off of it! Jim Mora’s “Playoffs” is in a Coors Light commercial and Dennis Green “They are we thought they were.”

And Elia’s move? He’s autographing baseballs for a company called A&R Collectibles in Prospect Heights, Illinois. For $89.95, fans get a baseball signed by Elia, with the inscription “And PRINT it!”

The inscription is a reference to the part of Elia’s rant when he said, “If they're the real Chicago f*ckin' fans, they can kiss my f*ckin' ass right downtown--and PRINT it."

The ball also comes in a case that has a new recording from Elia to Cubs fans in which he turns all his negative sentiment into a positive.

“If it wasn’t for (former Cubs PR director) Bob Ibach and Roger Dewey (of A&R Collectibles), this would have never happened,” Elia told me. “They came up with this at the end of Spring Training. I could never have imagined it would take off quite like this.”

Elia said that it was his wish that the new message be the recording on the case, but since he knew that many people would want the rant, A&R Collectibles is including an unedited copy of the recording as part of a CD-Rom so that the buyer can put any 20-second part of the Elia rant in the case.

“This has been great for me,” Elia said. “It’s given me a sense of closure I never had. I’m hoping we can sell a ton of these.”

Elia’s cashing in is actually for a great cause. Part of the sales will raise money for Chicago Baseball Cancer charities. Elia is a prostate cancer survivor.

Questions?  Comments?