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Sunday, January 10, 2021

This small nation is crazy about the Cubs

The Belizean love affair with the Cubs began back in 1981. Television came to the nation in the early 1980s and a local entrepreneurial couple, Arthur and Marie Hoare, formed their own station. The only problem was that they forgot to buy programming.

So, they figured out how to pirate and broadcast WGN, the local Chicago station that airs the Bulls, a few soap operas and, most importantly, Chicago Cubs games. For many years, it was the only channel that was available in homes, bars and restaurants around the country. All 162 North Sider games were there for Belize’s watching.

“As [WGN’s] signal was relayed into Belize City by the Hoares, ‘world and country’ were glued to their television sets to see the mighty Cubs win or lose (mostly lose),” wrote local politician Michael Finnegan back in 2013.

Nobody’s too sure why WGN was chosen. At the time, Chicago residents believed it was because of a sizable Belizean population in the city and the fact that the two regions shared the same time zone. WGN also probably proved one of the easier channels to steal. Either way, the fan base grew, even during losing seasons in the early ‘80s. They had favorite players, they waved flags and they, of course, fell in love with Harry Caray.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2021 at 10:54 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 10, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#5998871)
What's the status on the virus in Belize? Maybe the Cubs can move their games there.
   2. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2021 at 07:26 PM (#5998873)
   3. bfan Posted: January 10, 2021 at 08:12 PM (#5998882)
Moving Cubs to Belize puts them in the NL west. I doubt they want to leave the NL Central, at least for 2021.
   4. flournoy Posted: January 10, 2021 at 08:25 PM (#5998884)
Belize is east of St. Louis.
   5. Ron J Posted: January 10, 2021 at 08:26 PM (#5998885)
#3 You sure? In the past it has taken MLB quite some time to figure out geography.
   6. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 10, 2021 at 09:49 PM (#5998894)
Belize Navidad.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2021 at 10:06 PM (#5998899)
Belize is on my list of "I wonder if I could live comfortably/lavishly there on my retirement savings" spots. This seems livable albeit probably underwater in 20 years.
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 11, 2021 at 07:53 AM (#5998935)
I went to Belize about a decade ago....the best scuba diving I have ever experienced. And some parts were reasonably nice. But some parts of the country were among the least developed places I have seen in my life.
   9. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 11, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#5998978)
Nobody's too sure why WGN was chosen.

Wouldn't WGN and WTBS been the only choices in 1981?
   10. phredbird Posted: January 11, 2021 at 02:47 PM (#5999026)

the early days of cable and the superstations explains why there is a large contingent of cubs fans of a certain age in New Orleans.

the Milan Lounge on Milan St. in uptown had WGN on its TV in the 80s and the regulars became big Cub fans. there was even a small bleachers type set of benches in there for a while.

by the way, if you go to NO looking for it, remember that the street name is pronounced with a long 'i' -- 'mile-an', not 'mill-an'.

   11. Ron J Posted: January 11, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#5999058)
#10 Thanks for the tip. I only spent a little time in New Orleans and most of my time was spent a) At a bridge tournament and b) trying to get out before a hurricane hit. So I didn't have a lot of time to look around. But I'm Canadian and I did run into a few pronunciation oddities in my small amount of scouting around.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2021 at 08:34 PM (#5999126)
Wouldn't WGN and WTBS been the only choices in 1981?

WWOR out of NYC I assume ... they carried some Mets games, pretty sure they were available no later than the late 80s in NC.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2021 at 10:10 PM (#5999144)
For those who don't know, Belize is the former British Honduras which means English is the official language (though not that widely spoken I gather) and (thanks Wiki) is a member of the Commonwealth so there's some chance the Queen will rescue you when the rebels come to steal your capitalist wealth. They've got some German Mennonites and it's apparently popular with drug traffickers and money launderers. Basically all the conveniences of modern life.
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 11, 2021 at 10:49 PM (#5999157)
#13 if you want to read about some wild American expat stuff in Belize, look up John McAfee’s Wikipedia page.

Anyway it was a lovely country with friendly people, and we drove across most of the country by ourselves with no issues, but we were warned to be careful where we went out at night.
   15. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 12, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#5999219)
This is apparently the largest stadium in Belize, although it's designed for soccer and would have to be expanded/remodeled for baseball. (On its webpage, the Belize National Cricket Association is looking to build a 60,000-seat stadium suitable for cricket, and thus baseball. Uh-huh.)

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