Cubs' Playoff Priest In Spat With Club Chairman

Greek Orthodox who blessed pre-game dugout saying he was 'thrown under the bus'

Cubs fans -- and anyone else, really, especially those who enjoy watching the Cubs lose -- will be familiar with this: In one of the strangest pregame rituals of all time, Cubs chairman Crane Kenney commissioned a Greek Orthodox priest to bless the Cubs dugout before their 2008 playoff series with the Dodgers.

Of course, the Cubs were swept, but even if they had won, the blessing would have been a signature bit of Cubs weirdness. Who blesses a dugout, for God's sake? (The Cubs, that's who.)

Last weekend at the Cubs Convention, Kenney copped to allowing the priest to bless the dugout, and here was his explanation:

When a fan asked about the ritual, Kenney took the blame, calling it "one of the dumbest things" he had done. Kenney said (the priest) had initially approached him. "An e-mail comes in, and this was a huge Cubs fan who wants to get tickets to the game and has a cell phone with a Cubs ring tone on it, and I said, 'Let him go,' " Kenney said.

Kenney's story: A fan wanted tickets, wanted to bless the dugout, and so Kenney let him. But the priest, Rev. James L. Greanias, takes issue with that account, saying Kenney asked for him specifically:

"Kenney told me he wanted a Greek Orthodox priest because [William] Sianis was Greek," said Greanias, referring to the tavern owner who placed a hex on the Cubs during the 1945 World Series. "The last thing on my mind was calling the Cubs to ask them to bless the field. In fact, I thought it was a joke at first." "Coach Sinatro told me Lou wasn't upset," Greanias said. "But I defended Kenney after it happened, and now he's thrown me under the bus."

Ah, yes. Nothing like a little he-said, he-said between the Cubs chairman and the Greek Orthodox priest he may or may not have hired to bless a dugout before a baseball game. It's a cliche, but it's a cliche because it's true: Only with the Cubs.

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