The words were barely out of our friend and correspondent Ari Shapiro’s mouth just after 7:30 a.m. ET this morning when the phones started ringing and emails started arriving.
Then Ari got into trouble. Banks, he said, “played for the Chicago White Sox, President Obama’s favorite baseball team.”
Error on Ari.
NPR’s phones started jingling.
Emails filled our inboxes. Here’s a sampling:
— “Ernie Banks played for the Chicago White Sox??? Next NPR newsflash: Derek Jeter named captain of the Boston Red Sox.”
— “Isn’t it bad enough that Cubs fans have had virtually nothing else to cheer about in over 100 years besides being Ernie Banks’s team, and now this!”
— “Tragedy struck today at around 7:30 EST … across the nation Cubs fans’ heads suddenly exploded.”
Banks, now 82, isn’t known as “Mr. Cub” for nothing. The hall of famer played for one Major League team his whole career (1953-71). That team, of course, was the Chicago Cubs.
Here’s how his entry reads on the website of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:
“Noted for his sunny disposition, excellent all-around play and his powerful home runs, Ernie Banks was always a favorite of Chicago Cubs fans. Banks was chosen to play in the All-Star Game during 11 seasons, was twice voted the National League Most Valuable Player and knocked 512 home runs during his 19-year career with the Cubs. He twice led the National League in home runs and RBIs and picked up a Gold Glove Award in 1960. Mr. Cub displayed his perpetual love for the game with his signature phrase, ‘Let’s play two!’ ”
Ari — who apparently has a hole in his résumé when it comes to baseball knowledge (but sure does know his way around a tune) — is apologetic. He does see a bright side, though: “I guess people really do pay attention to what they hear on the radio in the mornings.”
He also tweets that “after having so often been the focus of the manufactured outrage machine it’s refreshing to be on the receiving end of some genuine outrage.”
As for the significance of the mistake, this tweet kind of sums it up: “Like saying JFK was GOP.”