One ring to soothe them all

Bob Lofrano showing his Cubs ring at the South Gym on April 21, 2017. He won got this ring by being a scout for the Cubs. Photo: Marc Dionne

The 108 years of angst in Chicago ended in November when the Cubs won the World Series, and a lifetime in the game was culminated for Athletic Director Bob Lofrano.

Lofrano, who coached at Pierce prior to taking the athletic director position, has worked for the Cubs for 36 years. Currently a minor league scout, Lofrano received his ring on April 17 in Chicago.

“I’m a lifetime Cubs fan,” Lofrano said. “It was such a special day in Wrigley Field to be presented that ring and everything that goes with it. And as the days went on past that it kind of sunk in.”

Lofrano’s career with the Cubs began in 1981 when he wrote them a letter asking how he could join the organization.

He started out as an associate scout, which Lofrano described as being more like coaching. Lofrano would run tryout camps where they would bring in the top high schoolers in the area and play against schools like the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.

After two years Lofrano became a part-time scout, where he would receive assignments for specific players to scout in the area. This evolved to being assigned entire teams to scout and send reports of.

As a minor league scout, Lofrano attends games and writes reports on players for prospective trades. Of the players Lofrano has scouted throughout the years, the biggest acquisition was current Cubs all-star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, according to Lofrano.

“36 years later I am still in the organization,” Lofrano said. “That is really capped off by the World Series victory and the World Series ring that was presented.”

Lofrano has received job offers from at least one other major league team, but as Lofrano puts it, he’s a Cub for as long as they’ll have him.

Baseball is a team sport, and the team goes deeper than just what is seen on the field. Every member of the organization, from players to payroll receive a ring.

“You are either on the field playing or you are in the background,” Lofrano said. “You can be in the office doing paper work or you can be on the field, like I am. There are many different ways. If you are part of the organization you will get a ring.”

Marine Biology major Harrison Hauraney, who is a Cubs fan, said that he did not know that Lofrano was a member of the organization.

“I can’t imagine how amazing the moment was when he was receiving it,” Hauraney said.

Lofrano is using the ring to inspire. He shared the ring with the Pierce baseball team prior to practice.

Ethan Sanchez, a pharmacology major and member of the Pierce baseball team, said that Lofrano gave him and the team a speech about the ring.

“I think it was pretty cool for him to come out and show the whole baseball team the ring,” Sanchez said. “He gave us a little speech about it and inspired us to keep working hard.”

The ring itself tells a story, even the number of diamonds in the ring.

“The coolest part about it is the 108 diamonds that are on it,” business major and Pierce pitcher Adrian Rodriguez said. “It represents the 108 years that the Cubs did not win a World Series. That was the most impressive part.”

On the inner band of the ring are the series wins that lead the team through the playoffs, as well as a billy goat’s head.

That last part may seem strange. Baseball, and most sports, can be superstitial. In 1945, a man and his goat were asked to leave Wrigley Field during a World Series game after other fans complained about the goat’s smell. In response, the man supposedly cursed the Cubs.

This curse was looked at by some as the reason for the Cubs long championship drought, the longest in U.S. professional sports at the time.

The jewelry hasn’t made Lofrano slow down. He still scouts, leaving campus and heading to places like Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga to try and help the Cubs not wait another century to celebrate a World Series championship.

“It is a great thing for the Cubs, the fans, the city of Chicago and the people who are employed by them to have won the World Series in 2016 after 108 years,” Lofrano said.