Cubbie Blues
Monday, November 24, 2008 at 09:37PM
Lovable Losers Literary Revue

Book release: Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year

noted writers share their memories, joys and sorrows of waiting for the Cubs to win the world series

Waiting for Next Year is a way of life for diehard Cubs fans. The Cubs’ last World Series championship was in 1908 – 100 years ago. For many fans, including Chicago legends like Mike Royko, Jack Brickhouse, Steve Goodman and John Belushi, there weren’t enough Next Years before they ran out of chances.

 

They left us their stories, though, and many of them are part of Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. This new, must-have anthology for Cub’s fans began as an idea tossed around by several Chicago writers who also are Cubs fans. The idea grew into a monthly reading series during the 2008 Cubs season. At the Lovable Losers Literary Revue, in the backroom at El Jardin, a Wrigleyville Mexican restaurant, writers expressed their joys and sorrows as Cubs fans through readings, poetry, music and comedy.

 

Cubbie Blues collects those memories and much more to tell the story of what it means to be a diehard Cubs fan. For example, Rick Kogan, who has written eight books and was named Chicago’s Greatest Living Journalist in 2002, wrote a toast, “Here’s to the Children,” about those defining moments when baseball enters a Chicago child’s bloodstream.

 

A tribute to Mike Royko documents Cubs’ history through the eyes of Chicago’s quintessential chronicler of the Cubs. Royko wrote a daily newspaper column for 30 years, and won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1972. He described seeing his first Cubs game in 1939, at age six, and made a career of spreading the word about the Cubs, providing a nuanced portrait of a fan’s relationship to his team, through the so-so, the bad and the ugly. As he wrote, “An optimist looks at a glass of water and sees it as half full. A pessimist looks at it and sees it as half empty. A Cub fan looks at it and says, ‘When’s it gonna spill?’”

 

Author Sara Paretsky has written 12 mysteries featuring the stubborn, proud, street-smart private investigator, V.I. Warshawski. Throughout her tension-filled days, V.I. tracks her beloved Cubs, where the news is usually as disheartening as a blackjack to the noggin. V.I. always gets results, while her Cubs don’t. In Indemnity Only, Paretsky has V.I. driving on Lake Shore Drive, listening to the game: “The game was in the bottom of the third, and Kingman struck out: 2-0, St. Louis. The Cubs had bad days, too — in fact, more than I did, probably.” What makes V.I. lovable and what makes her a Cubs fan are one and the same. She’s ferociously loyal. How V.I. feels about her team won’t change one bit.

 

The book contains short stories, essays, poetry and songs, as well as Cubs trivia, memories and interesting factoids. “For every fan who’s waited a hundred years, here’s elegant and passionate proof that you aren’t alone,” says Marcus Sakey, award-winning author of The Blade Itself, At the City's Edge and Good People.

 

Acclaimed authors such as Scott Simon, James Finn Garner, and Don De Grazia take their places beside acclaimed fans like Lin Brehmer, Mike Murphy, and Pat Brickhouse. The unique blend of voices, ranging from best-selling authors to long-time beer vendors, explores the relationship these fans have to their dubious team.

 

Judy Royko, Mike Royko's widow, recommends keeping the book near while waiting for next year. "This anthology is full of great stories and wonderful anecdotes about the trades, plays and bad luck that make up the fiber of a true Cub fans' being."

 

And Royko's friend and legendary owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, Sam Sianis, says, "My advice to the great fans of Chicago? Tell them to read this baseball book with their double cheeseburger from the Billy Goat...It's good for the digestion."

 

The limited hardcover first edition of Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year is available exclusively through the Web site for Can't Miss Press, an imprint of State Street Publishing, Elgin, Illinois, and direct sales at events planned during the holiday shopping season. Visit www.cantmisspress.com for online ordering details and for a complete schedule of upcoming events.

 

A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of Cubbie Blues will benefit Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities' One Step At A Time Camp.

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Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year, edited by Donald G. Evans; Hardcover 169 pages; ISBN 09760216-6-8; $24.95; publication date: December 7, 2008 

Article originally appeared on Lovable Losers Literary Revue (http://www.lovablelosersliteraryrevue.com/).
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