• Robert

MLB Playoffs Get Interesting When…

The real live ivy-covered outfield walls of Wrigley Field

The CHICGO Cubs have gone 0 and 2 in their weekend visit to Dodger Stadium (in Chavez  [Emminent Domain]Ravine, evidencing once again what my friend Steve Fagin identifies as their Achilles heel —namely top-tier pitching. Scoring a total of three runs in two games both via the long ball.. clearly, a seven games series is an inopportune moment for a slump.

However, one would be well advised to not despair and keep in mind that a seven-game series doesn’t really commence until one team breaks serve.

I don’t know how you make a whole book out of this story—no doubt those fans enthralled by the endless minutia that baseball produces will be happy with this book. A review in the venerable weekly Chicago Reader frames the story in more literary/anthropological terms*

About three-quarters of the way through Rich Cohen’s new book The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse comes an epic clash of baseball philosophies and worldviews.
On one side is Theo Epstein, president of the Cubs. A Red Sox fan since childhood, Epstein was also, during his formative years, a devoted reader of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, a thousand-page compendium of statistics and rankings from more than a century of baseball history. James and his disciples have no patience for legends and tall tales. In their world, there are no called shots, no rally squirrels, no ill omens, and, especially, no curses. There’s an explanation for everything, and usually it involves numbers.
Cohen is the other kind of baseball fan—the romantic. He attended his first Cubs game in 1976. He was eight years old. The Cubs lost to the Reds, 8-3. On the way home from Wrigley Field, his father, a Yankees fan, warned him that falling in love with the Cubs would ruin his life. But Cohen had already seen the ivy. Later he came to realize that the Cubs were not just a team, they were a way of life. “A Cubs fan understood the futility of ambition,” he writes. “He was a kind of Buddhist. . . . A Cubs fan appreciates every August afternoon, because, for him, there is no October.”

The series resumes in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field Tuesday evening.


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