Waveland Avenue. 'the Friendly Confines', ivy on outfield walls, 'Hey, hey..!! ', 'It might be, it could be...', 1969, 1984... Many words, phrases, and years evoke only one place and one team for a baseball fan ...Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs.
When you add the names ...Brickhouse, Williams, Santo, Sandberg, Caray, Smith, Durham, Sutcliffe, Dawson, Maddux, Wood, Zambrano ...when you add the remembrances of these individuals, and many more, sharing their experiences as a Chicago Cub ...there is no doubt What It Means to Be a Cub will be a paean to the life of a Cubs player and others closely associated with the team.
Long-time Executive Producer of WGN sports, Bob Vorwald compiles interviews with dozens of Cubs notables in What It Means to Be a Cub. Players, managers, broadcasters ...even " singer/songwriter/Cubs fan " Steve Goodman (he penned the song 'A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request ', URL below) and Gary Pressy (long-time Wrigley Field organist) are featured here.
The interviews are captured in the words of the players and others interviewed. Some of the grammar and phrasing indicates a very light editing 'hand' was used.
"Then I got here to Wrigley Field, and I'd seen it on TV, but I'd never been here." —Ron Santo
"Here in baseball, some people will talk good about you, and some people will not. You are not a prisoner of everybody. You can be the man of the people you love and who love you." —Carlos Zambrano
The entries for each individual are simply their thoughts and words, the questions or prompts they were answering are not shared. There is some similarity across the entries but each has its own flavor of stories, players, and memories peculiar to that individual. They share how they came to the Cubs, who their mentors were, notable plays/games they were a factor in, thoughts about the Cubs fans, and their overall experience in Chicago and as a Cub.
Each entry also has an action or other picture of the contributor. Not surprisingly, Ron Santo is the only entry to feature two pics; one of him 'clicking his heels' after a Cubs win in 1969, the other of him throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the 2002 home opener. I am going to miss his voice in the broadcasting booth and passion for all things Cubs.
I was struck, as I read entry after entry, by the wistfulness, gratitude, and real passion that many/most of them share for their time in Chicago playing as a Chicago Cub. They really do believe their years as a Cub were the best of their careers.
" It's always like coming home here. You don't know how bad I want to grab a sleeping bag at night, go out on that little bump in the middle of the infield, and spend the night." —Rick Sutcliffe
The Bottom Line
The interviews and stories shared here are wonderful. Each 'sounds' like the player is sitting with you at a bar, sipping a beer, and sharing their fond memories of playing in Chicago and being a Chicago Cub.
For a Cubs fan, there might be nothing more fun than sharing this time with these players and Cubs personnel ...well, other than actually being a Cubs player.
Celebrate the coming of Spring training 2011 with a great baseball read..!!
Certified 'lean-n-mean' review
Reviews of other Cubs-related books/DVDs...
• Cubs Forever
• This Old Cub
• The Cubs Fan's Guide to Happiness
• Forever Loyal: A Salute to the Cubs Fans and Their Field
Links to my other baseball-related reviews...
• 'Baseball and diamond dust reviews'
• The Heckler || ' Life as sports fans in Chicago '
A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request
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