The Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs

Story of A Curse

Book - 2017 | First Edition.
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A captivating blend of reportage and memoir exploring the history of the Chicago Cubs

When Rich Cohen was eight years old, his father took him to see a Cubs game. On the way out of the park, his father asked him to make a promise. "Promise me you will never be a Cubs fan. The Cubs do not win," he explained, "and because of that, a Cubs fan will have a diminished life determined by low expectations. That team will screw up your life."

As a result, Cohen became not just a Cubs fan but one of the biggest Cubs fans in the world.

In this book, he captures the story of the team, its players and crazy days. Billy Sunday and Ernie Banks, Three Finger Brown and Ryne Sandberg, Bill Buckner, the Bartman Ball, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo--the early dominance followed by a 107 year trek across the wilderness. It's all here--not just what happened, but what it felt like and what it meant. He searches for the cause of the famous curse. Was it the billy goat, kicked out of Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 1945 World Series, or does it go back further, to the very origins of the franchise? Driven mad with futility, he went on the road with the team in search of answers, interviewed great players present and past, researched in libraries but also in the bleachers, double-fisted, a frosty malt in each hand, demanding answers. He came to see the curse as a burden but also as a blessing.

Cubs fans are unique, emissaries from a higher realm, warning of hubris and vanity. The blue cap with the red C said, "My Kingdom is not of this world." He interviewed the architects of the 2016 Cubs, the team that broke the curse. Here's what he asked: How the hell did you do it? He was at (almost) every game of the 2016 playoff run--a run that culminated in (maybe) the single greatest baseball game ever played. He was excited but also terrified. Losing is easy. What would it mean towin? Wearing a Yankees hat meant corporate excellence. Wearing a Mets hat meant miracles. But wearing a Cubs hat meant loving the game on its most humdrum afternoon--September 13, 1979, say, 14 games out of first place, Larry Bittner driving in Ivan DeJesus. Would we lose that? Would being a Cubs become ordinary?

A mix of memoir, reporting, history and baseball theology, this book, forty years in the making, has never been written because it never could be--only with the 2016 World Series can the true arc of the story finally be understood.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780374120924
Branch Call Number: 796.357640977311 Coh
Characteristics: x, 273 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Oct 30, 2017

Being a Cubs fan had always a required a mix of hope, foolishness, blind loyalty, and the ability to persevere with the knowledge that there would be no reward for any of it. 2016 changed that. It left we old timers a bit bereft. Much as we enjoyed and savored the first Series win in 108 years, we had no idea how to be winners. Mr. Cohen grasps this fully, and uses it as the underpinning of his very readable book. There is enough of the club's history to allow non-fans to understand the curse and the psychologically repressive effect it carried. Cohen helps the reader see behind the scenes and understand what a huge paradigm shift was required to put together the team that won the '16 Series. He masterfully conveys the wide range of emotions that fans went through in the '16 postseason - fear of winning, fear of losing, and every shade and hue in between. Recommended to all fans of baseball.

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