From Publishers Weekly
Many authors have chronicled the fortunes of a baseball team over the course of eight months (including spring training and the postseason). Wojciechowski, a writer for ESPN The Magazine
, takes a different approach in his examination of the Chicago Cubs' performance during the 2004 season. The games themselves are only the launch point for his imaginative research, thus get relatively short shrift. Naturally, he keeps track of the wins and losses, tossing in a few pertinent facts and stats in the Cubs' pursuit of the pennant (which never came). He discusses myriad aspects of the games, addressing not just marquee players like Sammy Sosa but utility players as well, and their stories are often more interesting. Still more appealing are the behind-the-scenes glimpses of diehard fans, colorful beer vendors, outrageous broadcasters and others. Even real estate agents, looking to rent apartments across the street from Wrigley Field, get their due as part of Cubs Nation. Wojciechowski isn't overly concerned with gossip; he is more intent on offering readers insight, which comes from diverse sources, like political pundit George F. Will and social commentator Studs Terkel. This engrossing account shows how fans fall in love with a team through heartache and elation. Agent, Janet Pawson. (On sale Apr. 12)
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In 2003 the Chicago Cubs almost
ended a 50-plus year World Series. With the Cubs poised to shed the "lovable losers" tag in 2004, journalist Wojciechowski, a lifetime Cubs fan, set himself up in an apartment near Wrigley Field to chronicle the season that, as it turned out, wasn't what he had expected. The team was beset with injuries and controversies, and the St. Louis Cardinals ran away with the division. But, as the title states, there were plenty of sidebar stories to tell. Wojciechowski interviewed more than 200 people connected with the Cubs, including players, team officials, and fans. Two sandouts are Paul Rathje, who, in his role as stadium chief, speaks of Wrigley Field like a father would of a successful son, and Billy Corgan, lead singer of the rock group Smashing Pumpkins, who offers a refreshingly "everyman" perspective on citizenship in "Cub Nation." There are plenty of cool baseball anecdotes here, but this revels in the nature of fandom more than in screaming line drives to right field. Given the Cubs' national appeal, expect demand in every market. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved