GROTA’s Printed Word Club: Wrigleyworld
On occasion, I like to dabble in books and other literary pieces…especially when I have been without cable or Interwebs the last few days because I’ve just moved into my new apartment.
But that’s neither here nor there. No hard feelings Comcast…for now.
Anyway, a few years ago my dad gave me a book to read before I headed back to campus to start my junior year of college called Wrigleyworld and I decided to give it a reread to pass the time.
My first thoughts were that Wrigleyworld was going to be yet another book waxing poetic justice about the majesty of Wrigley Field and its powerful influence on the neighborhood and city.
Written by Kevin Kaduk – a former sports journalist/columnist and now editor for Big League Stew – covering the less-than-fantastic 2004 Chicago Cubs season from start to finish, “Wrigleyworld” is about the fans.
After growing up a Cubs fan in the Chicagoland area, Kaduk gives up his sports writing beat in Kansas City to move into a crappy apartment near Wrigley in order to live the dream of attending as many Cubs home game as humanly possible (with the occasional road trip for good measure).
While most writers would have focused on the players or the mystique of the Cubs, Kaduk looks around at all the stories sitting in the stands with him. He watches games from the bleachers, bars, rooftops and streets, and in doing so, tells the story of the Cubs better than anyone with press credentials ever could.
If you like the style of writing we have here at GROTA, then I’m sure you’ll like Kaduk. Here’s a little taste:
At six this morning, I entered Hi-Tops, located across from the right field entrance on Sheffield. On the stage stood a goateed Chicago shock jock and his posse. In front, a crowd of twenty-somethings, most of them wearing hard-ass black, paid close attention. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, so I craned my neck to see what I was missing.
Two men were pouring lighter fluid on their testicles.
For some reason (and Lord knows why), I wasn’t fazed. Seconds later, a flame lit, causing each man to dance around for what were presumably a few uncomfortable seconds. The crowd squirmed, the roared. A few fans with video cameras pushed closer to the stage.
The gross-out contest continued for two more steps, the details of which I am hesitant to reveal here. (However, I will tell you it involved the following: strippers, peanut butter, and vomit.) When one of the men left the stage, a swarm of questions went through my mind.
Were Opening Day tickets at stake? Would you like some aloe for, uh, your…uh, err…you know…your [points toward crotch]? What in the name of Durocher is wrong with you?
Instead, I went with a simple: “Why would you do something like that?”
“I just love life, man,” said the obviously drunk contestant, before immediately heading to the bathroom.
And, truly, what expresses a love for life more than a flaming nut sack?
There are few books that have made me laugh out loud like Wrigelyworld, but I have embarrassed myself several times in public places while reading it.
From one Cubs fan to another, it’s a solid book that doesn’t take long to read and it reminds us why we love not just this team, but why we love being a fan in the first place