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READ PDF ß Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball's Best Neighborhood ⚽ In Chicago, The Cubs Are A Source Of Hope And Heartbreak, Not Having Won A World Series In Almost Years But For Cubs Fans, Never Say Die Is A Way Of Life And Kevin Kaduk Is No Exception So Much So That In A Fit Of Loyalty To His Lovable Losers, He Quit His Job As A Sportswriter In Kansas City And Moved Back To The Windy City On A Quest To Find The Heart And Soul Of What Has Come To Be Known As Wrigleyville The Idiosyncratic Neighborhood That Has Sprung Up Around Wrigley Field This Is A Rollicking Adventure Of Baseball, Blind Faith, And America S Pastime As It S Played In America S Heartland This is an absolute truthful portrayal of the whole atmosphere surrounding the phenomenon that is the Chicago Cubs and the area that has gentrified into a Summer playpen.It is an absolute joy to read, and I am sure fans in other areas of the Nation still can not comprehend what all this hoopla is all about.Certain books give the reader an absolute feel for what transpires in some facet of the world where they may never go or have little desire to experience.upon reading a book such as this, someone may just want to check out this Bourbon Street North Summer party. I went back and forth on this book so much On the surface, a book on a guy trying to attend as many Cubs games as possible in a season would be a must read for me There was the added interest that the season in question 2005 is also the season I attended my most Cubs games in a season as well, so I remembered many of the same events The book worked best when the author focused on life in Wrigleyville and getting to know his fellow fans from around the world The book dragged a bit when he focused on his drinking antics and his adventures with women For a guy who quit his job and talked about having no money, he was able to drink incredible amounts of alcohol Gather round and I shall regale you with a tale about a little place on the north side of Chicago She s one of the most beautiful things you ve ever laid eyes on that is, if you can get over the smell of urine and stale Old Style running through the bleachers There isn t much to be said about beautiful Wrigley Field that history s greatest columnists, authors and politicians haven t already mentioned Wrigleyworld isn t your conventional hey I wrote a book about the Cubbies literary adventure I ve been a Cub fan since I can remember The years peel away and people write what they think is an original take on the Cubs and Wrigley They aren t original Think of using the same rusty metal cookie cutters every year at Christmas I want something new and exciting something that won t make me question my self worth as a Cub fan as I read it Kevin Kaduk finally delivered what I and so many of us north siders want A Cubs book that doesn t dwell on the disparaging history of the franchise Someone actually put a positive spin on subject that leaves quite a bit to be desired, even from its most loyal backers.Kaduk first points out how he must observe the 2003 Cubs season from afar, as a columnist for the Kansas City Star The phone calls and texts from friends living it up during a magical run towards a division title prove to be too much for him when he decides to do what many of us probably would not have done leaves a steady job to go and watch baseball He arrives back in Chicago and moves in with a couple of friends just a few blocks to the north and west of the Friendly Confines Ultimately, we find out Kaduk attends sixty two of the Cubs 81 home games during the 2005 season Having never purchased a ticket in advance for any game, he details his season long trials and tribulations with scalpers on Sheffield, the Ballhawks on Waveland and a supporting cast of unique, if not friendly characters who call Wrigleyville home For one season, all he wants do is watch baseball And consume an obscene amount of alcohol Most would argue this was one of the most half baked ideas imaginable Now, while it s certainly not something I would have done, I admire Kaduk s desire He actually found a way to go through with it Let s face it, jumping ship to experience Wrigleyville in what could possibly be a special season was a pipe dream at best The team had never put together three consecutive winning seasons, so the odds were already against him He went anyway no regrets.He never does reveal exactly how much money he leaves Kansas City with, though at one point he quips he s surviving on his book advance, which was 50 worth in food stamps, a Cubs painter s cap, and a gift tin of popcorn It had to have been a fairly significant advance for this book, otherwise he s charging himself into an unfathomable amount of credit card debt From Opening Day to the final out in September, Kevin Kaduk never held a job nor did he have the desire to attain gainful employment I still can t wrap my head around this, regardless of which scenario is indeed accurate Whatever advance he was awarded for this book diminished rapidly to have afforded 62 home games, routine trips to Murphy s and the Full Schilling, and an east coast road trip to see six additional ball games Naturally, as I am want to do, I digress.The Cubs hang around the Wild Card Race until roughly Labor Day as THEY are want to do before fading away with the warm Chicago summer The 2005 Cubs down the stretch go as cold as the brisk autumn wind blowing in off Lake Michigan Listen, as long as I ve personally been a fan of this club, I reached a certain point where I trade in my tin foil hat and pie in the sky hopes of a playoff berth with a sense of, well rationale It s not as if we, the Wrigley Faithful are bad fans and give up so easily Honestly, who wants to sit in the bleachers on a Saturday in September and cling to the last straw of hope that they re only 10 games out of the Wild Card with 12 games to go It s not over First of all, Saturdays in September were made for watching college football another staple of the Wrigleyville establishments Second, if I m caught in Wrigley in September for whatever reason, while I do enjoy a good game of baseball anytime, it s better for me to enjoy it for what it is and not occupy my brain with wild card standings Not yet, at least We have to be sensible about these things Don t use your life as a bargaining chip for just one World Series Screw it I love the Cubs, and nothing would bring me joy than to see that day come, but if I live 90 years on this earth and it never happens like Jimmy Stewart, it was still a wonderful life It s a game I ll get over it eventually.Kevin Kaduk seems like the kind of guy you would love to have a beer with at Murphy s post game, or talk about baseball on a hot July day in the bleachers He gets it A knowledgeable, reasonable Cub fan my favorite The book is separated into chapters, but also into sub chapters, so to speak, designated by homestand He and I share the same worst moment of that season I had to laugh when I read it The day Brad Hawpe and the Colorado Rockies pretty much broke Mark Prior It hurts me to talk about Mark Prior and the wasted potential that it likely hurt Mark Prior when he was injured that day I absolutely loved watching him pitch He played a pivotal role in that 2003 season when well, you know how that NLCS plays out And if you don t, well I think you re a liar I don t want to talk about it Forget it In any case, I find it ironic that catastrophic event took place against the Rockies, who, two seasons later would find themselves in the World Series for reasons unbeknownst to anyone What s ironic is that I gradually grew to be a Rockies fan before I ultimately moved to Colorado The Rockies are a fun team to watch at Coors, though mostly harmless to their NL brethren in a typical season Sometimes it feels like I m cheating on the Cubs with the Rockies Many friends have posed the question if the Cubs and Rockies clashed in the NLCS, who would I side with I scoff at the proposal because it s not even remotely close to being plausible at this point, but if I have to answer, it s the Cubs Every time There s a point where Kaduk is attending a series against the Cardinals, sitting next to a man with his two year old son dressed to the nines in Cubs attire Onesie Beanie Passafire Sidebar I will NEVER be that parent Mostly because I m fairly certain that would be considered child abuse in some circles The author has a brief thought of whether or not it would be a good idea to expose his own child ren to the Cubs Sometimes, I play that game I have to say, though, I ll likely be that parent that inevitably let s my kids make their own choices Within reason This particular chapter and leading up to the end made me think of how I was baited into this hopeless endeavor of Cub fandom I remember a couple pieces of games when my family still lived in South Bend My first real memory that will remain ingrained in my mind forever came when I was about eight It was not of Mark Grace, nor Sammy Sosa Not even Ryne Sandberg RHINE not RYAN No, my first Cub memory was on Opening Day of 1994 when Karl Tuffy Rhodes etched himself in Cub lore by hitting three home runs in that game He would only hit three the rest of that season, but ask anyone in Wrigleyville about Tuffy Rhodes and they ll tell you why he remains famous 20 years later I m fairly certain one of those landed on Waveland Avenue and then it was all over I was hooked I thought that was the coolest thing ever in my eight years of being alive Small sample size If I could could back and say something to my eight year old self, I could tell him NO Don t do it, you ll hate everything Get out while you can Or I could tell him no matter how bad this team could ever be, it s all going to be worth it some day and you ll never trade it in for anything I ve been to 11 MLB parks While my beloved Coors Field is the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye, none of them will ever capture the allure, the comfort, the ambiance or the full baseball experience like Wrigley Field It s true No day at Wrigley Field is ever a wasted day We will always be the butt of jokes from spoiled Cardinal fans, delusional Brewers and Red fans and brainless White Sox fans Yet for me, it will never matter The north side, as Kaduk writes, is always the place to be every summer, win or lose I m in this for the long haul, because of baseball Because of Tuffy Rhodes Because of beers with friends in the bleachers Harry Ryno Gracie Ron Santo Fergie, Ernie, Billy Because of that day in the bleachers with dad against the Reds Because of new friendships with total strangers Because of the moments and family I can share those moments with.Kaduk s season and story ends at Murphy s with friends, despite the disappointing 79 83 record I d like to think as he toasts to next year , he wants his audience to believe in that In everything about the Cubs To remember that for better or worse, you re either with us or against us To next year, we toast.We raise our cups in the air.Our hopes for the Cubs have hopped a train to next February and the promise of Spring Training No doubt, we ll catch up with them there They may not be successful They may fade in September again Or August But that team, that feeling, that emotional rollercoaster will always be there when we need it I think it s only fair that we re always there for them As the old adage goes Wait til next year Murphy s will be there Kevin Kaduk will be there Danette Stille will be there Dad will be there in spirit And I will most definitely be there Nothing will ever change that To next year. Let me start by saying I am a baseball purist I love reading books about baseball players, teams, and stories from the fan s perspective That said, this book is about a man who likes to drink and pick up women baseball is a distant second in this man s life He begrudges the fake fans and frat boys who come to the Cubs games to drink and pick up women, yet too much of this book is exactly that a celebration of inebriation and the hunt for the hook up Look, I appreciate some edgy humor, but Kaduk goes too far in his description of women, openly acknowledging that he is only interested in hooking up with them, failing to discuss any meaningful conversations he has with any of them, and making sure to describe their physical make up, while at the same time, describing men s personalities I was offended and see no reason why any female Cubs fan or baseball fan would want to read this The only chapter worth reading is the one describing the ball hawks who spend time outside the stadium to catch home run and batting practice balls Unfortunately, there is far too few of these moments.This book is perfect for the Gawker generation, for the I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell crowd, but for baseball fans, this book offers nothing insightful, meaningful, or even fun A waste of my time I guess I m of a Verducci guy as I get older.