Regular readers of Prose and Ivy know I’ve been emotionally invested in the ups and downs of Chicago Cubs baseball for years. I’ve been writing this blog for a couple of years now and writing about sports in general since I would cut out pictures from the sports section and tape it to construction paper which I would type up imaginary sports articles on when I was little. I’ve written reviews and articles for MLB.com/Entertainment and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. I’ve written and produced television shows for Fox Reality, A&E, Travel Channel and Showtime. I’ve performed stand up for over 12 years, shot pilots for shows I’ve created and written comedy for Comedy Central. It’s all been a blast and I look forward to doing more when the opportunities present themselves. Unfortunately, today’s economy has made these opportunities few and far between lately and like many, I am displaced working day jobs needed to pay the bills but not necessarily in situations classified as ‘ideal’. When it comes right down to it, all in all, I love writing and I love baseball. The ultimate dream for me would be writing an entertaining, timeless classic account of being a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
But how do you write about the Cubs and take it in a direction that hasn’t been covered before? There are countless books about Wrigley Field. (Not literally countless). There are endless books about the best Cubs players by the numbers (not literally endless) and a ton of books about individual Cub personalities or listing interesting factoids about your favorite Cubs players/organization of all time (not literally a ton, I don’t believe).
The question: How do you write an engaging, entertaining, timeless book about being a Cubs fan and the greatest organization in baseball without blending in and reiterating everything that’s been said in Cubs based books previously published? What could I write that is unlike any book sitting on the baseball shelf at your local bookstore today?
Today, I believe I’ve figured it out.
I had a thought today about raising the stakes for myself as a fan and having the outcome of the 2010 Chicago Cubs baseball season actually effect my life, win or lose. That thought?
“What would happen if I bet it all on the Cubs?”
Here is the pitch: I write a book about my experience as a fan of the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 season. The twist, I am the one fan in the world with more at stake than the players themselves. While the athletes may have incentive based contracts, those incentives are simply bonuses on top of their salaries. Come the end of the day, they get paid something (a very large something at that) no matter whether they win, or lose.
The deal: my entire advance and residuals for the book are at stake. If the Cubs win it all in 2010, I get paid. If they don’t…I don’t. Simple as that.
Aside from your actual ‘life’ itself, there are no higher stakes one could gamble than the quality of your life itself. I’ll have more riding on the 2010 Chicago Cubs season than any other fan out there. More than any player, coach or manager. Players, coaches and managers get paid, do or die. I won’t have that luxury.
Every decision Hendry makes behind the scenes will directly effect my life come the end of the season. I will share my thoughts on every move he makes throughout the year. I’ll follow the team during Spring Training, recap each game and keep an eye on the players that will determine my fate including a visit to Spring Training to see the team perform in person.
During the regular season I will travel to Chicago from New York to see the Cubs play in person. When the team visits the East Coast, I will get tickets and check out the team’s performance at each Northeast stadium they visit. It will be the Cubs roster that decides whether I get paid for a passion project and make my dream come true. Wouldn’t you want to evaluate and see them for yourself as much as you possibly could? Me too!
Also, if Andre Dawson is voted into the Hall of Fame this year, a trip to Cooperstown would definitely be included! Interviews with other fans regarding the Hawk and being a Cubs fan in general as well as their thoughts on my venture along the way would be hilarious no matter how the team is doing. What an exciting detail that would be to add to the experience, an honor for the Hawk well earned and much deserved, without a doubt!
Now, I have a wife. I live in New York City, arguably the most expensive city in the world. Committing a ton of time to a passion project with no guaranteed financial benefit is not something every wife would be supportive of and I have no idea how she’d react. Would she get angry? Would she become as addicted to knowing the in’s and out’s of Cubs baseball as I am? What would her reaction throughout the season be? How would I react? What would it feel like to see the W flag raised with so much at stake? How would it feel come the All-Star break with the Cubs sitting pretty in first place in this situation? And what if they’re losing? What if Bradley wasn’t the problem and the chemistry still isn’t there in 2010? What if injuries are a problem once again and all of our stars, one year older, are spending even more time on the DL? What if Hendry makes a bonehead move (in addition to Silva, that is)? How would it feel to see an error in the field cost me more than just the once in a lifetime opportunity (potentially) to see the Cubs win a title? What if I had this deal going at the time of ‘The Bartman Game’? What would that excerpt have been like?
As a social experiment, I will write about my day in and day out experiences rooting for the Cubs, putting complete faith in them to change my life by winning the World Series. Something the team hasn’t accomplished in over 100 years.
I imagine the stress will be immense. I picture the frustration with poor play and cold streaks at the plate to be unmatched. I predict the heartbreak over an injury to be unbearable. Box scores will be reviewed closer than a Biggest Loser trainer breaks down ingredients and calories for completely invested contestants. The 2010 season will play out like a fantasy baseball team with results that are unparalleled.
For years people have wondered why, when I refer to my favorite sports teams, I use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’. ’How do you benefit if they win?’ they ask. ’Don’t say we. It implies you win as well’, they say. Well, this would make that comment completely irrelevant and obsolete throughout the 2010 Cubs baseball campaign. Imagine letting it all ride on arguably professional sports’ least lucky, most cursed team. If you ask me, that story and experience would be absolutely fascinating.
If there is anyone reading this with the power to make it happen and is at all interested, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. And readers should feel free to leave their thoughts here as well. I expect some of you to think it’s cool and some of you to think it’s the dumbest proposal they’ve ever heard. No matter which side is right…I think it would be amazing to be so invested in one season of Chicago Cubs baseball.
2010. The Chicago Cubs. World Series Champions. It could happen. I mean, someone will win it all next year. Why not the Cubs? What would that be like with the ultimate dream at stake? And that my friends is why I’m willing to bet it all on the Cubs in 2010.
Go Cubs Go! A safe and happy new year to you all!