Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at 100

I am a proud Cubs fan. I like to read books about baseball, especially when they are about my beloved Chicago Cubs. And I have enjoyed George F. Will’s baseball writings of the past such as Men at Work. So I thought that A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred would be a huge hit for me in my reading diet. Sadly it was not to be.

Will in A Nice Little Place on the North Side argues that Wrigely Field is part cause and part symptom of the Cubs’ dysfunctional performance. Will discusses the early Cubs, how they moved to Wrigley Field and then chronicles the Cubs history until this 100th birthday of the beloved stadium. He discusses players, key games, economics and more in the context of Cubs’s history.

I do not have much to say about this book so I will make it short. The books feels like one long essay with three page topical building blocks. There are no chapters and just small breaks that let you know that the writer has moved onto a new unrelated and unnamed topic. Though you feel like the thesis makes the book about Wrigley Field itself, there is plenty of discussion around Wrigley Field adjacent topics that only indirectly are about the schedule. And I do not agree with all the topic choices, especially in more modern times. For me one example is the lack of discussion of the Ryne Sandberg game (Ryne Sandberg does not even make the pages of the book) which brought the stadium into a national television audience. Though there is a large discussion of the Bartman Game, and not it’s relationship to the stadium, which Will was in attendance for.

In the end, Will recommends in his pages several great histories of the Chicago Cubs. I would suggest taking his recommendations instead of grabbing this title.

Copy Provided for Purposes of Review