Hoekstra book gets All-Star treatment on MiLB.com!

MiLB.com, the official site of Minor League Baseball, calls Hoekstra's Cougars and Snappers and Loons, Oh My!, A Midwest League Field Guide an "irreverent travelogue" of league and its characters. Read the full article, Hoekstra takes the field in the Midwest, here!

Cubbie Blues Podcast

Cubbie Blues editor Donald Evans was interviewed by WGN 720 radio's Don Digilio on the eve of the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest. Download and listen to the uncut MP3 podcast of that interview.

Sign the Petition!

Holy Cow! Can't Miss Press is a proud sponsor of The Common Fan Sings, a grassroots effort launched by Dave Cihla (co-creator of the Shawon-O-Meter) to let a regular Cubs fan sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field. Sign the petition to let Dave and other deserving Cubs fans carry on the tradition started by Harry Caray. Then view the video of Dave and some of his supporters singing "Happy Birthday" to Shawon at the Shawon-O-MeetUp at Murphy's Bleachers

Excerpts: Cubbie Blues

Here's to the Children by Rick Kogan


"Baseball is dull only to dull minds," wrote sportswriter Red Smith.


And it sneaks into our minds

when we are young and impressionable.

Because of that, the history of baseball in Chicago is not just some

thick ongoing novel but also a library of personal diaries, filled

with names, stats and snapshots.


Ask around. "Who were you?"

and answers will tell you much about that person.

And about yourself.




Night Games by Mary Beth Hoerner


They say you can tell a lot about people by their signature so in my attempts to determine which Cub to love, in a romantic way, I looked to their handwriting as well as their physiques. I did feel an intimacy with each and every one of them as we shared those dark, quiet moments before slumber. But if there's one thing I learned from having four older sisters, it's that you must be in love at all times. So the analysis began.


Fergie was huge, with a slight 'fro, and he refused to smile – even this one time for the camera. Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert, Katie had expressed interest in – so I knew "hands off" without her mentioning it. Randy Hundley had bad teeth, and Ron Santo had kind of a paunch, which only reminded me of my own. Kenny Holtzman, I imagined, was Jewish so that scared me off because I had never met one. Billy Williams was too quiet, like me; we would be boring together. Ernie was a superstar. Out of my league.


I was at a loss. I would again take in their features, their expressions, their stance. Don Kessinger was one of the few non-closeups, kneeling on one knee. If my sister wanted him, fine, but what could she possibly do with two? As I rifled through her programs, one name accosted me always: Glem Beckerf. Never "Glen," never "Beckert," which to me meant he had a good sense of humor. Blue-eyed Glenn Beckert would be my guy. I had always liked second base – so vulnerable – and he didn't look inbred at all.





The Wrigleyville Monkey's Paw by James Finn Garner


The old man said, Look at me. You think it's brought me luck? The thing about a monkey's paw, the old woman told me, was that the wishes usually don't go like you think. She told me to take it and throw it in the lake, but I didn't listen. All I heard was, it grants three wishes. So I ignore her and take the paw home. I go into my kitchen and turn off all the lights. And I says, Oh Magical Monkey Paw, I want the Cubs to finish first, I want them to stand the tallest of all the National League teams.


Well, after I said this, the old monkey's paw begins to shake, and slowly one of its fingers curls itself up tight. This scared me a lot more than it made me happy. I waited all season to see what would happen.


So you got your wish, I said. The Cubs came in first that year, although…


Although! Although! You didn't hear what I said. I asked for the Cubs to stand the tallest of the National League teams. And what happened?


Durham lets the ball roll between his legs, I said.


Yes! Standing tall. If I hadn't uttered those words, Durham handles the routine grounder and makes the out at first, the Cubs beat those stinkin' Padres … goddamn stinkin' Padres, with goddamn Steve Garvey … and go to the World Series.


I looked at the package on the bar, then back to the old man. You're full of it, I said.


It wasn't a coincidence. I said those words. It was the paw.





Atlas Shrugged … I Cried by Scott Simon


I arose the next morning. I brought in the newspaper. And then I saw, in black and white, that the last two games had not been merely a prolonged bad dream. And that's when I began to sob. Not manly sniffles, either, of the kind that World War II vets who stormed the beaches of Normandy get when the flag passes, but the runaway sobs of a three-year-old who has just dropped his ice cream on the sidewalk.


(To be perfectly accurate, we have two daughters who are five years old and 20 months old, and I have yet to see them sob and blubber quite so heavily. But then our five-year-old is a White Sox fan.)


My wife heard my sobs. She thought there had been another 9-11 attack, or perhaps a death in our family. She turned the bathroom door carefully. "I really thought we had a chance this year," I sniveled, and then bawled even more at being revealed as the kind of man who will cry over a lost baseball game.




The Year of The Hawk by Julia Borcherts


…then we emerged into the huge bowl that was Wrigley Field, glistening in brilliant sunlight, ivy climbing up the walls, thousands of blue-shirted fans waving beer cups as they salaamed Andre Dawson, who was waving a bat at the plate.


"There is a man who knows the strike zone," Darrell told my mother as he pointed to an empty first row of seats in right field and handed her a beer. "Dunston? He'll swing at anything; you have to hit that man to walk him. But The Hawk? He'll wait for his pitch and then slam it out of the park."


He didn't slam it out of the park that time, but he did hit a hard line drive into left field and even with his bad knees, managed to score a double. And maybe he noticed me eyeing him in right field, because when he and the center fielder, Jerome Walton, got done warming up at the top of the sixth inning, he threw the ball up to me instead of back to the ball boy. And by the time the game was over and the Cubs had won, 3-1, I decided that I liked baseball and I liked Andre Dawson.