I founded Agony & Ivy about five years ago for two reasons. First, I wanted to write about the Cubs. Actually, I was already writing about the Cubs anyway, for myself and for my friends, but I wanted a forum to share it with anyone else who cared to read it. I wanted a record--just in case it turned out that one of these seasons turned out to be the season.
Second, there just weren't any sites out there that were working at the intersection between literature and analysis. It's easy to parrot commentary, and to gripe about a team that continually falls short, especially a team that often falls short for predictable reasons. It's much harder to explore the narrative of a season, or of a team, or of one's own life as a fan across years or even decades. (Chris Rewers, Agony & Ivy's new editor, has already written a terrific piece in this vein.)
Harder, but worthwhile, I believe. Being a Cubs fan is not about employing obvious but momentary criticism of the team, although criticism is always relevant. Being a Cubs fan is about being willing to drop that criticism on a dime if there's even the slimmest chance for redemption. Redemption, as in the World Series. But also, redemption as in understanding that being a Cubs fan means something in the sense of participating in something bigger than any individual. Together we have history, and camaraderie, and the collective knowledge that if it happens during our lifetime, it will be truly and utterly transcendent. Plus, the history and camaraderie persevere even during the worst moments of our shared agony.
I've moved away from Chicago, and begun a career as an attorney. I'm still following the Cubs closely; and I'm still writing. But for me, the time has passed where the two can continue to intersect at the level required to maintain Agony and Ivy with the attention it deserves.
I feel very fortunate that the Beachwood Media Company was willing to take over Agony & Ivy. I've been a follower of its flagship website, the Beachwood Reporter, for a long time. In past seasons, they were kind enough to link to some of my posts for A & I when the posts deserved it. (I also contributed a hybrid book review and essay series about Wicker Park, unrelated to baseball, to the site back in 2006.) The company--and its leader, Steve Rhodes--has a unique and encouraging vision for the future of local journalism in Chicago, and I'm proud to let them take the reins. I'm confident that the site will fill a niche for likeminded Cubs fans that's unmet anywhere else, better than I ever could. We're all better off for Steve's, Chris's, and everyone else involved with the Beachwood's commitment, and for their talent.
Many thanks to everyone who followed Agony & Ivy these past few seasons. I hope you enjoy the improvements that the new site, editor, and writers bring. If I'm able to write something worth your time, I'll share it. Regardless, here's trusting that this year (or else, next year) will be the year.