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Bleacher Bum B.S.

By Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Marlon Byrd has become a fan favorite in his first few weeks as a Cub, and has been trading salaams with the bleacher bums before every game," Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune.

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On The Profit Motive

By Joel C. Boehm on Thursday, April 22, 2010

I take issue a little bit with this statement from a recent post, Chris: "Operating a ballclub is a business. It is not a charity or a non-profit."

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Sincerely, JCB

By Joel C. Boehm on Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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.)

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A Retrospective Moment to Say Thanks

By JCB on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As with last year, I'm afraid that I will no longer be able to write consistently for Agony & Ivy on account of other commitments, which will continue at least into the bulk of the 2010 season. Accordingly, changes for the site are afoot. Details will follow as they materialize.

I wanted to take a moment to say thanks, though, to several people.

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That Slipping Feeling

By JCB on Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I really hope the next couple weeks don't remind me of how it felt to leave the bleachers last night.

It was my first time back to Wrigley Field since 2007; and my first time back to the bleachers since 2006. Before that, I'd gone every season since at least 1998, if not before. (Younger memories get fuzzier each year.) Last season, not going even once left a true void. I had been looking forward to last night's game for a long time, then, and to see it lining up with Rich Harden pitching for the Cubs only added to my enthusiasm because he's been the one pitcher recently who seems capable of leading the team to a position to win by sheer force of will.

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Spring Training Meanderings

By JCB on Thursday, April 2, 2009

Consensus among the faithful in Arizona last weekend is that the Cubs will win the National League Central. This is because the Cubs have gotten a little bit better, while the rest of the division got worse. Of course, like every season, this one will be 162 games long - and we all know what that means: No one knows.

But putting analysis aside, one thing I noticed is that the fans seemed to feel much less urgency about this season. Last year, among the fans I talked with, there was the sense that the Cubs had to win in 2008. But the 101st season apparently brings less pressure than the one before. To me, this is a good thing. If there's one thing the collective mindset can use, it's less pressure.

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Editor's Note

By JCB on Sunday, March 15, 2009

Agony & Ivy has been dormant, but is not dead. Major disappointment last fall, followed by my third year of law school, had sapped my energy to post. But spring returns for baseball-watchers, too.

I'll be making some minor updates to the site soon, updating links and so on. I'll also be writing about spring training, which I'll attend in two weekends. And I have a few other things planned for this summer and fall.

In the meantime, if people are unaware, The Baseball Chronicle, an online magazine, now exists. I think this is a brilliant, timely, and valuable project.

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In The Mind's Eye

By JCB on Wednesday, August 20, 2008
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

- A. Barlett Giamatti, former president of both Yale and the National League

This is the first paragraph of his 1977 essay The Green Fields of the Mind, recalling the Red Sox collapse of 1975.

* * *

It happened again after the Cubs took a slim lead; as I watched Rich Harden pitch, I was not thinking about whether the Cubs would win the game, I was thinking about whether they will win the World Series. I can't be the only one, right?

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A Rant Against The Bud Light Bleachers

By JCB on Thursday, March 30, 2006

Say What?!?

Well, there is going to be a lot of indignation over the Wrigley Field bleachers being knighted the Bud Light Bleachers. That's right, friends, Anheuser-Busch has sent its marketing gallantry out from St. Louis abroad to conquer and pillage, and the Wrigley Field bleachers are officially plunder. The press release has been issued. Expect lots of indignation, that's for sure, and I'm writing now to say one thing: it's righteous indignation.

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It's Not Second Guessing When It's True

By JCB on Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On Monday I asserted that Dusty Baker hasn't managed the 2005 Cubs like a team that was certain to play in a lot of close games. A request came in for examples, so I went back through and spot-checked my Game Notes, looking for specific instances that I had noticed in real time. I found more than a dozen of them in short order.

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Sincerely, JCB

I founded Agony & Ivy about five years ago for two reasons. First...

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