Steve Goodman’s Cubs


‘Do they still play the blues in Chicago?’

He sings that line. Just that one line. And the musical progression. The sound sums up the place.

Algren and James T. Farrell, and Bellow and Royko. They all wrote stories and books that dazzled in the billion different ways they summed up the place. Studs asked the right questions, listened harder than anyone and then edited what other people said and summed up the place.

Steve Goodman showed he could distill the place in that one musical phrase. Then with the song he told a story about how baseball goes way beyond a game or even a metaphor and gets woven into the very fabric of not just a person’s life, but the life of a place.

First pitch is in 10 minutes. My back window is open. There is a white sky and a springtime drizzle. The helicopters are circling above Wrigley Field. On the diamond, I see on TV with the sound turned down, they are honoring Ron Santo.

One more time they play Goodman’s song.

And the faint sounds of the crowd comes drifting in my back window in wistful waves of memories spiced in blue. The season starts while I’m listening to Steve Goodman sing one more time.

‘Do they still play the blues in Chicago?’

Play Ball!

One Response to “Steve Goodman’s Cubs”

  1. Paul Haider Says:

    Yes, we’re still playing the blues in Chicago because the Cubs lost again today, while Steve and Ron are enjoying their season tickets to watch the Angels play the game flawlessly. The first mistake that the Cubs made today was not allowing Robert Redford to complete the game after throwing the first pitch; Ryan Dumpster pitched as well today as he did in October of 2008 against the Dodgers. Is it too late to become a Sox (either White or Red) fan?
    Paul Haider, Chicago

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