Many people associate New Year celebrations with champagne, Auld Lang Syne, freezing weather, and blowing noisemakers. For me, the new year kicks off with dollar dogs, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and high-fiving random fellow fans after a home run. The weather? Yes, chilly weather is still an unfortunate factor of April baseball in Chicago). Major League Baseball's Opening Day is a great time to reset: the young season is fresh with unique and surprising possibilities yet to be written. However, if you are in the market for a baseball storyline that has already been written, and you'd like to go beyond The Natural and Shoeless Joe (adapted into the film Field of Dreams), we have them here at the library in our fiction stacks.
The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! or Do They? by Andy Van Slyke and Rob Rains
Penned by a former major leaguer, this novel has Cubs the in first place around the All-Star break, but even the pursuit of their first pennant since 1945 takes a seat on the bench compared to the swirling mysteries of the owner's shadowy past.
Oh Johnny by Jim Lehrer
A young baseball phenom enlists in the Marines in 1944 and falls in love with a girl en route to deployment. After the war, he pursues both his baseball career and his lost love but encounters results much different than what he expected.
Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi
The title character is an autistic teenager with a "plus, plus" fastball who is recruited by the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, Arthur Murphy. While Mickey becomes a star in the major leagues despite adversity from his abusive father and jealous teammates, Murphy embarks on a quest to win the pennant while wooing Mickey's mother.
Season of Gene by Dallas Hudgens
Joe Rice is an owner of a car-detailing service and player/manager of the company's baseball team. When his best friend and business partner, Gene, has a fatal heart attack while sliding into home during on of their games, members of the mob appear looking for a vintage 1932 bat used by Babe Ruth worth $3 million. Joe promptly decides the payoff of locating the bat is worth fighting gangsters and facing down his own past.
In a closing note: just think, a year ago the Cubs still hadn't won a World Series since 1908. Of course, nothing has changed this year, but it was still nice to say. It's got to happen someday, doesn't it? Until then, happy reading!