WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR: THE SAGA OF THE CHICAGO CUBS
With the White Sox appearing out of the AL Wild Card race, and the Cubs entrenched in last, it's time to start thinking--if you're a Chicago baseball fan--about next year. Feels familiar to do that.
That's why it's cool that next Tuesday night, September 26, at 9:00 PM, HBO Sports is premiering an original film, WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR: THE SAGA OF THE CHICAGO CUBS.
First, a disclaimer. I was interviewed for this film by producer Joe Lavine, and I appear for a few moments talking about Lou Brock and about Wrigley Field. (The documentary was made in the spring, and I no longer look like I did back then; I no longer have a beard, short hair, or those old glasses...)
But I digress.
This film is a one-hour story of the Cubs, concentrating on the 1920s-30s era through the present day. Following a group of Cubs rooters through their obsessive fandom, and working in a few talking heads (like George Castle, Bryant Gumbel, Michael Wilbon, Bob Costas, and some guy named Shea) to give historical perspective, WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR also includes a lot of great, historical Cubs film. Much of the footage is in color, and a lot of it few people have seen.
Dennis Farina does a good job of narrating, while comic Jeff Garlin adds a sort of Greek chorus, describing the Cubs' endless wait for a title as "A big bowl of wrong." The segments on 1969, 1984, Harry Caray, and the Bartman Game in the 2003 NLCS are compelling--and I mean "compelling" in the sense that if you're a Cubs fan, they make you smile, and then they hurt like hell.
My only real problem with the film is that it may give a little too much airtime to independent filmmaker Matt Liston. While his story of making a documentary ("Chasing October") about the doomed 2003 season is plenty interesting--and I look forward to seeing the film--I didn't find Liston quite fascinating enough to have necessitated the complete omission of the Cubs' recent playoff visits in 1989 and 1998.
But one thing modern documentaries seem to need are characters, and including Liston, the film has some good ones: bookstore owner Bob Beck, fantasy-camp participant Dr. David Fishman, and bar owner/Cub historian Art Ahrens, whose understated, knowing manner makes his segments fun.
If you miss it on the 26th, it's also on the following dates (all times Central):
Sept. 28 (8:00 p.m.)
Sept. 30 (9:00 a.m., 4:20 a.m.)
Oct. 2 (10:15 p.m.)
Oct. 5 (8:00 a.m.)
Oct. 10 (4:00 p.m., 11:30 a.m.)
Oct. 13 (5:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m.)
Oct. 15 (8:00 a.m.)
WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR will also be screened several times on HBO2. Good job, fellas. Now how about one on the '67 White Sox?