FROM THE MAGAZINE SHELF is an occasional feature of the FOUNTAINDALE LIBRARY REFERENCE BLOG. Postings will highlight titles that you might find of interest, but haven’t picked up to read and explore. In addition to the titles that are in the Magazines Area on the 2nd Floor of our library, postings will also include titles from RBdigital Magazines, formerly Zinio, the library’s digital magazine collection.

“April is the cruelest month” begins the opening line of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. It could easily have referred to the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season here in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox played their home opener on April 5 at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Detroit Tigers amid swirling snowflakes. The Sox lost the game, in ten innings, 9 – 7.  For the Chicago Cubs, two inches of snow fell on Wrigley Field on April 9, postponing their home opening game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The game was rescheduled and played on Tuesday, April 10. The Cubs lost to the Pirates 8 – 5.

Chicago, the “City of the Big Shoulders,” as poet Carl Sandburg, referred to it, supports both of these Major League Baseball teams, the Cubs (National League) and the White Sox (American League). Both teams have their loyal fans. Both teams have an official magazine devoted to them.

My post today is about Vine Line, the Official Magazine of the Chicago Cubs. Our library began subscribing to this monthly publication in October 2016. You can find issues of this highly informative magazine to check out on the second floor of our library in the Magazines and Newspapers area. The April 2018 issue is shown on the right.

I grew up on the east coast. The closest Major League Baseball teams to the city where I lived were the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. I really didn’t have an allegiance to either of them, but the rest of my extended family leaned one way or the other toward one of these clubs.

Fast forward to the late 1970s and that all changed when I married into a Chicago Cubs family. My bride’s father was an avid fan of the team that called Wrigley Field its home and conversations with him always eventually brought up how his team was doing. Sadly, he died the year before the Cubs won the World Series in 2016.

If you’re a Cubs fan, you will undoubtedly enjoy this magazine. Each month, you’ll see an opening section in the magazine called “WARM UPS”. Here, you’ll start with the “GAME PLAN,” which is essentially the table of contents for the issue. This is followed by an article by Gary Cohen’, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. It’s an editorial piece, under the overall heading “Leading Off.”  The “Fan Mail” page completes the introductory part of the issue and includes the “QUESTION OF THE MONTH.”

GAMEDAY,” the next category of the issue includesMatchups,” which takes a capsule look at the teams that the Cubs will be playing during the month, focusing on both their pitching and hitting prowess.  Another regular feature article in GAMEDAY is “Short Stops.” These are single page articles on an individual player. The player in the April 2018 issue is pitcher Thomas Hatch. The January 2018 article talked about first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The GAMEDAY category concludes in the April 2018 issue with an interview with Andrew Belleson, the Cubs’ public address announcer at Wrigley Field. This interview segment is called “STRETCHING OUT WITH (…followed by the name of the person). In addition to the interview, there is information about Wrigley Field and the team’s 2018 Season Schedule in the final section of GAMEDAY.

The “EXTRA INNINGS” section follows and includes the feature “Inside Pitch,” a single page article about Cubs’ pitching staff or an individual pitcher, like Brandon Morrow, in the April 2018 issue.

The Major League Baseball teams all rely on up and coming talent from the from Minor Leagues. Each issue of Vine Line  will keep readers up-to-date up through the “MiLB Report” located in “THE FARM” section of the magazine.

GLORY DAYS” winds up each month with “Classic Cubs,” which remembers great players and managers of the team from earlier seasons and “Parting Shot,” a single photograph or group of pictures that gives you an insider’s view of the team members, events, and Wrigley Field.

In addition to all these regularly appearing features, readers will also have several longer, in-depth articles to enjoy. The April 2018 issue has excellent articles on pitcher Yu Darvish (“Ace in the Hole”) , on the Cubs new hitting coach, Chili Davis (“Purpose and Focus”), and on WGN-TV and the station’s relationship with the Cubs (“Chicago’s Very Own”).

The baseball season has just begun. So, grab a box of Cracker Jack, create your own 7th Inning Stretch, remember Harry Caray, and sit down and enjoy the coming issues of this home run of a magazine!

-Tom D.

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