Hot Air

Hoosier Hope

[Warning to loyal Pencillistas: This first entry is about sports. Read it at your own risk.]

My beloved Chicago Cubs last night selected Indiana University catcher Kyle Schwarber as their first pick in the 2014 Major Leaguie baseball entry draft.

Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber (Bleacher Nation Image)

Hey, maybe this’ll get me to start caring about Hoosiers baseball which, I understand, has been pretty good the last couple of years. My back-office (Soma Coffee) colleague Pat Murphy broke the news about Schwarber to me last night, seeing as how he knows about my Cubs “problem.” So, just to make small talk, I mentioned that IU lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA regional tournament the other day. That set Murphy off on a seemingly endless soliloquy about everything IU baseball. He spoke of the rain on Monday night, the Hoosiers’ injury problems, something about the coach’s son, Stanford’s triumphant performance after the rain delay, the unfairness of teams from California being able to play baseball all year while Indiana is pretty much limited to a week and a half in late May/early June, the IU leadoff hitter’s 0-for-5 collar in the ultimate game, Stanford’s mighty batting order, and a whole host of other minutiae.

I smiled nicely at him and nodded my head at what seemed appropriate times. Pat went on to tell me he’d gone home mid-game after Bart Kaufman Field officials cleared the place due to a threatening storm eight miles to the west. Murphy had to change his rain-soaked duds, which seems to me prima facie evidence that he, too, has a “problem.” He returned in time for the game to resume and for Stanford to overcome a three-run Hoosier lead.

Back to Kyle Schwarber. Man, the kid looks like a catcher, all squat and pug-faced. He won’t be a catcher as a pro because he’s not good defensively. He’ll be an outfielder and the Cubs brain trust hopes he’ll hit in the pros with the same jaw-dropping power he’s shown in the collegiate game.

Cubs director of scouting Jason McLeod says, “We felt Kyle was the best hitter, hands down, in this year’s draft.”

Should Schwarber turn out to be a star for the Cubs in a few years, I’ll consider my move here the turning point in his personal history. Don’t ask me to defend that statement; just keep in mind I have a “problem.”

Book Fair

Speaking of Chi., the Printers Row Lit Fest runs tomorrow and Sunday on Dearborn Street between Congress Parkway and Polk Street. It’s the unofficial kick-off for the Windy City’s summer fair, fest, and carnival season. If June seems a little late to be starting outdoor activities, keep in mind that winter just ended six hours ago there.

Anyway, here are some of the notable authors appearing this weekend at the PRLF:

  • Chris Albani, The Secret History of Las Vegas
  • Hisham D. Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture
  • Tashe Alexander, the “Lady Emily” series and Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Jim Aylesworth, children’s author, Old Black Fly
  • Eric Banks, senior editor of Artforum
  • Lidia Mattichio Bastianich, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking
  • Elizabeth Berg, Open House
  • Ira Berkow, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter
  • Paul Buhle, graphic novelist, Studs Terkel’s Working and The Beats (with Harvey Pekar)
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell, Once Upon a River
  • Katie Crouch, Abroad, Girls in Trucks, and Men and Dogs
  • Stanley Crouch, MacArthur “Genius” Award-winner, writes about jazz and the Black experience
  • Monique Demery, Finding the Dragon Lady
  • Anton DiSclafani, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
  • Joseph Ellis, Founding Brothers
  • John Feinstein, On the Brink
  • Gene Ha, graphic novelist
  • Chuck Haddix, Bird

PRLF/Fitzpatrick

The Official PRLF Poster By Tony Fitzpatrick

  • Paula Haney, founder, Hoosier Mama Pie Company
  • Christina Henriquez, The World in Half
  • Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic
  • Greg Kot, co-host, public radio program Sound Opinions
  • Malcolm London, TED speaker and poet
  • Gillian McCain & Legs McNeil, co-authors, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
  • M.E. May, the Circle City Mystery series
  • Walter Mosley, the “Easy Rawlins” mystery series
  • Dana Norris, founder, Story Club storytelling shows
  • Jenny Offill, Last Things
  • Sara Paretsky, the “V.I. Warshawski” detective series
  • Brigid Pasulka, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True
  • James Patterson, the “Alex Cross” series
  • Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm and Nixonland
  • Chris Raschka, children’s book author
  • Kimberla Lawson Roby, The Prodigal Son
  • Amy Krause Rosenthal, Duck Rabbit
  • Amy Rowland, The Transcription
  • J. Courtney Sullivan, The Engagements
  • Marlo Thomas, actor and author, Free to Be… You and Me
  • Jacinda Townsend, Saint Monkey
  • Sam Weller, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury
  • Colson Whitehead, The Noble Hustle
  • Beatriz Williams, Overseas and A Hundred Summers
  • Gabrielle Zevin, YA author, Elsewhere

This is the 30 anniversary of the book fair. Lots o’books, loads o’food, tons o’music and sunshine, the Loop to the north, the lakefront and museums to the east; you can’t go wrong at the Printers Row Lit Fest. If you’re feeling ambitious, take the road trip up to Chi. this weekend and enjoy.

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