On Monday, August 8, I'll be doing my only Chicago-area book-signing for the paperback edition of Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76 , in conjunction with a rare 35mm showing of one of the biggest film hits of 1976 (not to mention the greatest baseball film ever made): The Bad News Bears.
This joyous event will take place at Chicago's legendary Music Box Theater, located at 3733 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago. I will be co-hosting the event with WGN radio's Nick Digilio, and copies of Stars and Strikes will be available for sale in the lobby via those fine folks at The Book Cellar, my favorite local indie bookstore. Tickets for the screening are $12, or $9 if you're already a member. The actual screening begins at 7 pm, and will be followed by a discussion of the film led by Nick and myself.
If you've already read Stars and Strikes, then you know how much this film means to me; the one-two punch of The Bad News Bears and the sudden emergence of spectacular Tigers rookie Mark "The Bird" Fidrych went a long way towards making ten-year-old Dan transfer his obsession with war comics and G.I. Joe dolls to all things baseball-related. If it wasn't for the Bears and the Bird, my life might have taken a much different path, and I almost certainly wouldn't have written Stars and Strikes or Big Hair and Plastic Grass many years down the road. So it's a huge honor to be able to present this wonderful film — whose slyly subversive script still holds up remarkably well 40 years later — on a big screen.
If you've never seen the film before, or it's been years since you've watched it, here — via a piece I wrote for Rolling Stone this spring — is a little reminder of why it remains the greatest baseball movie ever made.
There are no Cubs or White Sox games scheduled that night — so if you're in or near Chicago, I hope you'll come out and say hey. Buttermaker would have wanted it that way, man...