Cubs hoping to produce Oscar-worthy season
John Scheinfeld doing documentary on 2008 campaign
My Dad signed with the Chicago Cubs-after he was passed over by the Boston Red Sux right out of college. He played Pro-baseball for 17 years and then retired from baseball and worked at a "boring job" in the business world. That didn't last long so back to baseball it was, this time as a coach. He was a pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox during the late 80's and 90's and then back to the Cubbies as a Pitching coach when I was in college. I used to ask him to leave me extra tickets at the park which my friends and I would scalp for beer money. Not a good idea considering our seats were behind home plate with all the player's wives. I learned my lesson after I sold some tix to a rowdy bunch of Cardinal fans that almost got kicked out because of their heckling and foul language. I sat slumped in my seat, covering my face with my Cub's hat in hopes they wouldn't point to me when asked how they got their seats. From that point on, I only scalped to fellow Cub fans.
My Dad played and coached a lot of teams over the years but the Chicago Cubs always held a very special place in his heart. I wish he were alive today to see this documentary or even be a part of it. My girlfriend has a friend who is involved in the making of this and I've offered my assistance in any way I can. This is history in the making. And John Scheinfeld, the creator of this documentary is from my hometown of Highland Park, IL. Small world. But then again, you don't have to look very far to find a Cub fan out there.
Chicago Cubs Documentary
By Paul Sullivan | Tribune reporter
MESA, Ariz. - The 2008 season hasn't even started, but Oscar fever is spreading through Cubs camp.
"It wouldn't surprise me," left-hander Ted Lilly said. "It has been a long time coming. I've gotten looked past a few times, but there are only so many times they can pass you by before they realize they made a mistake."
A documentary on the '08 Cubs with the working title "We Believe" has begun production, and the Oscar buzz is unmistakable. According to Mark DeRosa, all the Cubs need is to write a happy ending, like, say, end the 100-year drought.
"If we win the World Series this year, it'll probably win an Oscar," DeRosa said. "I'll get to walk the red carpet. We're going to Sundance!"
The Cubs may or may not get to Hollywood, but Hollywood definitely has discovered the Cubs. Producer/director John Scheinfeld, whose most recent documentary was "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," approached Cubs management last year to gauge interest in a project about the franchise and its relationship to Chicago.
It didn't take long before he got the green light from club Chairman Crane Kenney.
"You see movie people coming to Wrigley Field to throw out the first pitch, and they get a huge kick out of being around us," DeRosa said. "[It's] something you can look back on in years to come and show your kids how special it was to be part of the Chicago Cubs."
Scheinfeld, who grew up in Highland Park and attended Northwestern, said he had wanted to do something on his hometown team for years.
"I'd just done a documentary on John Lennon, I've done one on God and heaven ('In the Name of Heaven'), and it was like, 'Now what do I do?' " Scheinfeld said Tuesday at HoHoKam Park. "[It's] about the love affair between a great city and its team.
"We'll have a little bit of the history of the Cubs, and of Chicago, but mostly it's: 'How does this thing come together, and what is this tapestry all about?' "
The usual suspects will be mentioned in the documentary — the black cat, the Billy Goat curse and, of course, the Bartman episode.
But Scheinfeld insists the film will go beyond the basics and delve deeply into the psyches of the city and its famously inept franchise. The documentary will not be made "observational" style, so you won't get to see players or manager Lou Piniella filing into the clubhouse after a heartbreaking loss. It's not going to be "Hoop Dreams" or one of those HBO documentaries on Floyd Mayweather Jr. or the Dallas Cowboys training camp.
"For the players, you can't have that [fly-on-the-wall] filming," shortstop Ryan Theriot said. "There would be some bad interviews after certain games."
The possibility of the film crew becoming a distraction is minute because it won't be around every day. Even if it was, Derrek Lee said it wouldn't bother anyone.
"When you're at the ballpark or on the field, it's not really that personal," Lee said. "What goes on in here or on the field is an open book. It's really nothing new."
Scheinfeld will interview Piniella and a core group of players at camp, at the All-Star break and at the end of the season. Interviews also will be done with fans and, naturally, Hollywood types who follow the Cubs.
Scheinfeld hopes to show the film at the Sundance Film Festival next winter. If all goes well, it is tentatively slated for release in the spring or summer of '09. The Cubs won't have final say over editing.
"I've done several projects with the Sinatras, one of the tougher estates around, and they were great to work with," Scheinfeld said. "And I've done Yoko Ono and John Lennon, never an easy thing.
"My approach generally is celebrating. … I'm not going to shy away from the bad things or the stuff in the past, but this isn't 'The 50 Worst Things To Happen to the Cubs.' This is really a celebration of the city and its team."
Of course, if the Cubs flop, it could turn from a documentary into a disaster flick.
"I think they're hoping we win the whole thing," Lee said. "Then they hit the jackpot."