March 22, 2005

Faithful

With Spring Training upon us, I thought I would look back at the past season through the eyes of a winner, rather than as a typical Rangers fan, so I read "Faithful" by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan, two Red Sox fans who just happened to be writing a diary-style book during the season that Red Sox finally broke the Curse of the Bambino. Basically, these two start in Spring Training, trading entries (and short emails) back and forth (King's stuff in boldface to separate the two) and go all the way through the World Series in this fashion.

My first impression is that it must be nice to be rich enough to afford to live such a life of leisure that you can pretty much go to any baseball game (and get incredible seats) whenever you get the urge, including jaunts down to Florida for Spring Training. Anyway, these guys talk like a couple of pretty knowledgeable baseball fans, and I felt like I was overhearing a conversation between Toby and John back in grad school regarding the Mariners. There were lots of funny insider joke lines that really only work if you follow baseball closely, and there were several things that were clearly for Red Sox nuts only, no one else would understand.

So while the stories were entertaining, the middle of the book, describing May through August really dragged for me. The #1 rule of fantasy baseball is, to steal a phrase, don't talk about fantasy baseball. That is to say, there is only one person in the whole world who is interested in your team, and that is you. No matter how dramatic things are, it is still a fantasy league and no one else has the slightest inkling of concern for what you are going through. I felt similar at times about the Red Sox stories. Sure, I care in some sense, but I'm sure this book would be enjoyed much more by a real fan of the team, not just a generic fan of baseball who follows another team (especially if you are in the National League).

The last part regarding the playoff run, the meaningful Yankees games, the championship series and the world series were very entertaining, and the book's strength is clearly the first few and last few chapters. Stephen King's excerpts were more fun to read than Nan's simply because he's more approachable. King's writings are more for the generic fan while Nan is speaking to the hard core Sox fan. It's a good book, if a bit long, and if you are a Red Sox fan, I would imagine this is a must read.

Posted by Observer at March 22, 2005 07:06 AM
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