Trivia, baseball, unrelated pop culture references, footnotes, and graphs: turns out these are some of my favorite things. I love the website, and can...moreTrivia, baseball, unrelated pop culture references, footnotes, and graphs: turns out these are some of my favorite things. I love the website, and can't wait to see what Robinson came up with for the book.
I'll start, right up front, by saying I had two problems with this book. The first being that quite a few of the infographics included in the book were originally posted to the website, meaning I've already seen them. Don't get me wrong - I liked them! Both times I saw them! But I've already seen most of them.
Want to know the Billboard 100 #1 song played the day Nolan Ryan threw his first and last major pitches? Done. The worst town in the US for baseball fans to live in (and why)? It's there. All of the information you could possibly require re: Ichiro and his awesomeness? Included.
If you know a baseball dork (or if you are one), this is well worth the flip through.
Now, you may be asking - Chelsea, didn't you say you had two problems with this book? Did you walk away in the middle of writing your review again and forget that you said that? Well, yes and no. I walked away, sure, but I don't plan on leaving a cliffhanger for you, no worries.
Let's be honest: I want to read this specifically because of The Big Show, and I read that specifically because of Sports Night.
So, in summary (I gues...moreLet's be honest: I want to read this specifically because of The Big Show, and I read that specifically because of Sports Night.
So, in summary (I guess?): winner, winner, chicken dinner. :)
I got bogged down in this one (unsurprisingly: have you seen the size of this thing?) and did not end up finishing it. If I remember correctly, the same thing happened with the authors' previous book in this format Live From New York, about SNL - I just couldn't finish it.
There were some good stories in here from the early years, as the channel was faced with a constant struggle to remain in business. But too many of the other stories were about behind-the-scenes politics, rather than sports and catchphrases, which is what I was looking for from this book.
It certainly didn't help that I don't know who any of these producers and executives are, making their contributions to the book pretty meaningless to me. Also, as with many fledgling companies, the turnover was quite high, and the book didn't give much in the way of introductions, leaving me confused as to who half of these people were.
ESPN junkies will love this one, as it seems like people were pretty open in their interviews. But I just couldn't get into it.(less)
I would dearly love to give this book two reviews, in large part because it is two different books poorly smashed together.
The first two parts (or, th...moreI would dearly love to give this book two reviews, in large part because it is two different books poorly smashed together.
The first two parts (or, the first 200 pages) are a historical look at the baseball - the object itself, rather than the sport that it shares a name with. Sure, you can't separate the two, but at the same time, the importance of the physical baseball can be easily overlooked. Going back to the days when baseballs were valuable enough that it was written into the league rules that the winning team got to keep the ball from the game, Hample shares all kinds of facts that, while not previously unknown, have not been put together as a book.
And that was all well and good - a fun read for a baseball dork/history geek like myself.
Then we reached part three.
In which Zack Hample decides to remind his readers why he managed to get a book published.
For those who don't know, Hample is semi-notorious in baseball circles for, as he puts it, "snagging more than 4,600 baseballs from 48 different major league stadiums". And, lucky reader, he's going to tell you his tricks, so that you, too, can shout at major league baseball players during batting practice in the hope that they will toss you a baseball.
That part gets a 1, for being stupid (catching a baseball at a game is neat, especially if it's a home run ball. making it your profession is a little skeevy) and for the self-satisfaction just wafting off the page.
Without part three, I probably would have given this one a four. Alas, Zack Hample managed to ruin Zack Hample's book.(less)
I liked this one, sure, but it didn't grab me the way Gladwell's other books have. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, because I was 3 days into a...moreI liked this one, sure, but it didn't grab me the way Gladwell's other books have. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, because I was 3 days into a feverish haze when I read it, but I mostly came away from the book having learned that if you want to be successful, your first step should be to make sure you're born as an middle-to-upper class white male.
To which I don't have much to say other than: no shit, Malcolm.
(Also! To be fair: you should then find something you are both passionate about and talented at, and you should work your ass off.)
Profanity aside, I really didn't have a strong feeling on this one. Interesting, but not fascinating.(less)