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Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A day at the ball park prompts a meditation on family ties in this loose-limbed, beguiling memoir. Sports journalist Leitch (God Save the Fan) recounts a 2008 game at Wrigley Field at which he and his father watched their beloved St. Louis Cardinals lose to the Chicago Cubs, who were on the brink of clinching the divisional title. His sprightly color commentary covers the bases with adroitly analyzed play-by-play, awed encomiums to Cards slugger Albert Pujols (an alien using superior technology to mock us feeble humans), and rabid incitements against the hated Cubs. As in any ball game, there's plenty of downtime for arcane statistics, ruminations on drug scandals—who cares, Leitch asks, as long as steroids mean more homers?—and commercial interruptions (I'm a subscriber to the MLB At Bat application, which allows you access to... real-time score updates with full box scores and stats). Most of all, Leitch delivers an homage to his dad, a laconic stalwart brimming with manly truths—some imparted while driving a pickup with an open container—that sports bring to the surface. The result is a jaunty, heartfelt, Father's Day–ready celebration of baseball as the ultimate bonding rite. Photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Will Leitch is a writer based in New York City and the founding editor of the Gawker Media sports blog Deadspin. Leitch is a contributing editor at New York, a contributor to The New York Times, GQ, Fast Company and Slate, and has published three books, Catch, a novel; Life as a Loser, a memoir; and God Save the Fan, a book of sports essays.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Chippendale on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Like Daniel Okrent's classic "Nine Innings," this new book by Will Leitch (founder of Deadspin, now a NY Mag editor) presents the anatomy of a single game. Unlike Okrent, however, Leitch casts his book as a letter to his future son and thereby turns his inning-by-inning retelling of a Cards vs. Cubs game into a springboard for addressing broader life issues. In fact, the game at Wrigley is really a novelistic MacGuffin, i.e., the thing that drives the plot but the audience couldn't care less about. Yes, any Cards game is important to superfan Leitch, but of greater interest to him -- and to the reader -- is the opportunity that it provides the transplanted New Yorker to reflect on his life in the Midwest, his career, and, most importantly, his dad. By the end, you admire the relationship shared by the Leitch men as well as their capacity to consume a remarkable amount of beer. (Ms. Leitch gets less ink but the book includes heartfelt observations on the evils of breast cancer.) Some parts of the book are very funny and others are surprisingly perceptive. In particular, the chapter on Steve Bartman is wonderfully written and marked by a sensitivity not associated with Leitch's work on Deadspin or even in his previous "God Save the Fan." Bottom line: This highly enjoyable book signals that Bill Simmons has a serious contender for the title of best sportswriter of our times.
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Format: Hardcover
Will Leitch, a founder of the Deadspin sports blog, tells the tale of going to a baseball game with his father and in the process takes the reader on a few tangential reflections on sports fandom in general, his similarities and difference to his pop, and the general greatness of the game of baseball.

Like Deadspin, the tone here unapologetically switches from irreverent to vulgar, arcane to insightful, macro to micro analyses and ruminations. But in a good way! The good thing about the writing on sites like Deadspin is that it seems more like the way people really think and feel, and less like a detached, authoritarian sermon.

The author absolutely adores his dad -- pop is presented as an old-fashioned, hard-drinking, loyal, friendly, hardworking, wise, down-to-earth, "everybody's buddy" type of guy. Leitch recognizes that his own generation (GenX/slackers) will never match the previous generation's outlook or acheivements, for better AND for worse.

The Cardinals are another source of abject adoration for Leitch and his father, and their jersey-wearing, score-book carrying obsession with the team is kind of cute and kind of insufferable. Look, every "baseball town" out there feels they are the best fans, with the most storied history, the most history, of any team. Listening to Leitch fawn over his Cards is like listening to some adoring parent gush about their precious kid: we get it. All kids (and teams, and fanbases) are special. But the glowing praise of his team (and his father) doesn't make Leitch's book unlikable; it makes it more human and sincere. He is not tamping his excitement for his subjects.

If you are already a fan of Deadspin, reading this is a no-brainer. Leitch's style IS Deadspin's style, after all.
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Format: Hardcover
Over the course of my life, I have read few sports books that truly capture the essence of being a baseball fan. Bill Simmons and Stephen King both crafted masterful books based on the 2004 Red Sox, but other than that the pickings get slim. Fortunately, Mr. Leitch just "gets" what it's like to have a passion for a baseball team.

"Are We Winning?" is a sentimental tale written from a father to and newborn son, explaining to him (in case the verbal opportunity never arises) why the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball in general are so important to them. While the book seems to start off as a simple tale about Leitch going to a ballgame with his father and best friend, it eventually turns into a genuine commentary on familial relationships and how sports plays a role in them.

Like I said in the opener, this book is both poignant and entertaining because author Leitch is able to perfectly articulate the emotions needed to make the whole undertaking work. All baseball fans have these types of stories and experiences, but it takes a skilled wordsmith to put them in a format that others will be interested in. Leitch does this superbly.

All in all, I read this book in a matter of days, as I just couldn't put it down once I realized I was reading an emotional (yet humorous) tribute to baseball's place in our lives. I would undoubtedly pick up another Leitch contribution in the future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's something special about going to see your favorite team play ball; especially when your dad's accompanying you to the game. If you're a St Louis Cardinals fan attending a game between the Redbirds and the arch-rival Chicago Cubs, at Wrigley Field, and dad's along for the ride; well, it doesn't get any better than this.

Such is the case for the author of this book, Will Leitch. His commentary on the quirky rivalry between the Cardinals and Cubs, and the equally quirky perspective of his dad, is a joy to read. Leitch's narrative is at times hysterical; at times poignant; but always entertaining.

Capturing the essence of what baseball represents for fathers and sons everywhere; especially those engaged in that friendly rivalry between Cards and Cubs fans; this book is most definitely "a winner". I loved it.
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