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God Save the Fan: How Steroid Hypocrites, Soul-Sucking Suits, and a Worldwide Leader Not Named Bush Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports Paperback – February 3, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his third book, Leitch, the founding editor of the sports blog Deadspin.com, offers a collection of passionate, original essays about the good (fantasy football; the saga of the once promising pitcher Rick Ankiel) and the bad (ESPN, which he compares to the Imperial Forces from Star Wars; sports reporters' misguided attempts to become patriotic after 9/11) of sports, and how fans can navigate through the mess to enjoy the games and themselves. If we all realized that, hey, we don't need to listen to these idiots on television screaming at us... they'd be out of a job, Leitch writes in the introduction. The book sometimes strays off course from its stated purpose—memories of Leitch's popular blog subjects (Barbaro, Ohio TV reporter Carl Monday) and a host of cheeky sports glossaries are unnecessary and only disrupt the book's fervor. However, Leitch (who has also written for Playboy and New York) nicely balances potent humor with sharp and sometimes vicious insight without lapsing into clichés. He manages to be an astute sports critic while maintaining his enthusiasm as a fan, making his book an entertaining and enlightening read for anyone who roots for the home team a little too hard. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“If you can’t find something to laugh at and be offended by on the same page of this book, you aren’t reading carefully enough.” (Washington Post Book World)

“R-rated, spectacularly irreverent, often mean and just as often piercingly insightful” (Newsday)

“A witty poke in the eye to the entire sports-industrial complex...A fanfare for the common fan and, if you’re stuck in the cheap seats, easier to read than a website.” (Sports Illustrated)

“Leitch balances potent humor with sharp and sometimes vicious insight without lapsing into clichés. He manages to be an astute sports critic while maintaining his enthusiasm as a fan, making his book an entertaining and enlightening read for anyone who roots for the home team a little too hard.” (Publishers Weekly)

“If the truth is to be found in humor - and it is - then let Will Leitch lead our people’s revolution. He’s everything that’s right and funny and true in American sports.” (Jeff MacGregor, Sports Illustrated special contributor and author of Sunday Money)

“The funniest sports book I have ever read. Yeah, as a member of the mainstream media I should probably despise Will Leitch. But God Saves the Fan is an uproarious, painful, pointed, skittish manifesto on all that’s warped in the world of Lucious Pusey.” (Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of The Bad Guys Won!)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061351792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061351792
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,937,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy R. Sullivan on April 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Will Leitch's book is a nice blend of laugh-out-loud satire, spoofs, and funny truth in the ridiculous, over-priced, ego-maniacal world of sports. The editor of the popular "Deadspin" blog is more than just funny, he's insightful.

I really don't read "Deadspin" very often, but the cover and title of this book -- not the blog -- was what drew me to it. I'm a huge sports fan, but I'm so tired of the overflow of cash and ego that if pro sports ended tomorrow, I wouldn't care. Sadly, Division I college sports now just mirrors professional sports, they're just less honest about the money. I'd wished Leitch would've addressed the greed of college sports, but what the heck, he lives in New York City, the worst college sports city in America. He's a pro guy ... though his take on interviewing a former University of Michigan basketball player was a complete riot.

Fans can be pretty dumb, too, as Leitch points out in his take on Barbaro. The article and hilarious drawing of the horse was very funny.

Some of Leitch's takes don't work -- does Scott Van Pelt's rejection of a date really need to be posted, is that news? Leitch found Van Pelt's phone message "humanizing." I found it boring. But Leitch is more often on target than not. And yeah, Chris Berman's "YWML" episode isn't news either, but if anyone needed to be a victim of "gotcha" journalism, it's Berman, who has become a caricature of himself. Yes, ESPN needed to be taken down a few notches and Leitch is just the guy to do it.

A quick and funny read, I hope Leitch has another book on the way. Will there be a fan revolution? Nah, fans are too emotional and gullible. If the NY Giants said tomorrow that end zone seats were $5,000 apiece, they'd get sold. Will ESPN's egos shrink? Are you kidding me?
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Format: Paperback
The best part of "God Save the Fan" may be its introduction, in which the author explains how the mainstream media's suppression of the Michael Vick "Ron Mexico" story helped inspire the creation of Deadspin. Of course I can't tell if the essay was funny because of Leitch's writing, or because I still can't read about Ron Mexico without falling over laughing.

Deadspin as a sports blog works best in quick hits. They're equal parts gossip and investigative journalism; they're outsiders who often scoop the mainstream press. Leitch's book is basically a collection of themed essays describing everything that's wrong with sports today: the players, the owners, the media, and the fans. Most of the individual chapters are worthwhile. However, the media section is largely a series of decreasingly funny put-downs of ESPN's on-air talent; many other essays are self-serving attempts to explain why the entire sports experience would be better if the blogosphere were in charge. Read all at once, "Fan" just seems bitter and frivolous.

"God Save the Fan" does have a ton of hilarious moments, as well as some genuine insight. The annotated reprint of an interview with John Rocker may well be the highlight of the book, and Leitch's musings on fantasy football will probably be a classic someday.

Unfortunately, when read all at once, Leitch's humor tends to grate, and it eventually becomes hard to figure out whether his put-downs are intended to be lightly mocking, or just plain mean-spirited. The odd essay about Leitch's appearance on Bob Costas's HBO program (exclusive to the paperback edition) is particuarly confusing.

Best thing to do is set aside "God Save the Fan" for another five years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We start with the sports Web site, "Deadspin."

It's a little difficult to describe, but worth a try. It's a collection of items from the sports world, some from other sources, some original.

Taking a typical day in the life, items were posted at the time of this book's publication on the NCAA basketball tournament, Ichiro's hitting problems, Bob Knight's TV debut, and an error on George Mason's conference championship T-shirts that puts the team on the road to New Orleans ... although the Final Four is in San Antonio. Oops.

In other words, there's a lot of material that's not exactly in the daily newspaper. But it's still of interest to many sports fans.

Will Leitch was the first creative mind behind Deadspin. You has managed to make a living out of this, no doubt surprising him a bit. It's an obvious jump from Web site to book, and Leitch pulled it off. He's written "God Save the Fan."

This is subtitled (I hope the Internet is big enough for this), "How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports (and How We Can Get It Back)." Wow. I've read shorter books than that.

While this is billed as a fan's manifesto of some sort, it's basically Leitch sitting down and writing about various topics in sports. He's good enough to make it work, too.

The surprising part, perhaps, is that Leitch is surprisingly thoughtful in portions of this book. Ever think about the nature of rooting for a team after it moves? The purity of fantasy sports? Athletes who talk about religion after victories? Leitch has. He even sat down and has a relatively serious conversation with John Rocker.
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