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God Save the Fan: 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) Hardcover – January 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“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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Top Customer Reviews
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?
Leitch is a little too much of a believer in the fan revolution and not a realist. I see no uprising from fans.
But hey, at least Leitch is trying, and having fun while doing it.
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. If the blogosphere has deposed the mainstream sports press by then, Leitch's book will seem as visionary then as Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game seems today. However, if the blog phenomenon has been neatly folded into the mainstream media, and Leitch winds up hosting an ESPN-style panel show, we'll know that "God Save the Fan" was meant to serve just one purpose: to get Leitch out of the blogoging world, and into the mainstream press he seems to so vehemently despise today.
STEPHEN A. SMITH
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