Top positive review
More serious than you'd think
on December 20, 2013
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. That's no small accomplishment, even if alcohol was involved on all sides.
Don't worry. There's plenty of funny stuff here -- tales of drunken athletes and stupid owners and fans who send get-well messages to horses and columnists who write about their daughter's softball team and so on. Leitch has developed a nice network of sources, so all sorts of silly behavior gets exposed.
"God Save the Fan" probably could have used a little more editing -- there are some redundancies that pop up along the way, particularly in the glossy section. And I'm not sure what the story about TV reporter Carl Monday is doing at the end of the owners' section -- although it's a pretty funny tale.
I wouldn't say the book is for the very young or the very old, but those in-between will zip through this pretty quickly and have a lot of fun along the way. Just like "Deadspin."