I bought a number of baseball books in memory of Jim with the money friends sent for the library. Emma Span's 90% of the Game is Half Mental And Other Tales form the Edge of Baseball Fandom was the first one to arrive.
Span took the title from one of those quotes purported to come from Yogi Berra. It was an appropriate title for the author, a fan of the New York Yankees. She admitted that "fandom, like religion, is largely an accident of birth, a matter of geography and parenting." It explains why she was a fan of the New York teams, why Jim was a Cleveland Indians fan, and later a Detroit Tigers fan since Jim Leyland, the manager of the Tigers, is my mother's cousin. It was "an accident of birth, a matter of geography and parenting."
Jim would have enjoyed Span's book as she told about acquiring her baseball habit and love of the Yankees from her father. Then, her baseball blog brought her a job covering sports for the Village Voice . Span enjoyed the behinds-the-scene look at her beloved Yankees, but felt uncomfortable with the men she had viewed as a fan, and found it hard to leave her fandom behind. When she finally lost the job, due to a change in management, she hoped to write a book about the 2007 baseball season, with the New York teams as background. Unfortunately, neither team did well enough for a book. Instead, she wrote this one, discussing her love of baseball, sports writing, even movies about baseball.
Baseball fans will appreciate a fresh perspective of the game. And, considering the importance of baseball in Jim's relationship with his father, and then our relationship, he would have appreciated her comment. "Sports matter, although they really shouldn't...No one who loves both a father and a sports team" will doubt that. Emma Span's baseball book tells about her love of baseball. She found it an easy and safe way to communicate with her father, and friends. So did we.
Emma Span's website is www.emmaspan.com
90% of the Game is Half Mental And Other Tales from the Edge of Baseball Fandom by Emma Span. Random House, ©2010. ISBN 9780345501752 (paperback), 192p.
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