Last summer, I purchased an eBook called "Feeding the Green Monster" by Rob Neyer. It was great because I was travelling a lot, and I could carry the book on my PocketPC without having to carry an actual book. Of course, as is my luck, my PocketPC has crashed, and I don't have a copy of the book file on my other computers. I want to talk about the book, but I'll be going from my memories of reading it last summer. (And by the way, I will always buy books with actual pages from now on).
I discovered Rob Neyer back in 2000 or 2001. In 2000, the Royals had a very promising year. They won 77 games, and had a fantastic offense that year, but struggled with their pitching. They had a healthy Jermaine Dye, a promising young Johnny Damon, "Dos Carlos" - 1999 AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles, the promising second baseman. I was regaining my interest in the Royals and stumbled upon the Rob & Rany page. If you're not familiar with them, Rob Neyer is a baseball columnist for ESPN.com and Rany Jazayerli is a doctor who also writes for Baseball Prospectus. It just so happens that both of these fellows are fans of the Kansas City Royals. So, every so often, they get together to banter about the Royals, and they post their discussions at Rob's site. (I was very disappointed in October of 2001 when Rob quit writing about the Royals. He was fed up with the team after GM Allard Baird announced that Tony Muser would return as manager in 2002. Of course, Baird finally wised up in May of 2002, fired Muser, hired Pena, and the team started to turn around. Rob has since resumed writing about the Royals, to the delight of Royals fans everywhere.)
In addition to his ESPN columns, Neyer also occassionally authors baseball books. Most are statistical analyses, but "Feeding the Green Monster" is different. In the summer of 2000, Neyer, who lives in the Northwest, moved into an apartment 4 blocks from fabled Fenway Park, and went to every Red Sox game in Fenway that season. He wrote about his experiences in the book.
There's an interesting twist to this book. When he presented the final manuscript to his publisher, they hated it and refused to publish it. Neyer was finally able to get it published by iPublish.com, and the book is available in paperback at Amazon.com.
I enjoyed the book very much. It reads like a journal that describes many of Neyer's experiences that summer. Periodically, he will discuss the details of a game he watched, questioning Jimy Williams' moves, or describing a great play.
Since Neyer was writing about his experiences nearly every day, it is natural that many aspects of his personal life came through as well. I've read reviews that criticized the book for going into too much detail about Neyer's personal affairs, including his girlfriend (since it's been a while since I read it, I can't remember if he found a new girlfriend, lost his old girlfriend, or maybe a little of both). While I didn't enjoy the girl talk quite as much, I didn't mind it because I was learning a little more about Neyer's personality in those passages. Throughout the book, I found myself realizing that Neyer and I are very much alike. We both hate conflict, we are generally quiet, etc. I really began to relate to Neyer and his experiences.
There were several good stories in the book about how Neyer had to deal with scalpers to get tickets. He started the season with no tickets, so every day he had to find a way to get tickets and get into Fenway. Also included is a funny story of arriving at Fenway only to realize he had forgotten his tickets. He described Fenway in great detail, which he could since he sat in just about every section of the stadium. He told the story of how he and a friend stayed in the ballpark after a game, and spent the night there touching the Green Monster, going into the scoreboard, and fighting off the rats. He also spent some time travelling to New York and told stories of Yankee Stadium (which even though is a storied venue, does not retain any of its charm).
Since Neyer is a Royals fan, he of course discusses his (and my) favorite team when they played the Red Sox. He also described a trip to KC to see a game at Kauffman Stadium.
Now, the reason I'm writing about this book is because I was reminded of it recently. In the book, Neyer tells the story of how he lost his scorebook when he left it on a commuter train. He describes how he scores almost every game he sees, and his favorite scorebook is the Bob Carpenter Scorebook. I decided last summer while reading this that I would try to get a BC Scorebook for this season, since I was growing tired of scoring games on those Budweiser ads they sell as scorecards at the stadium. Yesterday, my BC Scorebook arrived in the mail. It's a fairly small book (7" x 8 1/2"), and is well laid out with plenty of room for notes and substitutions. The book includes enough pages for 100 games and is spiral bound so it's easy to hold while at the stadium. Its arrival is another signal of the upcoming season. Since Spring Training is for fans too, I'll be taking my new scorebook to Arizona and testing it out so I'll be ready for opening day.
I'll be sure to mark it with my name and phone number so should I leave it on a commuter train, the nice person who picks it up will be able to return it to me, just as Neyer's was.