Book Review: "Why We Love Baseball" By Joe Posnanski
Hello, and welcome to my review of Why We Love Baseball: A History In 50 Moments by Joe Posnanski. First, a huge shoutout to Adam Lazarus for making the connection and an even bigger thank-you to Joe for gracing our podcast. The episode will drop tomorrow on all platforms, so don't miss it!
Embarrassingly, this was my inaugural foray into Posnanski's literary world, despite being familiar with his television appearances and articles. When I informed my father about our upcoming interview with Joe, he almost hit the floor. In that instant, my failure as a little leaguer no longer mattered. I had finally bested my collegiate baseball player brother in my father’s eyes. Sorry, brother; Joe Posnanski beats game-winning runs in the championship game.
You need to get your hands on this book ASAP. Why? Because an Elon Musk biography is lurking around the corner, threatening to displace it on the New York Times best-seller list. If you consider yourself a baseball aficionado, you might think you can predict Posnanski’s Top 50 moments. Trust me, you can't. And even if you could, Joe enriches each moment with unknown stories or fresh perspectives that will leave you enthralled.
When I saw chapter 7, “Roberts Steals Second,” I said, “I have watched that play and read almost everything there is on it. Let me skip to the next moment.” Fast forward to the interview, and I was waiting to ask Joe why he didn’t have anything on David Ortiz’s speech after the Boston Marathon bombing. Thankfully, I waited till post-interview to ask it.
It turns out the chapter I skipped was written by freaking Mose from The Office and ended up being more about the Ortiz speech than Dave Roberts. The sense of embarrassment filled me, but I kept calm and laughed while dying inside. So, to my point, don’t jump over anything because you never know what is going to be in each of Joe’s “moments.”
This book really is like taking a history crash course in baseball and you constantly are saying to yourself, “damn, this is why I love baseball."
Now, when you listen to the podcast, you will notice we tried to avoid spoilers, especially when it came to his top five. I am going to do the same here, even though it’s difficult because it brings up such a fun debate. However, I will say that I agree with almost all of Joe’s top ten. He said this was where he sat and put a lot of thought into what order to put them in. He also said that at least five of the top ten moments were at #1 at different stages. For me, I had one top ten moment that I didn’t fully understand its placement. He acknowledged that many people were surprised by its inclusion and that it was his favorite chapter to write. When reading it, you have a larger appreciation for the moment, so you are the judge.
That is another great aspect of the book. Even if you didn’t think the moment belonged in the top 50, after reading Joe’s telling of the story, your appreciation and view of that moment will be altered. When I asked him if he had any moments he regretted putting in, he said, “At this point, I don’t have any moment that, if I were doing the book again, I would add.”
So, here’s my moment at the pulpit to give the one moment I wished was featured more in the book: Ortiz’s grand slam in game two of the 2013 ALCS. It was also on my list of misses before I went back and realized it was referenced in the book by Schur. I won’t bore anyone with my poor writing; all I will say is go on YouTube and watch the clip. There was no bat flip, dancing around the bases, or showboating. It was just a legend with another clutch hit in the most significant moment for a city that was still healing. I get goosebumps when I go back and watch all the biggest Red Sox playoff moments from the last twenty years. That Ortiz homerun? I get tears.
Speaking of YouTube, you may want to get YouTube Premium (not an ad) before reading this book. You are going to want to stop after each chapter and go watch the moment Joe wrote about. Here is my suggestion, though. Get a notepad and write down all the moments you want to watch. Once you finish the book, go and watch them all. Don’t stop reading to stare at a phone screen.
In closing, this is a must-read for any baseball fan. Once you read the book, make sure to reach out to us on Twitter. I want to hear what moments you loved and what moments you wish were in there.
I already ordered The Baseball 100 to catch up on Joe’s great baseball knowledge. I also ordered his Harry Houdini book because how could I not?