The first book I finished for the year…wait…technically I finished this on New Year’s Eve. Minor details right?
The first book I tackled from my tower of recommendations was Ballgame! by Josh Lewin. Obviously I had to start with the Texas Rangers book.
Should I do a spoiler alert for this? I mean the book was published in 2012 and you can’t really spoil history can you? I guess if you’re still interested in reading the book, I wouldn’t want to spoil it too much. So take this as a mild alert, a little more than a summary of the book but definitely less than telling you 210 pages verbatim. Make of that alert what you will.
Now I didn’t really start following the Rangers until their first playoff run in 2010, which was unfortunately the same time Lewin’s career as a Ranger broadcaster came to an end. After reading the book, I’m super bummed I missed out on his broadcasts.
Most of the book is broken up by specific periods of time in the Ranger franchise, which helped me tremendously in understanding everything previous to when I started watching the Rangers.
Chapter one is a fast paced Rangers history lesson, starting with the Washington Senators the move to Arlington and on to a quick overview of the Rangers from 1961 to 2000.
Chapters two and three: all about Lewin and his road to becoming a sports broadcaster, the teams he covered before he got to the Rangers and how it all lead there. I really loved these chapters, being a journalism major I really like hearing and reading about how others decide that they want to be in the field because it’s clear that no one really comes about it on the same route.
Chapter four, Tom Hicks Spends Like a Kardashian. If that title doesn’t make you interested to read about the 2002-2003 Ranger years, I don’t know what will.
Chapter five, page 87 is my favorite from the chapter, talking about the A-Rod trade and the quotes are hilariously awkward because you know what’s coming. And the details about the day of the trade just shows that baseball has a great sense of humor, when it doesn’t have a cruel one.
Chapter six, a great one for every baseball fan, Lewin breaks down every ballpark and city, gives them a grade. It confirmed that I definitely want to go to Seattle, both to explore the city and watch a ballgame. It also confirmed that going to Oakland isn’t at the top of the list and that O.Co seems as awful in person as it does on TV. Sorry Oakland.
Chapter seven, the beginning of the Ron Washington Era.
Now Chapter eight. Chapter eight is my favorite chapter of the whole book. And it’s not about the Rangers. Lewin opens up about his troubles with ADD, anxiety, and depression. I admire this tremendously as someone who also wants to cover the Rangers as a career and as someone who deals with anxiety. It’s incredibly comforting knowing someone else gets what you’re going through. The wisdom in this chapter was encouraging and comforting and if I know I wouldn’t cringe after doing so, I would rip out page 151 and hang it above my desk so I could look at it daily. Thank God copy machines exist.
Chapter ten: is about broadcast and the preparation and behind the scenes of game prep. Honestly, I’m a total nerd when it comes to any kind of behind the scenes, that’s my favorite thing to watch when I buy a DVD of a movie or TV show, always has been. SO I kind of nerded out on this chapter.
Chapter nine and eleven: all about the 2010 and 2011 seasons respectively. Reading these chapters bring back all the anticipation of watching those games. Especially the 2011 season. And man oh man, if you thought reading about 2011 game six would be easier than watching, it’s not. It’s still a punch straight to the gut. But Lewin does end with some nice baseball words of wisdom, the Rangers time will come.
This book makes me wish I got in on the Rangers so much sooner so I could’ve had the pleasure of listening to Lewin call a game because if his writing says anything, I would’ve loved his wit and humor calling games for my favorite team.
Highly recommend this to everyone. Even the casual fan.
Already starting my next book, the goal is to read at least a book a week until classes start on the 17th.
In the on deck circle: The Teammates by David Halberstam