The first few times I encountered Will Leitch’s work, I was less than impressed. I’m old-school enough to not want to know that my favorite players (not that I have any at this point) are hanging out at bars, doing drugs, treating women badly, etc., which is what Deadspin — which he founded — seemed to be about, a TMZ of the sports world.
But I give him major props for his new book, Are We Winning? Fathers and Sons in the New Golden age of Baseball (Hyperion). Even here, I went in not wanting to like the book. I expected it to be a snarky overview of the state of the game in the 21st century, full of complaints and fingerpoint.
I am happy to admit I was drastically wrong.
Sure, Are We Winning deals with some of the problems faced by the national pastime, but more than that, it’s a charming, sentimental account of Leitch’s relationship with his own father, Bryan, as expressed during the course of a game between their beloved St. Louis Cardinals and their arch rivals, the Chicago Cubs.
The one-game-analysis conceit has been done several times, and frankly a bit better, but that’s the secondary storyline here. More important is the family dynamic, as Leitch — now a “legitimate” journalist for New York Magazine — opens up bout his hopes that he can follow his father’s example, and fears that he might not — with ots of baseball thrown in to keep it from being too gushy (which Bryan wouldn’t like).
I had the opportunity to chat at length with Leitch, so much so, in fact, that it was too long for my server. I had to do some serious Garage Band editing, which stretched the limits of my technological skills and in part explains the delay in posting. And as such, the three installments will be divided into separate podcasts. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you for you patronage.
You can read more of Leitch at his website.