Jealousy reared its ugly head once again when I saw the full-page review of Josh Ostergaard‘s The Devil’s Snake Curve in The New York Times‘ Sunday book supplement in June. It brought back memories of Chad Harbach’s 2011 debut novel, The Art of Fielding, which garnered him tremendous kudos, not to mention a huge advance. (The latter point is particularly difficult in light of the harsh reality that I received no royalties for 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die for the past year. Zippo. Nada. That’s not to say that the book didn’t sell any copies; it did, just not enough for the contract to kick in, a phenomenon I am told is not unusual. Obviously I am no expert in the publishing field, but a more cynical person might think more copies were printed than could be sold because it might be cheaper to do so and have leftovers — thus having leftover stock and not pay royalties — than print a reasonable number and pay.)
I initially looked at Devil’s Snake Curve (as opposed to former ML pitcher Dave Baldwin’s 2008 memoir Snake Jazz) along the lines of TAOF: meant for highbrow tastes and not necessarily a book “about” baseball. But unlike TAOF, which I thought was tremendously over-reviewed, I found myself enjoying Ostergaard’s work. So much so that I want to ask him about his process and, in particular, theories on memory, since the books is, in essence, a memoir as well.