In April 2008, Jackie and I wrote a baseball book titled “It Takes More Than Balls: A Savvy Girls Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Baseball.”
Q: Did you pick the title?
A: No. If you look through the book, there are several provocative, if you may, chapter titles. “It Takes More Than Balls” was one of them and the publisher decided that it’d make a good main title. We’re not bothered by it but we get a lot of groans and eye rolls. Our only choice is to rock it as much as we can…. but a title like that has labled us a couple of harlots to some reviewers. We’ve been dubbed the writers of the book with the “unfortunate title.” (I wonder how he would have liked the other proposed title, poached from our pitching chapter:” Is That a Can of Pine Tar in Your Pocket or are You Happy to See Me?”)
Seven words for you, reviewer-boy: Chill out and review the book, dude.
Q: Is this a book only for girls?
A: No. And for guys. And for baseball lovers of all levels of interest and knowledge. See next question.
Q: Is it a baseball book for dummies?
A: My co-author, Jackie Koney, is a SABR member and, with the help of a fleet of SABRized fact-checkers and helpers, the book is as thoroughly researched as many other baseball books out there. We thank people for their input because this wasn’t a competition. We’re proud of the quality and depth of our book. And we did it with a sense of humor.
Q: So, if it is so comprehensive, why say it is it a book for women?
A: Women can handle in-depth, sophisticated baseball concepts. They don’t have time for fluff.
Q: More pointedly, why a book for women?
A: Often women come to the game later in life than do men. The point of addressing this book to women is to bring them up to speed with the baseball’s engaging history and the relevancy of its statistics. Because most women weren’t paying close attention to baseball when they were girls — by either playing the sport, discussing the sport or even trading baseball cards — they missed out on the institutional knowledge.
Our book doesn’t mean to take the place of those years of knowledge. But it’s a good shot. Many discover baseball through being little league moms. Maybe they were trying to impress a new boyfriend. Or an old husband. And because they are older, many of them are well-educated. They don’t want a baseball book for “dummies.” They are also very busy. They want a smart, relevant, funny book.
Q: Can you offer an example of what constitutes “smart, relevant, funny?”
A: Sure. Here’s a link to our Interactive Table of Contents
Q: What topics does the book cover?
A: The book covers everything from baseball’s colorful history to why today’s baseball salaries are so outrageous (including a history of the reserve clause and Curt Flood). Those who have never played baseball will find out what specific talents make a player a second basemen instead of a catcher; or a leadoff hitter instead of the fourth in the lineup; a starting pitcher instead of a “closer.” What roles do managers fill?
This book is intended to entertain baseball enthusiasts and educate (and entertain) the “baseball curious.” Even most of the biggest baseball fans we know — yes, guys — have come away with a new tidbit.
Q: Why write this book?
A: We wrote it because we have read dozens of baseball books and found most of them dry and heavy. Many seemed to miss out on the fun and entertainment that is a big part of being a baseball fan. This book offers insight into the often controversial history of baseball as well as the contemporary issues that plague the game. It’s all done with an irreverent touch that still remains reverent to the game.
And that was the goal. Why offer women (or men) a book that doesn’t work on all levels?