I flat-out loved this book. Will Leitch grew up in Mattoon, which about 30 minutes south of Champaign. He’s a Cardinal fan (the fool), but is as devoted to his team as I am to the Cubs. He attended the University of Illinois, as did I, although in different decades (I’m older). And he and his dad bonded over baseball, just like I did with my dad.
I also liked the structure of the book, which unfolds by half-innings of the 2008 Cubs’ division-clinching win over the Cardinals. Each chapter opens with sights and sounds of the game in progress, then move into ruminations about fathers and sons, Albert Pujols, steroids, growing up in small town Central Illinois, and writing sports for the Daily Illini. It’s laugh-out-loud funny in spots and made me cry at least once. The only chapter I skimmed was Leitch’s journey through his collection of scorecards.
My boss lent me this book, but I plan to buy my own copy so I can reread it often, especially in the middle of winter when baseball season seems very far away.