Friday, January 22, 2010

The Baseball Uncyclopedia

The Baseball Uncyclopedia is the most disgusting, hateful, and bitter piece of writing since Ball Four. Its authors, Michael Kun and Howard Bloom, are not merely social lepers. No, they are also emotional lepers, political lepers, mechanical lepers, agricultural lepers, romantic lepers, fashion lepers, musical lepers, technical lepers, recreational lepers, and circus lepers. It doesn't stop with lepers. These guys are pariahs of the worst kind. I'll just let your imagination run wild there.*

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I received several books for my birthday. I finished up one of them and thought that I should review it here.

I have recently read Robert Carroll's Baseball Between the Lies. The Baseball Uncyclopedia goes way beyond that. Funny and snarky. The authors have a thing for tweaking Barry Bonds. And throwing sacred cows on the grill.

Entries include:
  • Bases, Number of: You Should Not Try to Learn About Baseball by Watching a Television Sitcom
  • Etiquette, Baseball: You Do Not Embarrass Another Baseball Fan in Front of His Date
  • Fish, Raw: Sushi Does Not Belong at a Ballpark
  • Jackson, Shoeless Joe: Joe Jackson is Not in the Hall of Fame Because Kevin Costner Made The Postman
The authors each write their own entries, but sometimes they create entries just as a rebuttal to a topic. See "Ryan, Nolan: Nolan Ryan Was Not a Great Pitcher" and the entries that follow. For a while, I would play a game with myself: Who Wrote This Entry? Sometimes I'd win, sometimes I'd lose. For a while I found that I really enjoyed one of them, for their style and insight, but a few pages later I'd go all fickle and change my allegiance to the other one.

The writers reference common and uncommon parts of culture. Taking a look back through the book I find that they mention Life cereal, the boardgame Clue, airport security, Slip 'N Slide, Bea Arthur, The Partridge Family's Greatest Hits, pajamas, The Love Boat, and Middlemarch. Yes, they are all relevant.

The Baseball Unencyclopedia is a book that can be read in short breaks or at one sitting. I'd suggest the short breaks. If you choose to read it, enjoy and savor it. Don't rush it and try not to jump ahead. And do read the appendices. You'll probably learn something.

* on page 108 the authors encouraged this start for a review:
Since calling writers "social lepers" apparently leads to hundreds of thousands of books sold, we would like to assist anyone who might review this book by suggesting that they begin the review with the following language: "The Baseball Uncyclopedia is the most disgusting, hateful... agricultural lepers, etc., etc., etc. Knock yourself out."
So I indulged them. What can it hurt? My review is probably their biggest thrill all week.

1 comment:

  1. Funny! I thought you were sick of these guys, and then your leper list kept growing.