Last week, Surviving Grady had the pleasure of speaking with best-selling author Stewart O’Nan on his most recent work, Faithful, written with Stephen King. The book is a diary of the 2004 season from the viewpoints of King and O’Nan. If you haven’t read it yet, go out and buy it immediately. You will not be able to put it down. It is full of great memories of the season, particularly some of the more subtle plays and stories that may have been overlooked by the media. The dialogue captured in e-mails and conversations between King and O’Nan is intelligent and passionate: clearly the talk of two fans as committed to the Red Sox as anyone who reads this site regularly.
Surviving Grady: Stewart, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. The book is dedicated to Victoria Snelgrove. Was that pretty much a mutual decision between you and Stephen as soon as news of that tragedy broke?
Stewart O’Nan: Yes. It was actually Steve’s idea. He is used to his books having a long shelf life and it was a way to keep her name alive.
SG: Was there any contact with the Snelgrove family before or after deciding to dedicate the book to her?
SO: No, it seemed a fitting gesture of respect and remembrance.
SG: Do you or Stephen actively peruse any of the numerous Red Sox fan blogs that are out there?
SO: Occasionally, just for fun. We don’t use them as sources for research.
SG: During the season, how many games did you and/or Stephen actually attend versus catch on TV?
SO: I went to about 60 games. That’s a lot for me; I usually get to about 30 or 35. I also went to a couple games at Yankee Stadium and one at Shea. Plus I probably saw 25 Rock Cat games. I was over there a lot.
SG: A lot of people have been writing that now the Sox fans have finally tasted a championship, they’ll never look at the game quite the same… that somehow our misery was an important part of our identity as Red Sox fans. What’s your take on this?
SO: No, I think it’s a crock. We want to win. We always have. Even more since ’67. If we had won it all then, maybe it would be different. I heard or read a stat somewhere that the Sox have had winning teams 31 of the last 37 seasons (I checked – 31 winning seasons, 6 losing seasons and 1 .500 season). That’s a lot of winning compared to Pittsburgh, where I grew up (only 17 winning seasons in that span). The Red Sox have a lot of stars on their team every year. I think we take that for granted a lot.
SG: You guys put the infamous A-Rod/V-Tek punch on the cover. Do you see that as the defining moment of the 2004 Red Sox season?
SO: It was a great moment in Red Sox history. It said “we’re not taking any shit, especially yours”. It was a hell of a thing to do. It was a hell of a year.
SG: The book is currently #7 on both Amazon and B&N and #9 on the NY Times bestseller list. Is this what you expected when you began the project?
SO: Stephen has never written a book that wasn’t a bestseller. And they won it all.
Yes, they won it all. I’ll never get sick of hearing that. More of the interview with Stewart O’Nan tomorrow…