If you haven’t already read Faithful by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King, what are you waiting for? The fact that the Sox are World Series Champions should be settling in nicely, yet we are still two-and-a-half cold, dark, snowy months away from Opening Day. Go get this book and read it. What better way to fill in the no-baseball void than to relive the glorious 2004 season through the eyes of two of the most passionate (and articulate) fans out there? If that isn’t reason enough, here are a few more, in no particular order:
The Cover: Who says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover? This book is adorned with the single picture from the entire season that could capture the magic that was the 2004 Red Sox. Tek introducing A-Rod to his glove. Nice to meetcha. What better memorabilia to have on your coffee table or on your desk at work for the off-chance that a Yankee fan might see?
The Dedication: For all of the joy that beating the Yankees on the road to winning a World Series brought to Red Sox Nation, there was also tragedy and heartache in the aftermath. Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old Emerson College student, was killed in the “celebration” that ensued after Game 7 of the ALCS. Of all the people who never got the chance to experience a World Series Championship, her story is the most tragic. And of all the names that will be remembered when we think about the 2004 season, Victoria Snelgrove must be among them. O’Nan and King dedicate the book to her memory. That, my friends, is class.
The Nicknames: We all love nicknames, right? We already had Big Papi, Tito, Pokey, OC, D-Lowe, Papa Jack and so on. Thanks to O’Nan and King, we now have “Mystery Malaska”, “The Tradgickal Mr. Lowe”, “Curtis ‘The Mechanic’ Leskanic”, “Show Pony” (A-Rod, because of the way he runs), “Father Curt”, and many others. Good stuff.
The Memories: This is what it is really all about, isn’t it? Sure, everyone remembers the “Who’s your daddy” game, the fight, the bloody sock, and a few plays or hits or games along the way. But this is EVERY game. I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself, I remember that game, even though I hadn’t thought about it for months. No one will ever forget the journey that was the 2004 season, this book simply reminds us of each step along the way.
The Viewpoint: O’Nan and King are Red Sox fans. First and foremost. They both also happen to be outstanding writers. Not only do they capture the very essence of the team and the season, they do it as “one of us”. In the narrative, you smell the grass, you hear the crack of bat hitting the ball, you see the brilliant white uniforms against the emerald-green outfield at Fenway. In the dialogue, it could be any of you talking about last night’s game with a buddy. A great combination.
The Ending: The Red Sox beat the Yankees in seven games after being down three games to zero, then sweep the Cards in the World Series. It would have been the most cornball Hollywood ending of any book ever written. Except it really happened.