Book Review: Are We Winning? by Will Leitch

You want to read the bleacher bum’s bible? This is it.

I loved this book for many reasons. It’s heart-warming. It’s about fathers and sons and the great American ballgame. It makes me feel like the way I live my life–usually with moods altering on how a certain box score reads. There’s mention of beer, sadness, and everything in between.

Will Leitch was one of my favorite guys to read when he wrote on Deadspin. Now his book Are We Winning? is going to go down as one of my all-time favorites.

When I picked it up at Barnes and Noble and started paging through the first chapter, I couldn’t put it down. The day I found it, I crushed about half of it and then went home and watched the Reds play the Cubs at Wrigley Field–the setting of the book’s main story.

It’s the perfect book for a warm summer day. Read a segment or two before the ballgame you’re getting ready to watch begins. You’ll feel more excited to watch it, win or lose.

Leitch speaks the truth about this game we love in so many different ways. He allows you to think deeper about the game. He makes you realize that the insignificant moments in which we let pass us by aren’t so insignificant because of the memories that we tie to guys like Kit Pellow (broke up a Tom Glavine no-hitter at Shea Stadium when Leitch was present).

Leitch makes me regretful in a sense, that I haven’t recorded every ballgame and the results along with the attendees that went with me so I can hang onto the memories forever. That’s part of the reason I created a blog like this. But Leitch has got it all, recorded in his score books. Leitch eloquently tells memories he has had following the game of baseball and ties them in very well with memories of his family, and namely his father. This is another aspect in which it’s easy to become envious of the author. He has lived a life full of not only neat baseball experiences, but a life that is rich in sharing a common bond with his dad.

Leitch and I have quite a bit in common as far as being fans go. He gives you a look into his life following baseball with mentions of figures of our fan past like Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, and many of the ‘legendary’ Cardinals of the 80’s. It’s safe to say one of the greatest nights of his life was the night the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, and he was there to witness it. He did it right.

The author loves Rick Ankiel the way that we here love Jay Bruce. He talks statistics, booze, tales from different stadiums around the United States, and experiences with different writers surrounding the game of baseball from bloggers to beat writers.

If you read this book, we promise it will enrich your fandom of the game of baseball. It will make you proud that you invest so much into following baseball and being a fan. It will make you realize that it’s okay to be the way that we are, or at least some of us. It might make you pick up the phone and call your dad just to say hello. Or that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s real writing by a real guy who doesn’t mind showing you who he really is. And the kind of guy he is happens to be fine by us.