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October 18, 2004

For Boston, For Boston, Thy Glory Is Our Own

by Ron Hogan

Though a more sensible man might have gone to bed much earlier, I felt as if I should see Game 4 of the Sox/Yankees championship series through to David Ortiz's twelfth-inning homer, even though I know that the curse of the Bambino will kick in eventually. In fact, during the earlier innings, I was diverting half my attention to Dan Shaughnessy's fun little history of the black cloud that follows the Red Sox around. But earlier in the day, taking a break from my book reviewing duties, I grinned over a novel that casts a satiric look at two questions all us fans ask at one point or another: What would it take for the Sox to win? And how much would we accept in the name of victory?

David Ferrell's Screwball has its flaws; the dialogue doesn't always ring true, and some of the plot twists hit the extreme edge of implausibility. But these minor problems don't do that much to undercut Ferrell's basic appeal, which is a lot like that of early Christopher Buckley, and nothing can diminish the brilliance of the premise: The Sox have a serial killer in the lineup, but the front office is willing to overlook that problem until the World Series is over, and the stress is driving the manager nuts. The manager is actually what made the novel work for me--while a lot of the plot just makes stuff happen and brings the reader along for the ride, the manager's psychological burden, even played for laughs, maybe because it's played for laughs, thoroughly held my attention and made me care about what he would do next, rather than what would happen to him. Screwball is just out in paperback, and I'm sure it's selling great in Boston, but I'd recommend you baseball fans outside Beantown give it a try as well.


I still can't believe they won. I went to bed at the end of the 11th inning. I decided I couldn't stand to see them lose again. For some reason, I find Dan Shaughnessy irritating. I can't put my finger on what bothers me about him though. I am happy that at least we won one game in this series.

Posted by: bookdwarf at October 18, 2004 12:14 PM
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