O irony, thy name is book review!
I had the relative indifference of reading The Funniest Baseball Book Ever: The National Pastime's Greatest Quips, Quotations, Characters, Nicknames, and Pranks recently. A review copy was supplied to me and I can't help but think that landing this book in my lap is the Baseball Gods' way of letting me know that, as a respected member of the alternative press, I shouldn't spout off things so lightly, like referring to 2010 as the "best season ever" on local television.
O irony! O cruel twist of fate!
This book claims to be the funniest baseball book ever and instead it turns out that it's a perfectly decent non-picture coffee table book, suitable for leaving out before your guests arrive, having a chuckle or two over and then quickly trying to find something else to do with your friends.
I guess I should say, regardless of what you read on this blog and how funny you may or may not think I am on any given day, I'm a snob about comedy. If you're a "big Dane Cook" fan then we will never connect at a certain level. If you really like Carlos Mencia, then I'm not sure what you're even doing on this site. However, if you like Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chappelle, Zack Galifianakis, we can be friends. If you're not afraid to admit that you like Paula Poundstone and Ellen Degeneres, all the better.
Others may truly find this book the funniest baseball book ever and to those people, I salute you. You are enjoying life at a level that I will never understand.
However, if you have my sense of humor, then the best source of humor might be to let somebody else read the book who finds it funny and then laugh at them as you wonder what they're laughing about. If you're lucky, they will explain to you what they find funny and reveal a thing or two about your snobbish nature. I always find this funny. Watching people laugh at something that means nothing to me. I'm like an emotionless Star Trek Vulcan or Star Wars droid, always shaking my head over the human condition.
What it isn't: I have no objective metrics, but it isn't the funniest baseball book ever.
What it is: A collection of mostly humorous quotes and some essays about baseball's funny history. In this, it's perfectly respectable. If it had been called A Relatively Funny Book of Baseball Quotations and Other Trivialities, we might've been OK.
What I wish it was:
First off, I wish there were some photographs or some drawings or something. Baseball is a great game to leave to the imagination, but that doesn't mean that one's imagination couldn't use some help.
Second, I wish there was an index so that I could think to myself, I remember that. That was pretty funny. Lemme see if this here funnyman book has anything about that. Alas there isn't. There are lots of references to other pages within the pages like, Skip around! It's here somewhere!
Thirdly, I wish that there was more to it. I would've been perfectly willing to sacrifice some of the less funny quotes in favor of more context and essays, which are interspersed. Alas, it was not meant to be.
I give this book a recommendation if you're going to buy it as a gift to somebody.
**** NOTE ****
If, after that faintly indifferent review, you are still interested in the book, but not so much that you are willing to purchase it, I have a copy that I would like to give you. I am not willing to mail it to anybody though so you will have to come find me at the game today. I will be wearing an SD hoodie and an SD hat. I am wearing black glasses. I may have a child and a pregnant blonde lady with me.
Here's a hint, if you comment something funny to Gaslamp Ball here or on Twitter, then I will be more willing to shrug off people who manage to find me first in an effort to reward you with a copy of the book directly.