Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die


By
Courtesy of IPG Book
Many people today have their very own bucket list; things they want to accomplish before they bid adieu to planet earth. But have you ever thought about what your bucket list would be?

If you're a Blue Jays fan, undoubtedly one thing you want to cross off your list is to see the Blue Jays win another World Series. My own greatest fear is that I'll have to tell my future grandchildren about the distant memories of 92-93, rather than experiencing the glory of a Blue Jays World Series themselves.

It poses a great question, though; have you ever wondered what would be on your Blue Jays bucket list? If you haven't ... fear not, because someone has done the legwork for you in "100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die".

Author Steve Clarke (who's on Twitter, @SteveClarkeMLB) has assembled 100 pieces from Blue Jays history, places to visit, and things every Blue Jays fan should do before they kick the bucket.

What I really enjoyed about this book (and the "100 Things" series in general) is it allows you to read the book in bite-sized pieces. You can read the book cover-to-cover like you would a regular book, or you can just fast forward to specific chapters and read a few items here or there.

I did exactly that when I flipped to Chapter 44: "Visit the Tao of Stieb and Drunk Jays Fans". It was very cool to see the Blue Jays blogosphere brethren in print, as well as many other Jays blogs and writers included as sites every fan should check out.

As you can probably tell by "Flashback Fridays" here at BJH, delving into the Blue Jays vault is in my wheelhouse of interest. 100 Things has plenty of interesting items from Blue Jays yesteryear, including the infamous trade involving Alomar & Carter, and Dave Winfield's infamous seagull incident.

100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is also very up to date, with excerpts about the blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last November, as well as the acquisition of Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.

If you've ever checked out the baseball section of your local book store, you know first hand that there is a severe lack of Blue Jays material out there. So it's quite refreshing to not just have a book with Blue Jays content in it, but one that's devoted entirely to the Blue Jays.

Although there are 100 items here, most die hard Blue Jays fans will be pretty familiar with most of them. But even I found myself discovering things I never knew about the Blue Jays.

For example, how the San Francisco Giants nearly moved to Toronto, or that there was a game where Cecil Fielder and Kelly Gruber swapped spots at second and third base ...  19 times in one game.

Or who knew that Ernie Whitt was a big investor and spokesperson for Mother's Pizza? (which is apparently returning on April 1st in Hamilton, by the way). Or that former Blue Jays skipper Bobby Mattick was the one who discovered Dave Stieb?

Since there are so many items packed into about 250 pages, unfortunately there isn't much real estate to flesh out some of the more significant items much more than two or three pages. That's my only real criticism of the book ... but I guess that was by design to keep the book a manageable size.

Christmas may be over nine months away, but this book would be an excellent gift for any Blue Jays fan that you know. In fact, for those declaring the Home Opener a baseball holiday, it makes a great gift to open on April 2nd.

"100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die" is on sale now at your local Indigo/Chapters store and  at Amazon.ca.

3 comments:

  1. Because I'm an old I knew about Bobby Mattick's discovery of my favourite Blue Jay. If it's not in the 100 things, every Blue Jay fan should read Tomorrow I'll be Perfect. I also remember the "debate" about relocating the Giants to Toronto.

    I guess I'll have to track the book down.

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  2. I have a picture of myself/sister with Ernie Whitt back in the day. He was in Sarnia to promote Mother's Pizza. It went broke a few years later. No coincidence, I'm sure!

    Reading from Berlin...keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks Brent! Apparently they're opening Mother's Pizza back up in Hamilton in a few weeks.

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