Today we've got great loads of fun stuff to cover! We're going to chat about a wonderful little baseball book (no, it's not Alyssa Milano's so don't even ask) and how Laurie is banned from Citi Field. She and her Mike Piazza jersey will have to watch the games from her home or our super awesome sports bar that still hasn't given us any money for advertising. Based on last week's poll, it is clear that our readers feel that Laurie is bad luck and should not attend any more Mets games. She and Lisa attended a game with Alan and Jeff. Johan Santana pitched. Apparently, Laurie's bad luck is so great that Johan lost the game. It seems that Laurie's presence is similar to that of a black cat sitting in the Mets dugout. One reader was nice enough to comment and suggest that we send her to Yankees Stadium, but Serena thinks that this is completely and utterly out of the question. However, it is unfair to say that Laurie should not be allowed to attend any baseball games. She does enjoy the sport and we assume that watching her son's little league games are not going to cut it. As a compromise, we've decided to ship her to Philly and Boston. Make her bad juju work in our favor. Go black magic woman! Mets fans beware...she will be at Citi Field on Friday, May 8th. Do not expect victory for the Mets. The good news is that it's just one game and the Mets will still have a chance to win the series against Pittsburgh Saturday and Sunday.
Jane Heller's first non-fiction book, Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees, fell into our laps in a bit of an odd way. Flash back to late March when we posted a spiteful and irate blog about Alyssa Milano and her nonsense memoir about her love for baseball. While wandering around the bookstore in search for this ridiculous book, we found a table filled with baseball-related books celebrating the upcoming 2009 season. It was on this table that we stumbled upon Confessions. Lisa found the cover particularly clever, but asked the question, "How did she get a book published?" Serena then had to explain that Jane has had 13 best-selling novels and in the publishing world, once you've established yourself in the book market, you can basically do whatever kind of book you want and they'll publish it. The fact that Jane's a published writer immediately separated her from the likes of Alyssa Milano.
Confessions begins with the disaster start of the Yankees' 2007 season. Two months into it, Jane's had enough and decides to "divorce" the team. She even goes as far as to write a clever essay about the subject, which then appears in the New York Times. The overwhelming response to the essay (both positive and intensely negative) from other Yankees fans prompts this book. In an effort to prove to the Yankees fans she has angered that she is not a band wagon fan, Jane and her husband follow the Yankees to every game after the All Star Break.
Serena purchased this book at first for us to read for one reason: research. Did we have here another "traveling baseball babe?" Or was this yet another dumb chick who claims to love baseball and the Yankees, but really just loves Derek Jeter? As "she-fans", we are naturally protective of our female fanhood. We've battled a lot of males' first impressions of us in order to demonstrate our true passion for the game of baseball. Granted, there is no reason that we should have to ever defend our knowledge or fanhood to the opposite sex, but sometimes, when pushed into a corner, one must fight back. Therefore wariness of the book and its purpose immediately set in. Dear God, would this woman take female fans and everything we stand for and drive us into the ground?
Within the first few pages of the book, relief set in. Here is a woman that we could be proud to share the title of "she-fan" with. Jane demonstrates rather quickly not only that her love for the Yankees is genuine, but that she also is very knowledgeable of the sport. Her writing is honest, sharp, and very funny. The book is saturated with Jane's opinions (it's her personal account, so of course it should be opinionated) and granted, as with anything else, there are opinions that we may not agree with. For example, during one of the chapters, she explains how an ex-husband had taken her to see a game at Shea Stadium and she says that Shea Stadium "just wasn't for her." We've never had any issues in attending games at both stadiums regardless of where our true loyalties lie. Serena has enjoyed games at Shea Stadium, cheering for the Mets and Lisa has enjoyed games at Yankees Stadium, cheering for the Yankees. However, that being said, she does not preach her opinion in this book. It's stated and should be taken at face value. It does not hurt the story or Jane's credibility. You may not always agree with what she has to say, but at least her opinions are coming from an intelligent and knowledgeable place unlike many other fans that seem to enjoy getting in our faces at bars and shouting, "Mets/Yankees suck!" In short, the book is a wonderful representation of female fans.
After reading the book, Serena found Jane Heller's blog and decided to write to her, despite never having written to an author before in her life. After a few back and forth emails, Jane was nice enough to offer to participate in a mini-interview via email! How cool is that? Below are her answers to Serena's questions, which we are pleased to report that she answered all of them and didn't answer any in a half-assed way.
Serena: Where did the term "she-fan" come from?
Jane Heller: As I was writing the book, I was trying to come up with a term for female fan- something that sounded fun and a little bold. My experience is that while women are just as knowledgeable as men about the game (sometimes more knowledgeable), we process our fandom in a different way (less interested in stats, more interested in the emotions of the players, managers, etc). I remembered a horror movie I saw when I was a kid called "She-Demons." I thought, OK. I'm a She-Fan. Kind of crazy. Kind of scary. But definitely worth knowing.
S: Has a review on your book ever changed your perspective on it?
JH: I try not to let reviews change my perspective on what I've written- both the good ones and the not-so-good. I did the best I could with the book and really left myself out there, since it was nonfiction and my own personal story. I'm gratified when people relate to it, but I can't go to pieces if they don't.
S: What kind of feedback have you received on your book from other she-fans?
JH: I've gotten tremendous feedback from other she-fans. Many say that they've been waiting for a book like mine because now they don't feel alone. Some have said, "I thought I was the only crazy one." But I've also gotten mail from men who write, "You're the female version of me. I'm giving the book to my wife so she'll understand me better."
S: Did you ever get your opportunity to speak with Jason Zillo [Yankees' Director of Media Relations]? Are you still blacklisted from the Yankees' inner circle?
JH: I sent the book to Jason Zillo right after it was published. I signed it and wrote: "Thanks for being such a great villain and for being a good sport too." Or something like that. Never heard a word. The Yankees are my team and I adore them. But their front office needs to lighten up. So yes, I'm still being shut out. They wouldn't let me advertise the book in their opening day program because they said the book was "too controversial." See what I mean?
S: What was it about the Yankees' struggles during the 2007 season that angered you so much that you decided to divorce them? Was it just the losing or the manner in which they lost?
JH: It was the inconsistency that drove me mad. They'd win a series, then get swept. It was up and down. When they landed in last place briefly, I was so depressed. I needed to vent, so I wrote the "divorce essay" and the New York Times ran it. Little did I know what a stir it would cause.
S: What was it like to get a taste of a typical baseball player's lifestyle? Would you ever consider adopting a similar lifestyle permanently?
JH: The grind of traveling every three or four days was a surprise to me. It's one thing to read about the players going from city to city and having to play day games after night games. It's quite another to have to do it yourself (minus the playing, obviously). I hate to fly, so the traveling was tough for me. But after awhile, I got into a rhythm and it was my new reality and I missed it terribly when it was over. When I got home after being on the road for nearly three months, I was like, OK, when can I get going again? I'd do the trip again in a heartbeat.
S: Are there any stadiums that you wish you had gotten an opportunity to visit during your travels? If so, why?
JH: The Yankees didn't play the Mariners in Seattle, so I didn't get to see that stadium [Safeco Field]. (I heard the food's great.) But mostly I got to see a wonderful cross section of American ballparks.
S: In Boston, you meet a Red Sox fan who, like you, is visiting Fenway Park for the first time, calling it the best night of his life. You wrote, "he shames me with his lack of pretense. I am deeply moved by him." This scene signifies a change in your attitude toward the entire trip. How did this man's simple, unadulterated joy in just being at Fenway change your view of the Yankees, being a fan, and the sport of baseball in general?
JH: The man in Boston really made me understand that being a fan is not just about winning. I had become so addicted to winning, from the championships in the 90's, that I had taken it for granted. The Boston fan reminded me that being a fan is a gift and a privilege, not a birthright. I still get upset when the Yankees lose, but I don't take it as hard as I did before I wrote the book. The trip really did change the way I view the game and my fandom.
S: How do you feel the Yankees look this season?
JH: I pick the Yanks to win #27 this year. Yes, they've gotten off to a rocky start. And yes, Wang is a mess right now. But I'm loving AJ and CC, and Andy's pitching great. The biggest contributor, I think, will be Teixeira. I watch him play first base and make these incredible plays that Giambi couldn't dream of making, and I think, this is our year. I do worry about the offense, because they're leaving men on base. But hopefully when A-ROD gets back, he'll hit bomb after bomb into that right field jet stream. : )
Serena also asked Jane to sound off on the stadiums the she had visited during her trip, which included Tampa Bay, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Anaheim, and obviously New York.
S: Which stadium has the best food (this is especially important to people like Lisa and I, whose entire existence revolves around when and what our next meal is)?
JH: Best stadium food on my trip? Camden Yards. I'm totally addicted to Boog's Barbecue. If I could have that pit turkey platter right now, I would.
S: Which stadium has the worst food?
JH: The worst food was at...Yankees Stadium. I hate to say it, but it was better everywhere else. They've really upgraded it, from everything I've read. Thank God.
S: Which stadium was the most fan-friendly?
JH: I found the Jake (now called Progressive Field) to be very fan friendly (well, except for the Yankees haters during the ALDS. They were laughing at those midges while I was having a heart attack). The ushers are very polite and helpful. So are the concession people. And it seemed as if they had fireworks displays all the time. They really do try to reach out to their fans.
S: Which stadium provided you with the most positive experience? Why?
JH: The most positive experience was late in my trip when Yankees Stadium had become home to me. Every time I went there wearing my Yankees gear and sitting among other Yankees fans, it was such a wonderful experience, win or lose. I'm pretty isolated out here in California. Everybody roots either for the Dodgers or Angels. So being with Yankees fans made me feel as if I belonged. You can't beat that. Sometimes I make my husband do the roll call when we're watching on TV, just so I can feel connected again.
S: Which stadium provided you with the most negative experience? Why?
JH: The most negative experience was at Comerica Park in Detroit. We were sitting near a bunch of drunks who were berating a Mariners fan a few rows back. They were so vicious and yet nobody did anything to shut them up or eject them. The usher was just sitting on his ass watching the game. Incredible.
For anyone interested, you can find the link to her blog in our Extra Bases section. It's called, you guessed it (or we at least hope you're able to guess it), "Confessions of a She-Fan." Jane has also recently earned a weekly radio spotlight on "The Natural," hosted by Greg Marotta. It's aired on Friday's 4-5:00 pm EST on WVNJ-AM 1160 and the broadcast reaches Northern New Jersey, Westchester, Rockland, and parts of Manhattan, Long Island, and Connecticut. For those who are out of the broadcast range, the show will also stream via their website: http://www.wvnj.com/
For those of you interested in checking out the book, you can read an excerpt from the book or purchase a copy of it on amazon.com:
The Mets travel into Philly this weekend. Lisa has declared that if the Mets do not take at least 2 of 3, she is attending the Mets/Pirates game next Friday in full Pirate regalia, complete with wooden peg leg and hook. She tried to get Serena to loan her the purple bird, but Serena has vehemently denied her for reasons that shall remain unnamed here in this forum. It's personal. And the story is too heartbreaking to repeat.
The Angels are currently in town to play the Yankees. Last night, the Yankees managed to pull a win out of their butts, but we'll wait and see how the rest of the series goes. For some reason, every time the Angels are around, it becomes an absolute nightmare for the Yankees who run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Side note: Barry Zito's next game is this Sunday. Hopefully, he'll get his first victory. If not, he'll be the only one on the Giants pitching staff who is a big, tall, yoga practicing LOSER.
BONUS: Josh Beckett got ROCKED last night by the Rays. Go Rays!