Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Buzz Bissinger, Bigoted Baseball Biographer

So I've been reading Three Nights in August while riding the exercycle the last couple of weeks, and while its an easy read, there's something about it that I just don't like. I think its way too conservative (in the American political sense). Starting with the way Bissinger uses his preface to set this book against Moneyball:

"It is wrong to say that the new breed [Moneyball style baseball people] doesn't care about baseball. But it's not wrong to that there is no possible way they could possibly love it, and so much of baseball is about love." (His emphasis on love.)

What the fuck? I mean, rather than try to raise the chances that your damn book will be talked about on stupid talk radio shows in your preface, just do it on the damn sports talk shows. When Bissinger goes on to the next page to say "This book was not conceived as a response to Moneyball." he's saying that, no, it wasn't conceived that way, but it certainly became that. Stupid.

The bulk of the commentary in the book needn't be held against the supposedly heartless nerds ruining baseball in cities like Oakland, LA, and Toronto (I hear Billy Beane and his buddies are all atheists too, and if you don't love God, how can you love baseball...) - its an interesting book that does rely on the viewpoint of its curmudgeon manager star, but that view doesn't operate specifically against "the new breed," so why wedge in this commentary at the opening of the book? The only answer I can think of is that Bissinger would be all for reinstating the draft and invading Iran, except for the fact that the Nerds would be exempt because of their Academic standing, and the true heroes with grit and heart would be the suckers dieing overseas, and he can't help but let his neo-conservative anti-intellectualism bleed into what would otherwise be a nice book about baseball.

Also, Bissinger is a racist and xenophobe:

"They were a gorgeous American family, blond and floppy-haired. You looked at them and wished that everybody in the entire world, including your own family, looked that way."


Blogger Jack said...

That is an unfortunate quote you pick out. But don't you think he's maybe carelessly falling back on a dated American-ideal trope, rather than flatly announcing that he's a white supremacist?

Writing glowingly about baseball requires falling back on dated American-ideal tropes, after all. (Given the state of the sport today.) Bissinger probably just didn't think that sentence through. Why read so much malevolence into it?

Also, I read the book kind of quick, but I'm pretty sure he didn't advocate the violent overthrow of Iran.

11/07/2006 10:36 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

The racist thing was tongue-in-cheek.

I would bet that he votes Republican though.

And still, why the opposition to Moneyball, why claim that nerds cannot love?

11/08/2006 12:35 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

I'm relieved that you're less into the deep end than it first appeared. But you should watch that fine line between "crazy" and "pretend crazy."

11/08/2006 7:30 AM  

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