I Don't Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever
One of the funniest bits in the consistently engaging road trip story I DON'T CARE IF WE NEVER GET BACK is when authors Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster actually argue about the lyrics to the tune from which the title takes its name: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." In what unwinds into a dialogue reminiscent of Abbott & Costello's famous Who's On First? routine, Ben and Eric argue the usage of the term “never” vs. “ever.” They claim that different ballparks actually utilize either “never” or “ever,” with no way of finding out what is the intended or grammatically correct usage of the term.
This is just a small sample of what readers are in store for when opening up this fast-moving and hysterical road trip book. Written in a style that will fondly recall the gonzo fiction of Hunter S. Thompson, as well as the great Jack Kerouac, Ben and Eric make full use of their background as witty lampoon-style writers. They are both Harvard grads, and Eric was actually president of Harvard Lampoon.
"If you love baseball, you will thoroughly relish I DON'T CARE IF WE NEVER GET BACK and most likely will finish it in one sitting. But even if you are not a fan, you still will be able to sink your teeth into the non-stop witty banter that hits a bullseye in its description of life in America and the ever-present baseball obsession."
What they set out to accomplish is quite impressive and seemingly all but impossible. They plan to visit all 30 Major League ballparks in a span of 30 days, taking in a full ballgame at each. One of their self-imposed rules is that they must be present for the first batter of each game to make it official. This supplies us with some really good breakneck speed races to make a few games under the wire.
The most ironic thing is that the pair could not be more different when it comes to the sport. Ben is a baseball superfan who fully ascribes to SABR metrics and is a student of the game’s statistics that resulted in his analytical stories being published in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Eric, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about baseball. In reality, he can’t stand it or the megolomaniacal style of corporate greed he feels the sport has devolved into. This polar opposite pairing of road trip buddies makes for some highly entertaining exchanges.
I'm not giving anything away by saying they accomplish their feat. A chapter is denoted for each ballpark and includes the sometimes hair-raising car rides from one stadium to another. They traverse 22,000 miles during their month-long trek and even pick up a few colleagues who join them for various spans of their journey.
If you love baseball, you will thoroughly relish I DON'T CARE IF WE NEVER GET BACK and most likely will finish it in one sitting. But even if you are not a fan, you still will be able to sink your teeth into the non-stop witty banter that hits a bullseye in its description of life in America and the ever-present baseball obsession. As Ben figures, Baseball = America, Road Trip = Quintessential American Experience, so therefore Baseball = Road Trip. Regardless of the logic, this is a unique saga that will please everyone who jumps in the backseat to ride along.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 9, 2014