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Book Review: Fantasyland by Sam Walker

We are taking an unusual direction for this post. Today, I have for you readers, a book review. True, books are not our area of expertise, but I came across this piece of literature at a nearby Borders and I now feel the need to share it with you. As a person who every year looks forward to the marathon roller coaster ride known as fantasy baseball, I can honestly say that I felt as if I was there with Sam Walker as he endured the agony of the season.

Sam Walker is a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Like many of us, he initially stayed away from the world of fantasy baseball because it was seen as a game for geeks and nerds. But after much convincing, he decided to take the plunge. What does he do for his rookie season? He gets invited to join the nation’s most exclusive rotisserie baseball league known as Tout Wars for the 2004 season. Walker believes that his job as a columnist will give him the inside edge on the other experts in the league since he has access to every clubhouse in the majors.

Walker enlists the help of two assistants which includes a NASA scientist, both of whom have a love for baseball stats and hope to one day get a job in the front office of a major league ball club. We all prepare for draft day by coming up with formulas and ranking players based on our own ideas of what we think we need. Walker and his crew take it to new heights with color-coded rolodexes with factors that include typical things such as whether or not a player has a rigorous off-season training regimen to unconventional stats such as dating habits.

Reading the book is a joy. It is written in a very humorous tone that keeps even the most casual of readers coming back for more. A highlight of the book I enjoyed is when Walker and his crew make signs and picket the hotel where the Anaheim Angels are staying in an attempt to get Jose Guillen off of his suspension. The reasoning behind this? Walker has him on his fantasy team and needs Jose’s big bat back in the lineup. The book is full of so many of the moments you and I have been through as grieving fantasy GM’s. You will find yourself sympathizing with Walker’s down times and cheering during his times of triumph.

I highly recommend this book to any baseball fan and of course to anybody who participates in fantasy baseball leagues. It is a great read and a true insight to what we as fantasy baseball owners go through in our pursuit for bragging rights as league champion.

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One comment for “Book Review: Fantasyland by Sam Walker”

  1. [...] of year when one of my favorite publications comes out. I first read about this book when I read Fantasyland by Sam Walker. The book I am speaking of is the Baseball Forecaster by Ron [...]

    Posted by TGIF: Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster | Sports of Boston | November 21, 2008, 5:20 am

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