January 24, 2022

Stark Shows that it is “Worth the Wait”

April 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I have been an admirer of ESPN’s Jayson Stark since I was knee high to a batting tee and he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The way he combines his baseball insight, humor and “Useless Information” pieces is a perfect mixture if you want to maximize your baseball knowledge yet keep the tone light. Stark has delivered once again for those who enjoy his writing style and especially those who are Phillies fans, which is THE thing to be now in the Philly area.

Stark’s most recent book, Worth the Wait – Tales of the 2008 Phillies, is enjoyable on a few levels regardless of the type of fan you are. The book is a collection of his writings from ESPN, enhanced with additional commentary and what seems to be a never ending lineup of impressive “Useless Information” tidbits that left me scratching my head and asking who would even ask this and how was this found? I hope for Stark’s sake that the Elias Sports Bureau did not get paid by the hour or else he isn’t going to make a dime from this book for the time they put in churning some of these out.

If you were late to the party in 2008 and scrambled to get on the Phightin’s bandwagon there is no need to worry. Worth the Wait leads off with Part 1 in Spring Training with the trash talking between Jimmy Rollins and the Mets, and how a rivalry got started, and then in Part 2 the reader gets a nice overview of some of the moments both on and off the field that brought the team together, in addition to yet another breakdown of the Mets folding down the stretch. Before you know it is Part 3 and the start of the October playoff run, when you became a die hard fan and realized that J-Roll was their shortstop and not a specialty sandwich at the ballpark.

Being an avid baseball fan in Philly I got to see the team from Spring Training to the bedlam that the parade triggered. While reading I found myself giving a few “oh yeahs, I forgot that happened” and reflecting on some stories where I looked back and realized it was a make or break moment for the club with some of the off-field decisions that were made.

What I thought was particularly enjoyable was the chronicling of each game from the one that clinched the NL East to the final out of the World Series. You will find it especially entertaining if you were fortunate to be at any those games because it will put you right back at the ballpark with how the events unfolded. The one that connected with me was when they clinched the East against the Nationals. I was lucky enough to have been at that game with my wife, and thanks to the book I was right back there again on my feet, screaming like a kid, towel swirling, and it brought back a memorable experience I won’t soon forget.

Even for the Philly sports fan in general who may not be a fan of baseball, it does a quality job of weaving the tale of anguish that all those seasons without a title meant to the city and the type of mindset and paranoia that was festering. By far my favorite part was the “Three Strikes – Phillies File Edition” at the end of the book where all kinds of numbers are thrown around with the number of games played and seasons completed by all four major sports teams in Philadelphia along with all the titles won by the OTHER cities in between 1983 and 2008. Very entertaining.

Worth the Wait is for anyone who wants to go back on one more ride through the postseason, narrated by one of the best baseball writer’s the city has ever had.

Matt Aber is a baseball enthusiast who cannot wait for Opening Day. He is an advocate of the national organization called The Miracle League which allows special needs children to play baseball.

He encourages you to support this worthy cause and learn more at www.miracleleague.com.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of the book being reviewed by the publisher, but received no payment or other consideration for this review.

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