One of the best-selling baseball books of the year is David Ortiz's new autobiography "Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits" written with Tony Massarotti. What better way to enjoy this fine book than in a book club with fellow Sox fans? After all, book clubs are all the rage these days. On the oft chance that you are reading "Big Papi" with others, here are some questions that might help facilitate conversation and fully enrich your reading experience.
1. As would be expected, David Ortiz spends several pages discussing the dramatic World Series run of 2004 and all his exciting game-winning hits. Seriously, wasn't that freakin' awesome? I could read about that forever. The umpire who called Dave Roberts safe could probably write a book, and a significant part of Red Sox Nation would buy that book too. What do you think?
2. While most Red Sox fans hate the Yankees, David Ortiz has a decidedly different perspective. "Fans ask us all the time if we hate [the Yankees] as much as they do," Ortiz writes. "Let me tell you, bro: We don't hate them at all. In fact, we really respect them." He goes onto explain that the rivalry is much more important to fans than to the players, but he's just saying that, isn't he? The Yankees still suck, right? Discuss.
3. Ortiz has many good things to say about young pitchers Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Beckett. At one point, he writes, "Papelbon is nasty, bro, and he's been nasty since the day he got to the big leagues.... Beckett, too, dude. You just watch. He's got great @#$$. He won sixteen games for us last year and he's only going to get better." Considering the success of Beckett this season and the continued excellence of Papelbon, would you consider this an example of foreshadowing? Can you name any other examples of foreshadowing in the book?
4. With David Ortiz's book, Curt Schilling's blog, and no doubt many other players anxious to release their own version of events online, do we really even need the media anymore (Yes -- ed.), or can we just get all our news unfiltered from the players themselves (No -- ed.)?
5. There's no denying that David Ortiz is just plain cool, and he certainly has an interesting way of speaking, or in this case writing. In the first ten pages alone, there are nineteen uses of the word "bro" and eight uses of the word "dude." Have you found yourself using these words more in your everyday conversations? As in: "Did you see how that dude actually counted all the times Papi used 'bro' and 'dude' in the first ten pages. That's @#$%ed up, bro!"
6. Throughout the book, co-author and Boston Herald baseball writer Tony Massarotti often steps "outside the box" and writes about Ortiz from his own perspective. (These sections are printed in a slightly different font and feature considerably less use of the words "dude" and "bro.") Through the use of this rare literary technique, reminiscent of the work of the great 18th century French biographer Henri (Scooter) de Matignon, Massarotti is able to put his own spin on the genre. But why doesn't he just stop? Seriously, if we wanted to hear what Tony Mazz had to say, couldn't we just pick up the Herald or turn on WEEI?
7. How does this compare with other examples of the genre, such as Johnny Damon's 2005 autobiography "Idiot?" It's better, right? By the way, have you even been able to give away your copy of Damon's book? Does anyone even want it anymore? My friend tried to put it out at a yard sale, and nobody even looked at the thing. It was just sad. Although I did enjoy Damon's section on all the women who used to chase him during the season, and how he had to get a separate cell phone just for women. Have you personally ever experienced this problem before in your life? Me neither.
8. Ortiz stresses the importance of having an even keel approach to the game. As he explains, "You have to treat those clutch situations like they're just normal at-bats because otherwise you'll put too much pressure on yourself." How do you handle clutch situations? Do you actually have clutch situations? I don't, though occasionally someone at work will want a spreadsheet at the last minute, and that can be pretty stressful. I like to take it one spreadsheet at a time. How about you?
9. Finally, if Manny Ramirez were to write his autobiography, do you think it would include space aliens? Discuss.