Ben, a sports analytics wizard, loves baseball. Eric, his best friend, hates it. But when Ben writes an algorithm for the optimal baseball road trip, an impossible dream of every pitch of 30 games in 30 stadiums in 30 days, who will he call on to take shifts behind the wheel, especially when those shifts will include nineteen hours straight from Phoenix to Kansas City? Eric, of course. Will Eric regret it? You might ask, Are Dodger Dogs the same thing as Fenway Franks? As Ben and Eric can now attest, most definitely.
On June 1, 2013, Ben and Eric set out to see America through the bleachers and concession stands of America’s favorite pastime. Along the way, human error and Mother Nature throw their mathematically optimized schedule a few curveballs. A mix-up in Denver turns a planned day off in Las Vegas into a twenty-hour drive. And a summer storm of biblical proportions threatens to make the whole thing logistically impossible, and that’s if they don’t kill each other first.
A fun look at doing the impossible – seeing a game in each of the 30 major league baseball parks in 30 days.
Like: Ben and Eric own who they are: white guys who just graduated from Harvard with a once in a lifetime shot to do something this crazy. They got a lot of help along the way and everyone is appreciated and thanked in the afterward, down to the police departments that wrote them tickets.
Interesting: I’m not sure what to call this voice… they use “we” but never “I”. It’s Ben thought this and Eric said that. It took a few pages to fall into the groove but I think it was the best way to handle the narrative.
Meh: While most of the numbers and itineraries are neat it did bog down in a couple of places. If you’re a baseball person and therefore have a high tolerance for crazy stats you won’t even notice.
Like: The prose isn’t literary by any stretch, but it’s readable and interesting. It also strikes me as fair and honest, as Ben and Eric are pretty good at pointing out each other’s faults and graceful enough to accept their own (sometimes).
Don’t Like: This feels like it was written right after the trip, before they completely processed all of their experiences. While there are insights, they were pointed out by Eric’s mom and rehashed in the last couple of chapters. I would have loved to see another chapter about life after the trip and how it changed them (or didn’t).
If you’re into baseball or road trips or books that follow crazy self-imposed journeys you’ll enjoy I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back.