Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back

30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever

by Ben Blatt

“A fun ride that evokes the spirit of sports stunt journalist George Plimpton and the dazed road-trip fever of Hunter S. Thompson, minus the mind-altering substances. . . . It’s great watching Blatt and Brewster race home.” —Boston Globe

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 368
  • Publication Date April 14, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2376-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date May 06, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9216-5
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

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 seeing 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 stretches as relaxing as 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. Driving an average of ten hours a days and sleeping in the comfort of gas station backlots, every day becomes a fight against the clock in the name of a sport that doesn’t have one. But as they try to explore whether time has finally caught up to the game that has defined a nation for generations, they can’t help but get terribly lost in the process. 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, for one. And a summer storm of biblical proportions in Chicago threatens to make the whole adventure logistically impossible, and that’s if they don’t kill each other first.

Charming, insightful, and hilarious, I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back is a book about the love of the game, the limits of fandom, and the limitlessness of friendship.

Praise

“If Catfish Hunter and Hunter Thompson mated, their grandkids would be Ben and Eric, whose gonzo baseball road trip glows with humor, insight and the Service Engine light of their Toyota RAV4.” —Steve Rushin, author of The 34-Ton Bat

“An ambitious attempt to see every pitch of 30 games in 30 stadiums in 30 days . . . [Blatt and Brewster] humorously encounter more problems than just Brewster’s disdain for baseball.” —Jeremy Mikula, Chicago Tribune

“An honest and hilarious look at what it’s really like to drive across America for baseball, I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back is a highlight reel of triumphs and mishaps.” —Zack Hample, author of Watching Baseball Smarter

“A fun ride that evokes the spirit of sports stunt journalist George Plimpton and the dazed road-trip fever of Hunter S. Thompson, minus the mind altering substances. . . . It’s great watching Blatt and Brewster race home.” —Ethan Gilsdorf, Boston Globe

“The definitive history of baseball cards. . . . As much fun as opening a pack of baseball cards and discovering a Mickey Mantle.” —Forbes

“[A] fun road trip/ballpark adventure with pranks, missed exits, a misadventure with a scalper, and a sellout on the worst possible day. . . . Blatt and Brewster have definitely scored.” —Publishers Weekly

“Reads like a mix of Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, Neil Simon and National Lampoon. You’ll laugh the whole way through.” —Ed Lucas, Jersey Journal

“Part Kerouac, part The Odd Couple, I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back . . . starts out as a geeky-neat road trip.” —Chris Foran, Journal Sentinel

“An oblique view of baseball full of hijinks, havoc, and humor, this is fandom to the extreme.” —Robert Birnbaum, Daily Beast

“A cross between The Cannonball Run and The Great Race, with portions of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World thrown in for good measure. . . . The road trip—and narrative—zigzags across the country, with the authors (helped by three other drivers at times) driving 22,000 miles in 716 hours. They watched 8,913 pitches and completed their quest with a few hours to spare. . . . The dynamic and back-and-forth tension and sarcasm between Blatt and Brewster is funny. . . . Worth reading.” —Bob D’Angelo, Tampa Tribune

“The road-trip memoir has become so tired that there’s almost no premise good enough to resurrect it from endless cliché, and a frenetic race to an arbitrary goal didn’t seem promising. But that wasn’t accounting for two things: Moneyball-worthy mathematical algorithms and the sharp, hilarious prose that has made Lampoon alums famous for generations. . . . Nate Silver numbers and James Thurber wit turn what should be a harebrained adventure into a pretty damn endearing one.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a wonderfully crazy, wonderfully stupid idea. I’m glad someone—someone other than me—did it. The result is hilarious and amazing.” —Steve Hely, author of How I Became a Famous Novelist and The Ridiculous Race

“Consistently engaging. . . . [A] 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. . . . 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. . . . This is a unique saga that will please everyone who jumps in the backseat to ride along.” —Ray Palen, Bookreporter

Excerpt

Thirty Games in Thirty Days
Chase Field in Phoenix, June 9th
Comerica Park in Detroit, June 6th
Yankee Stadium in New York, June 1st
Ben Meets His Hero, and the Trip Falls Apart

And in we walked through the glorious door to Wrigley Field’s suite number 44. Ben saw him immediately. Towards the back of the box, standing over a computer opened to Excel. Theo Epstein in the flesh. He watched one of his own players strike out on the diamond below and shook his head.

“He’s hurting against righties lately,” said one of Epstein’s deputies.

Theo turned around and saw us.

“You must be the two guys on the road trip,” he said, extending his arm to Ben.

“Uh, yes,” Ben stammered after processing that Theo’s arm was extending for him to shake. “This is Day Twelve. It’s beautiful here at Wrigley.”

Theo leaned back against a table covered in laptops running spreadsheets full of data.

“Well, I’ve got some bad news for you two,” he said. “The White Sox game tonight was just cancelled.”

Other than the information that all humans must eventually die, it was the worst news Ben had ever received. Ben had never felt so confused and conflicted, because it was also delivered by his favorite person ever.

Unbeknownst to us, the forecast warning of a chance of rain had been upgraded to “Storm of the Century.” Cancellations were usually a game-time decision. Canceling a game over four hours before it was scheduled to begin was only done when the weather was projected to turn biblical.

Even if the city of Chicago survived the storm, our trip would be destroyed.

“The trip sounded like fun though,” Theo said, already discussing it in the past tense. “I’m assuming doing it in 30 days is hopeless now that the White Sox are cancelled?”

“We’ll rerun the algorithm,” Ben muttered.

Theo cracked up. “Rerun the algorithm,” he repeated to himself.