“Fenway Fever”: By John H. Ritter – Baseball Book Review

Monday July 2nd, 2012


(Philomel Books:  2012)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  2012 is many things folks in the world of professional baseball. It is the year of the no-hitter. The year of the Tommy John surgeries. We have seen an unprecedented number of no-no’s and TJs already this year. It is also Fenway Park’s 100th year anniversary. Happy Birthday Fenway! It is also the year that the Youk chant died. Boston’s beloved son, Kevin Youkilis, was traded from Boston to Chicago this year as well. For a year filled with baseball emotions, none have flown farther and deeper than in Boston. With our Red Sox faithful in mind, our latest book review centers on the hub of Red Sox nation. The book is titled Fenway Fever, by John H. Ritter.

Along with all the other events taking place in this year’s MLB season, we have also seen an explosion of baseball book like no other. It seems literally that every week, a new baseball title comes across my desk. With so many books to choose from, it becomes difficult for the average baseball fan to choose the title that works for them. Here on MLB reports, we have a dedicated Baseball Book Reviews page, dedicated just for that purpose. To bring you up to speed to the latest baseball book titles and help you select the right one for you.

Here is a little sneak peek into “Fenway Fever”:

“Stats” Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family’s hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team’s ace pitcher—and Stats’s idol—becomes convinced the famed Curse of the Bambino has returned. Stats just has to help . . . but how? As the Sox faithful sour on their team, Stats forms a plan that ultimately unifies an entire city and proves that true loyalty has a magic all its own. 

I have often said that there is a place for everything in baseball. Stats, analysis and autobiographies all make for interesting baseball reads. But at times, it is a nice form of escape to read a true “baseball story”. The book can include characters and settings that are familiar (i.e. Fenway Park), but is based on the world of imagination. Remember that? When kids used to play, explore and life did not evolve strictly around video games. That is the idea for me in reading Fenway Fever. When I read this book, it was as an adult reader and on that scale basis. So to answer some questions that you may have: adult readers will enjoy this book. Young adults and children will enjoy it. Red Sox fans? Absolutely! All baseball fans? That’s a yes as well! Ritter had an interesting challenge here. The book is placed in the children and young adult category. So instantly I was on the lookout if adults would enjoy it as well. Same goes with non-Red Sox fans. Could they get into this? Again, yes and yes. While the book has the storyline built around Fenway and the Red Sox, it is not the entire story. Rather it is a setting, while the story itself focuses on an amazing young man and his baseball passion. That is something that any reader could enjoy. 

If you have a young baseball fan in your life, be sure to get Fenway Fever for them. Then when you each read the book, it would be fun to sit and watch a ballgame, while talking about the book. A great baseball bonding experience. Fenway Fever is a great way to get that young person in your life interested in the game of baseball. At the same time, it is a great baseball escape for you as well. Every book needs a strong leading character. Stats Pagano was the lead in this book. Young people would love to be like him and everyone else would just adore him. Stats is someone who you would love to have at your dinner table, go to a ballpark with and just talk baseball. Non-stop baseball. Sure, Fenway Fever has drama. What story doesn’t? But it is a feel good tale where you end up cheering at the end. That is something that we can all appreciate in this hard world of ours.

I have talked for the past few days with another one of our baseball writers, Robert Whitmer on a phrase that we believe will build in Boston. Remember the Curse of the Bambino? That is discussed in Fenway Fever and if it could return. Funny enough, with the trade of Boston’s iconic player, Kevin Youkilis- we can see “The Curse of the Youk”, a new curse may rise in Boston Red Sox history. Ironic that Ritter touches upon this idea in the book, which is launched right before Youk was traded. Could the loss of Kevin Youkilis create in fact a Curse of the Youk? Perhaps only in stories…but that made reading Fenway Fever even that more intriguing for me. 

I will end with the following thoughts. A little confession: I have never been to Fenway Park. I have dreamt of it. I say that every year that I will go. And every year, I end up not having the schedule work. Reading Fenway Fever, I feel the rush to grab a hot dog outside of the park and watch the Red Sox in their home field. There are only few baseball shrines still open. Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are two of those famed baseball institutions. Full of stories, history and ghosts. Triumphs and defeats. Beautiful victories and crushing defeats. That is baseball. Anything can happen in a 162 game season. But sometimes we imagine that more can come into play. With that baseball imagination in place, get ready to enjoy Fenway Fever. An excellent baseball read that the whole family can enjoy. In this modern world of ours, that is a rarity…and a home run.

***Click here to learn more about Fenway Fever. To purchase the book on-line, jump over to Amazon or your favorite book retailer***

About the Author:

John, the son of a sports writer, is a life-long baseball fan himself; he played college ball but opted for a career in writing instead of going pro and has spent the last 20 years writing award-winning novels for young readers, most of which revolve around baseball and all of which, at their core, are about family, friendships and finding ones way in the world. http://www.johnhritter.com/bio.html


Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on July 2, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I grew up in Chicago around Wrigley Field so I can easily identify with Fenway Park and the Green Monster. As a baseball story/teller writer myself, I can identify with everything you are saying about Fenway Fever and John H. Ritter’s mind set. As the story unfolds and centers around baseball, bringing real life situations into the story makes it a compelling read. Something every baseball fan will enjoy reading. And thank you, Jonathan Hacohen for an excellent baseball article.

  1. Pingback: All Roads to Fenway Run through the Heart: By John H. Ritter – Guest Baseball Blog « MLB reports

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