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Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe Hardcover – 16 Feb 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books; First Printing edition (16 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670034282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670034284
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,748,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Under a hanging moon on the second Friday night in December, the streets of New Orleans are thick with the usual crowd of tap dancers, pickpockets, transvestites, police horses, and huggy drunks from Nova Scotia. Read the first page
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Booth on 19 May 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the last 4 days, my XBOX360 has gathered dust, my PC has remained on standby, and my DVD player has been abandoned. The reason for this sudden withdrawal from the delights of the electronic age is this book. It's fantastic. I would, of course, recommend it heartily to the fantasy baseball crowd, who, like myself trawl every obscure stat we can find to get the edge, or just choose our players based on who we like from TV. But the real strength of this book is that it actually, maybe accidently, goes into such depth about what makes a good hitter, and the minds of baseball players. The author, Sam Walker, has access to the players on his 'rotisserie' baseball team, and as such becomes a fan too, willing his players to succeed through good times and lean. It's a great baseball book. Full of lively characters, exceptionally realised, such as 'Sig', the statmaster. If you liked Moneyball, or are just a fan of the great game, pick this book up soon, it's really that good. My appreciation of the game, a game i thought i knew backwards, rocketed with every page turned, and i hope my Fantasy team will reap the benefits...

Definately a 5 star review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Turner on 28 Oct 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If the premise, 'its a book about drafting a fantasy baseball team', leaves you cold, prepare to be amazed. This book absolutely had me gripped from start to finish, as sports columnist Sam Walker figures his inside knowledge should give him a good chance in the elite of the elite fantasy leagues Tout Wars. Its Moneyball with laughs, as Sam realises that being able to buttonhole gm's and get access to players will not get the job done, he enlists help, embraces statistical analysis by a Nasa specialist, and so much more. Best and most original book I have read this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Morledge on 23 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
Now forgive me if I am terribly prejudiced but whenever I heard mention of any sport preceeded by the word 'fantasy' my mind would picture friendless geeks, socially awkward men (because it is almost always men), cardigans and nerds. What struck me as I began reading Fantasyland by Sam Walker was how accurate my thoughts would have been. As Walker begins his own adventure into the realm of 'rotisserie' baseball, he meets obsessive players, statistical monsters and a whole subculture of baseball obsessed supernerds.

But as he manages to get an invite to play in the 'Tout Wars' game, the creme de la creme of fantasy baseball players, he not only begins to understand their obsession, but joins them in the lunacy of managing his own fantasy team. In the run up to the pre-season draft, Walker hires two 'specialists' to assist him in preparing to build his team which he pays out of his own pocket and spends even more time and money visiting spring training camps in Florida and Arizona to get the inside word from players and managers alike.

On the surface, Fantasyland appears to be of very limited appeal, but you really shouldn't be fooled by first impressions. What Walker manages to create is a humorous, compelling and warm portrayal of fantasy baseball insiders. Hemanages to skillfully sit on both sides of the fence at the same time, finding humour in the obssessive behaviour of his fellow players while exhibiting exactly the same traits himself. What comes across most strongly is Walker's passion for the game of baseball itself and the strange cast of characters that float around its periphery. This is best shown in the often touching opening tales that head each chapter, short scraps of stories about other fantasy baseball players.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Salinas on 23 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Before buying this book, I read Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which I think was a very good introduction to the world of baseball for those totally alien to the game like me.

The whole point of sabermetrics and old school baseball scouting spiked my curiosity and Fantasyland seemed the logical next book to read on the subject.

The author takes us on his quest to win the most prestigious baseball fantasy league in the US. In order to do so, he enlists the help of maths wizz Sig and baseball fanatic Nando in order to build the ultimate fantasy team. Fantasyland goes through the whole pre season, where the author spent his time talking to players and managers to the hilarious auction night and his trades during the season.

At the same time, Walker goes through the origins and evolution of fantasy league baseball taking us on a parallel history trip.

The book is both engaging and enjoyable even if at times a baseball ignorant could get lost with the abbreviations and meaning of certain expressions.
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