It Takes More Than Balls: The Savvy Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Baseball – by Deidre Silva and Jackie Koney

It Takes More Than Balls

If you’re not familiar with the Savvy Girls (formerly Of Summer, now just presumably savvy in general) – I have a feeling you will be.

What started as two women who met through soccer and found a common enjoyment of baseball is on the verge of becoming a brand name in the marketing of baseball towards women, and even more so towards the common fan who isn’t into stats, history, and the inner workings of a ballgame.

The Savvy Girls (or SG’s, as I’ll refer to them) have been on my radar in Seattle for a while now – hosting an event at Safeco Field last year and getting their names known through the local baseball world with word of their upcoming book. In that time, they’ve also managed to get on the radar of several other MLB clubs – so they may soon be making an appearance in your city. If you’ve been to Spring Training in the past year or two, you might have run into them collecting your thoughts.

So now that said book is out – let’s take a look at it.

Let’s get something out of the way early — I am definitely not the target demo for this book. As referenced several times throughout their work – the SG’s wrote this for people who can’t or don’t pay attention to every pitch and really don’t have a feel for the strategy and nuances of a baseball game, a group that happens to skew female. However – plenty of guys didn’t play baseball at a competitive level and therefore didn’t learn the ins and outs of the game, so it’s not totally skewed towards the fairer sex.

If anything – the book is written at a level that is by no means insulting to the average person’s intelligence. I went into it thinking of it as a Baseball for Dummies type work – but it’s really not. You won’t feel like you need a set of crayons to enjoy the book. The writing is fun without being overly cutesy. I managed to never hear a Valley Girl laugh while reading this.

The SGs are thorough — covering much more than I would have expected, given what I presumed the book to be. Almost anyone should be able to pick up something from this book  – regardless of how much you know – or think you know – about baseball.

The more I read though, the more I wondered if the Savvy GIrls had started to move over to the more serious fan side of the population. They certainly put a lot more in the book than the casual fan would know – or seemingly even care to know about. It almost seems as if they’re professional casual fans…if that makes sense.

I really couldn’t help but think “why would the average fan care about the history of the American League?” Or how Paul RIchards chose to deal with Ted Williams in the 1951 World Series. Great stories and part of the history of baseball – but something that seems trivial to those dealing with juice boxes, coloring books and runny noses.

As i let my mind race about this book — I wondered if it is ultimately contributing to an inevitable backlash by the hardcore fan who doesn’t want Stitch & Pitch night or family-friendly sections at the ballpark. I keep thinking of the articles I’ve read recently about the fast food industry and how they’ve shifted from trying to please everyone to focusing on super-serving their most frequent customers. This could veer off into a topic that needs to be discussed on another blog – probably before you know it.

If anything – the book seems to try and mesh validation for those fans who are at a game for any reason other than to focus on the game, while creating a feel-good tie in with a baseball memory from a first-name-only female at the end of each chapter and trying to inform the reader of some of the finer parts of the game throughout it all.

There’s a lot going on – which is fine, although like a weekend full of errands, you feel like you went a whole bunch of places without having a true sense of direction.

I can’t say I had a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the book, nor did I feel like I’d just read something I’d like to pass on to the more casual fans in my life. In the end, I’m not really sure what I was left with.

It Takes More Than Balls is a solid first effort for a pair that I’m sure has a good amount to contribute to the baseball landscape. Most Major League teams have embraced the idea of marketing more to women and families, and there is still a lot of unchartered territory to navigate, which I think the baseball world will find the SG’s to be a valuable asset for. If you poke around their blog, I think you’ll get a much better idea what these two have to offer. The post titled “Pink It and Shrink It” was particularly insightful and enjoyable – and worth a read.

But getting back to the book – would I recommend it? I’d like to, but I’m not sure to who and why. Maybe it’s because I’m not the person who would read this on my own. If you are that person – post a comment and share what you enjoyed from the book.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the Savvy Girls though — they seem to have a good amount to offer, and I think their best contributions are yet to come.


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2 responses to “It Takes More Than Balls: The Savvy Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Baseball – by Deidre Silva and Jackie Koney

  1. Pingback: Is the backlash coming? « Baseball On My Brain

  2. Pingback: Anatomy of Baseball - edited by Lee Gutkind and Andrew Blauner « The Baseball Book Review

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