I'm not so much a baseball fan as a Con Chapman fan. I'm not even watching the pennant race despite my team, the Milwaukee Brewers, being in it.* Chapman's team, Boston's Red Sox are out, which is one reason I'm reviewing Cannacorn now despite being only about a third into the book. Another reason is because Cranky Cuss reviewed Moneyball recently to correspond with the release of the movie by the same name in which Stephen Bishop, son of our own L in the Southeast, is starring with Brad Pitt among other Hollywood bigs.
Moneyball, in case you've just returned from a long nap in the Adirondacks, is also about baseball. Therefore, the last and least unimportant reason I'm reviewing CannaCorn now is because as we all know I'm in a death struggle with Cuss over who's the most popular blogger on OS so if he reviews a baseball book I had better hack one out myself pretty damned soon thereafter or die in obscurity. BTW, if you haven't rated this post yet do so now so's you won't forget and wait until after you post your comment when it won't stick. Don't worry, I'll wait...thanks.
My only complaint thus far about CannaCorn is its title. Granted it's a verbalized version of the insider's metaphor for a softly hit ball that's easy to catch. “Can of corn,” as a sportswriter would write, using an expression derived from legend of the clerk in a general store who would have to climb a stool behind the cash register where the canned food was kept and then lob the can with an easy toss to the waiting customer. Corn? Well, legend continues, because the outfield was once called the cornfield.
There, that settled, I suggest this is a tad too “inside baseball” for the average reader of satire. Oh, I forgot to mention, CannaCorn is. Satire. Of the funniest kind. Thinking now only from a marketing vantage I suggest that especially with the incredibly loud buzz Moneyball the movie is getting – there's even a new edition of the book – that Con come out with a new edition of his book and call it Funnyball.
I do most of my recreational reading at night in bed, when I'm winding down and I read with the same measured savoring as one would sip a fine brandy. But brandy is rarely funny and CannaCorn is hilarious. I would choke to death on CannaCorn were it brandy. What my constant barking laughter does do, provoked at least once in every scene, is to make it more difficult for me to ease into slumber. My laughter often extends into the dark awhile after I've extinguished the lamp, as a dieseling engine continues to sputter without benefit of a live ignition.
I see I've used up considerable space here with preliminaries, leaving me no room for the usual compressed overview of what the book is about. Not a problem, as you can find several excellent plot summaries in the book's review section on Amazon.com. All are rave reviews, I might add, except for one crabby little piece by a man who calls Con a dunce, which prompts Con to suggest in a comment on the “review” for the man to see a nutritionist because he clearly has “an irony deficiency.”
I will try to make up for my synopsis deficiency by sharing a scene that made me laugh so hard in bed last night my wife considered calling 911. The scene starts out slowly, with several players expressing amazement that Carl Everett, a real baseball player, does not believe in dinosaurs or that astronauts walked on the moon. Delfayo Newbill, the team's ornery, argumentative star slugger, enters the discussion with this comment:
“Shit man, that ain't nothing...I don't believe in Europe.” With this, the game is afoot, the argument gaining in vehemence with “winning” points being scored and denied back and forth as one preposterous claim after another is lobbed over the net. Newbill wins, of course, but you'll have to read the book yourself to find out how. I will, however, give you the winner's closing line:
“Face it man. Just 'cause they's a Canada don't mean they's a Europe.” His lips formed a wry little smile and he shook his head. “Call me ignorant,” he said with a snort as he headed towards the field.
Con has hit a triple bagger with this can of corn.
*Thanks to Desert Rat for correcting my major league error.