A Place To Talk About Giants Baseball

My review of *World Serious*

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on January 5, 2013

Pawlie gets to take advantage of the darkness of my winter with a thread reviewing  his latest book, “World Serious”– One San Francisco Giants Fan’s 2012 Pilgrimmage.

Well, for starters, I immensely enjoyed the dedication: “To Craig and all at the Flap”. That was a great start to the book. 🙂

Here is the review I posted to Amazon on Christmas day:

“Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giants Fans, Unite! December 25, 2012
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I read *World Serious* written by Paul Kocak on Christmas Day, 2012. I purchased a hard copy of it online a couple of weeks ago. As a huge Giants fan still basking in the glow of our second world series in 3 years, it was an easy online purchase. I was going to read it on vacation next week but it was quiet on this particular afternoon, so I decided to read it pre-vacation.It’s a short story, only 55 pages (not counting the epilogue). It’s not a long read, maybe an hour or a little longer. After I finished it, I was compelled to come review it here at Amazon.Mr. Kocak does a brilliant job of telling his tale of a spontaneous journey from New York to California in his quest to celebrate the San Francisco Giant’s World Series appearance in the fall of 2012. He didn’t tell a story that shocked me or had me dangling from the edge of my seat. The book isn’t about kick-starting your adrenaline. But that’s not what baseball is about, either. He wrote a book that read with the easy, perfect flow of a mid-Summer game at AT&T Park. There’s an “A. Bartlett Giamatti” feel to this book.His coast-2-coast *pilgrimage* balances the subtle vulnerabilities of his life against the deep seated love and commitment he clearly has to the San Francisco Giants franchise. And he shares these personal details with the backdrop of the poetry that is almost naturally associated with the game of baseball. I read many, many sentences in this book over and over again. As a reader, when you’re doing that, you know you’ve found a special writer.And the fact that Kocak is an east coast native, a near life long New Yorker who has lived his life as a lifelong Giants fan since he was 5 years old, all the while in the hostile confines of Yankee/Met territory, makes the book that much more intriguing.

I completely endorse this book and would recommend it to any baseball fan interested in a great read about about a single fan’s commitment to a moment in baseball time that he (or those who read this book) will never forget.”

Here’s a pic of the book. I stuck it in our still undisturbed Christmas tree. That’s called *subliminal advertising*. It’s quite likely you’ll now be compelled to buy this book and give it to someone as a gift. 🙂
Some might say I gave him such a glowing review because we are friends and those people would be mistaken. When I referenced A-Bart, what I meant was that he puts words together that make you appreciate the beauty of the language. Giamatti did this, too. For instance, after he arrives at Blade’s aunt’s house, he writes “To my left, the sun was setting, bleaching out visibility up Irving Street. A bronze gauzy haze drenched the streetscape.”  Anyone who’s ever been in the Sunset District around this time of day knows exactly what he saw that day and so perfectly put to words….
I’m not going to review the entire book in this space. I think most of you know how the story ends. As I reflect back on it a few weeks later, the thing I liked most about the book is that it wasn’t a book about baseball. I mean, there were the obvious correlations. But when you get to the core of it, it’s about the simple complexities of normal, daily human interaction. And he writes about it in a way that makes you wish the book was longer than 55 pages….
At some point this winter, I’ll probably read it again.

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  1. eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 7:36 am

    there is only one review of the book on amazon UK. It is a short and sweet one:
    A baseball fan writes about being a fan and a journey from a fan’s view finding other fans along the way ending up seeing his favorite team play game one at home in the 2012 Major League Baseball World Championship.

    No matter what sport you follow this book will have you giving those “knowing fan nods” of your head and “oh, yeah” smiles as you travel along on this adventure.

  2. eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

    According to a recent poll conducted by Buster Olney of ESPN, the San Francisco Giants are currently baseball’s top team. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially with Bruce Bochy’s club winning two of the last three World Series. And with most of the roster returning next year, San Francisco figures to enter the season as one of the favourites to repeat.

    There are some skeptics out there, though. One NL executive feels the Giants just benefited from getting hot at the right time last year.

    “To me, the Giants are the best example of what a crapshoot the postseason is. I don’t think they’re a great team, but they’ve played well in a couple of Octobers; they were lucky. I don’t think they’re the best team.”

    ~you can’t please all the people all the time
    this is an insider article, when I read the whole thing I will post more

  3. eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 8:10 am

    It seems the evaluators disagree with Buster putting the Giants as baseball’s top team. With the words luck and magic being the most popular dismissal of San Francisco’s success. In response here is what Olney had to say:

    After the initial power rankings column was posted, with the Giants at No. 1, I got a lot of feedback from readers wondering why I had San Francisco at No. 1, rather than Washington or Detroit or the Dodgers or Reds. Some readers felt that given the questions about Tim Lincecum and other parts of the team, San Francisco doesn’t appear to be as good on paper as some other teams.

    In my opinion: After winning two titles in the past three years, they’ve earned the credit we should give them — and it’s evident that the Giants have become very adept at playing in close games, from the depth of their bullpen to the ability of manager Bruce Bochy to maneuver. They may not be as dynamic as the 1976 Reds or the 1927 Yankees, but they’ve been the best team in the National League playing in close games, and this cannot be dismissed as just luck; it’s a trait.

    Justin Havens of ESPN Stats & Information dug out these numbers:

    In one-run postseason games over the past three years, the Giants are 8-1, which is in keeping with their regular-season success in close games. The Giants are 91-66 in one-run games over the past three regular seasons, which is the second-best mark by win percentage over that span (to Baltimore). It is first, however, in total wins.

    Most Wins in One-Run Games (2010-12)
    Giants 91
    Reds 87
    Twins 84
    Phillies 82
    Orioles 80

    In total, the Giants have a .580 win percentage in one-run games over the past three seasons, while the other 29 teams cumulatively have a .497 win percentage.

  4. pawliekokonuts said, on January 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    One deep but inexpressible word: t h a n k s.

    • eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

      yo, dude, you did it, it is we whom give thanks 🙂

  5. twinfan1 said, on January 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

    There’s still a prejudice among writers and fans favoring teams with powerful offenses. Even though we ended up a good hitting team this year, we didn’t have those sexy home runs. Some people just can’t get past that. There’s nothing sexy about leading the league in sac flies or having 3 loogies and a manager who knows how to use them. But those things win ballgames. The Giants are a team for knowledgeable fans to enjoy. Well, 3 bombs off the Best Pitcher on the Planet *was* kinda sexy…

    • eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

      pablo, 3 home runs – IN ONE GAME
      I agree fans want sex, fans want total domination, fans want a team that, like the evil empire, rack up wins.
      me? I am for any win, any game, any 9 innings
      and like I have said, my team now is the best. Any sexy team will be just?
      Of course we know, a pitcher’s duel is better than a pitcher’s battering.
      Like a wedding, a winning team is much better than a hard hitting team. Unless they are the same. ’72 cards

  6. Alleykat said, on January 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Pawlie,Im so diggin the cover of your new book “World Serious”, I can see the utmost Dedication,Heart and Passion from you as a Die-hard Giants fan!!! The backdrop of the “Pure Baseball Field “and you mixed in with other fans is brilliant..
    It’s a honor and pleasure that you even mention us mere (OneFlap Down 77)mortals in your book.I will be looking to pick up a copy soon,and know i will fully enjoy it!!!

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      hey, thanks, Kat. It was Pure Joy.

  7. twinfan1 said, on January 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I see that Craig put a link to my blog with the others, on the right. Thank you. The current subject is the Fiscal Cliff deal, but you can say ANYTHING!

    • twinfan1 said, on January 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Well, except for a list of several thousand exceptions which you won’t know about until your thoughtful post is deleted for no apparent reason.

  8. snarkk said, on January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    The East Coasters dismiss the Giants as luckyass. Because they don’t see them except for the playoffs. When a team wins by one run, or by scratching a run or two, and good defense (not to mention Panda’s 3 HR game) with pitching, if you see that over the span of just one or even two series, you say it’s just luck. Even if they win the WSeries 2 of 3 years, and when they sweep this WSeries. We see the Giants daily. They do in the POs what they do daily. We see it, we get it. The disbelievers only see the snapshot. We see the movie. Doesn’t matter, they can disbelieve all they want. We can look and have photos taken with the two trophies. Luckyass indeed…

    • eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      I have always thought it was better to be good than lucky. My team has been grinding it out and is why they are sticking together. Will 2013 be a good year? A team year? A Lucky year? A SF Giants year? 162 games is a long hard haul. Fuck every one of any executive-scout-player evaluator that thinks different. This team can play.I still doubt the medical staff as being average. I still hope it is a team effort. Relaxed, day-by-day. And if TL doesn’t make it back? Shit fuck bitch cunt asshole mother fucker Shit fuck bitch cunt asshole mother fuckerShit fuck bitch cunt asshole mother fucker

  9. Flavor said, on January 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    coached my 4th grade girls today (basketball). Played David Shaw’s daughter’s team. She’s epic. Shaw was there, holding a football. Cheesy? I thought so. Otherwise he was just a low key dad watching the game. I was wearing my customary Stanford hat….
    We beat them 42-16.
    Rose Bowl, Shmoz Bowl…….
    I hope WillieD is around to read this. His coaching tips have been invaluable to me.

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      That is a cool story. Congrats!

    • willedav said, on January 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      yw my man. Confidence and success go together so well—hopefully the success you have with your team gives them the confidence to learn more, trust each other and have fun.

      • Flavor said, on January 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        In the 4th Q I just had them work on passing drills. I said 5 passes, then you can shoot. It felt like the right thing to do, we were killing them.
        Shaw’s daughter is an incredible athlete. She’s fast as fuck and she steals any pass near her. But her team sucks. And you can’t play a zone so I just had my girl who she was guarding hang out in the corner, totally neutralized her D–my player loved doing it, she was giggling most of the time–she knew how good Shaw’s kid was, we all remembered her from last year.
        We only ran the “Shaw D” for the first half, after that it just felt like overkill.
        Interesting thing is that Shaw didn’t show much emotion all game. You’d think that us effectively taking his daughter out of half the game would irritate him a little. He just watched the game, flipped his football up in the air over and over. And he was mostly left alone, one dude asked to take a picture with him (which he did).

    • chipower9 said, on January 6, 2013 at 12:33 am

      Good show, Flavor…congrats to you and the girls. Keep on kicking some ass!

  10. Alleykat said, on January 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    BF…Like the 5 passes before you can shoot. A total “Hooisers” moment.
    Yeah that is “Cheesy” of Shaw to carry the pigskin around.Just get into your daughter’s game and support her.Plenty of basking time about the Rose Bowl win later.Still just craves the attention i guess.

    • snarkk said, on January 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      At least he didn’t wear a rose on his jacket…

  11. eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    we get so few stars here. I am jealous and proud at the same time. wtg my man

  12. eddacker said, on January 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    The whole Irish thing is happening again, it is so boring, like they think independence will go anywhere. We are all in this together. duh

    • snarkk said, on January 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Notre Dame, or Belfast?…

      • eddacker said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:35 am

        petrol bombs and something about a flag

  13. pawliekokonuts said, on January 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Brace yourself. One of these meet-a-stranger-giants-fan stories. So, Adrianna and I walk into the Panera Bread at Destiny USA, which is the high-sounding name for our mall, which is a mash of outlet stores, a vintage restored carousel (until August it was Carousel Center), a go-kart track, a ropes course at Wonder Works, and the usual mall crap — and less. As we were getting in line, Adrianna gave me the hi sign. “Dad.” with a nod of her head. “What?” “Giants fan. Look at the sweatshirt.” Sure enough, there was a man eating by the window with his wife and he was wearing those cool hoodies that the team wore in 2011, which I have tried unsuccessfully to buy online. “Excuse me, are you Giants fans?” Whereupon I launched into a fullly adrenalized attack telling about my fandom, my trip, my books, my pants size, and my social security number minus four digits, reversed. He was heavyset, with grey hair and a ready smile. His wife had wavy hair and brown eyes (I need to take the Writing 101 part on describing faces; have never been very good at it; admire writers who are). He smiled and said, “I gotta tell you, I’m really a Yankees fan. I mean I like the Giants but…” Like me, he would’ve welcomed a 1962 World Series rematch and agreed we woulda whupped the Yankees or anyone. Is wife is a Timmy fan. They took the Pacific Coast Highway from Portland to Malibu. Love SF. Saw a game at AT&T vs. the Dodgers. He played senior ball into his thirties. A catcher. Loved Thurman Munson. Said you can always tell the catchers who came to catching later, not “naturally.” Which is just about everyone. Felt Buster would not have been injured had he been positioned differently. Came up to me in line later and said, “Another thing about baseball that bothers me is that no one knows how to bunt.” I told him I shared his concern, but added: “What about Barry Zito? He had a hit, the first by a pitcher in something like 60 years?” I checked that afterwards. Actually, Zito’s RBI BUNT single in Game 5 of the NLCS was the second by a pitcher in postseason history, the first by Allie Reynolds in Game 2 of the 1947 WS.

    • Flavor said, on January 6, 2013 at 6:14 am

      I’d pay to be able to watch these encounters.

    • eddacker said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:37 am

      is there anything better? Only you remember the ’40s

      • PawlieKokonuts said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

        Well, I ain’t THAT old. I got that obscure fact from the cover of one of the discs of the 2012 WS DVD set, the one for NLCS game 5. I haven’t watched them yet. They are Blu-Ray. I am typically a visitor in the living room, where that piece of hardware is. Woulda preferred regular DVDs for my laptop, my private Idaho.

  14. Bozo said, on January 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    We got the Pack. Go Niners.

    • twinfan1 said, on January 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Hard to believe that a lot of observers seem to think they’d be easier than Washington or Seattle. IMO top 3 NFC teams are GBay, Niners, Atlanta in that order. With Woodson back, we’ll need to be at our best to beat them here.

      • Bozo said, on January 6, 2013 at 5:49 am

        My only reasons for not wanting the Skins are selfish, the bar I’ll be at to watch the game would have been all Washington fans. Although, that can be fun for that reason as well sometimes.

        Agree about the Pack, not only Woodson, but Matthews and Shields are getting healthy at the right time for them. It’s going to be a tough game. Glad it’ll be at the Stick.

  15. Macdog said, on January 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Lucky me, I found “World Serious” under the tree Christmas morning (OK, I gave my wife a little hint).

    • PawlieKokonuts said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Let’s get together again; as an excuse we’ll call it a signing. Danke.

  16. blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I had no idea the NFL playoffs had started, until I went out to an early dinner yesterday with a friend at a sports bar/restaurant. One of the few years I have been clueless about standings, players, etc., in NFL and College football (and I am someone who has made some relatively big bucks betting on games via my uncle, who was a bookie; as well as following the ‘Niners religiously for years).

    By the by, I also saw Django Unchained with my date yesterday. Good movie, but still processing it . . . A bit disturbed by the violence and non-stop use of the “N” word. However, certain parts of it was so funny, that it reminded me of Al Brooks, Blazing Saddles (seriously), as well as a couple of Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns. The satire was readily apparent. The entire cast was excellent and I fully expect Samuel Jackson to get nominated for an Academy Award. It was also fun, spotting “old time” actors, e.g., Don Johnson, James Remar, Michael Parks, Robert Carradine, Bruce Dern, Franco Nero, James Russo, and Tom Savini (great makeup artist as well).

    • dirtnrocksnomo said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      I saw Django Unchained too and wasn’t sure what to think of it. The constant N bombs were a bit over the top. I think the inversion of black and white hero and all the scenes basically being different than what is ever seen causes it to be interpreted on a subconscious level. I’m about 3 weeks removed from the movie now and thinking back I liked it but didn’t think it was Tarantino’s best.

      • dirtnrocksnomo said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        edit; interpreted differently

  17. zumiee said, on January 6, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I’ve spent the last several days buried deep into the John Lennon biography by Philip Norman, and then looking up certain Beatle-related clips on YouTube. Last night I stumbled upon interviews with Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon on YouTube, both of whom have struggled to make their own way in music in their lives. It kind of boggles my mind that Sean is now about 37 years old. To a lot of us, the big memory of him is as a little child in those filmclips of John and Yoko from the late 1970s. It sticks in the memory as much as little JFK, Jr. saluting at his father’s funeral.

  18. twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Even though it’s on my blog to be looked at, I’ve restored the “Room B” thread on the mass murders in Newtown after seeing Aurora, CO back in the murder game. Now I have no idea of the circumstances of this regarding assault and semi-automatic weapons but we had a very good conversation that I’d like to see renewed. I intend it to send it to my representatives.
    As we can all see, the children and their teachers of Newtown are barely in their graves and gun control legislation is quickly becoming, yet again, a pipe dream, an afterthought to even proponents- “we need to address the deficit, a new defense secretary, filibusters…and oh yeah, that gun thing..”

    • PawlieKokonuts said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

      I will take a look. I thought I saw a headline that gun control was priority 1, maybe at the NY Times. Man, we can’t even enact the most basic common-sense restrictions, like background checks for gun-show buyers. I think it was compelling that Gabrielle Giffords went to Newtown to meet with folks. Maybe she will become an advocate lile Jim Brady, WHO WORKED FOR REAGAN and was still castigated by the NRA for his efforts.

      • Bozo said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

        Perhaps it’s the number 1 priority to the POTUS which is what the NYT was probably stating. According to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. R-Ky, it’s not. From ABC This Week, “McConnell said that the biggest issue facing the country in the next year is the deficit and spending. And he predicted that the issue would occupy the congressional agenda in the first three months of the year, overtaking Obama’s other priorities, including gun control.”

      • twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

        It’s already in the “death knell” stage- a commission has been empowered to look into it. As much respect as I have for Biden, commissions seem to inevitably result in lofty recommendations that will require further study by another commission who will recommend….

      • James said, on January 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

        Note the “days till” photo. Nice juxtaposition.

      • Flavor said, on January 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        I thought the days-till photo was too artistic for most of you to figger out. 🙂

      • twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        Tough to stump James. Not my favorite band, BTW.

  19. Alleykat said, on January 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    That’s awesome MacDog…Cant wait to get a copy myself..
    Speaking of Christmas suprise’s…My daughter Callie gave 2 most cherished gifts. A copy of “San Francisco Treat” The Giants Win Their Second World Series In Three Years! The cover of Buster’s full out sprint to the mound,and huge smile, arms spread wide open as he’s about to give Sergio Romo a bear hug!!!
    And even better,and much more cherished.My daughter went to the W/S parade super early,had front row curb standing spot with her friends,and took some beautiful shots ofplayers
    My 2 favorite photo’s are with her and 3 of her friends all decked out in Giants gear,and asking a SF Cop to take a picture of them thru a curb side retaining metal barrier with bars so it looks like their all in jail.Freakin Classi!
    The other photo is my daughter with her head tilted sideways with her mouth open,and looks like she’s ketching a mouth full of Giant’s Orange& Black confetti in her Full Giant’s gear!!
    She made me a fantastic collague of Pictures in a Black frame for a cherished Christmas gift.

    SF Cop to take a photo of them with their heads between a curb side little retaing wall,so it looks like their all in jail.Freakin Classic!!
    Another great shot,my daughter,head tilted

  20. blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve added a few threads to my blog in the last few days, including my own “fish” story ( 🙂 ) . . . Thank you for your patronage!


    Twin, what is your impression of portable keyboards for tablets? I am thinking about getting a Zagg Keys Flex tablet keyboard, that is compatible with Android (which I have) and IOS platforms. The cover also converts to a stand. Thanks . . .

    • twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Steve, I’m really a My Big Fat PC kind of guy but the keyboard you’re thinking of getting seems to a have a very good rep, reviews seem to be almost universally good. I’ve sent you a video review link to your Email.

      • blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

        Me too (MY BIG FAT PC). That’s one area that ALL tablets fail in – productivity. They are great for entertainment, such as checking your email, but if I am going to maintain my blog and write emails to family and friends, visit here, etc., I need something more tactile than a touchscreen.

      • twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        I’ve pretty much downgraded my stuff. I used to have servers and monster PCs that would delete the neighbor with a mouse click.Now I have an HTPC, a pretty basic Dell laptop that isn’t used for much except for Audible books and when I’ve been to the hospital, and my everyday one that I do any heavy duty stuff with. Then I have some Gamers put away. Maybe I’ll get a tablet someday but our situation makes us homies…a date is a blood panel and a burger 😉
        It’s a nice area to be at home in though and a real bonus- it’s FLAT.

    • dirtnrocksnomo said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Had the portable keyboard for IPad. thumbs down.

      • blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        Dirt, I’m curious – why was that specifically, e.g., too small, tactile feel wasn’t right, or something else?

      • dirtnrocksnomo said, on January 6, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        All of those things. I had the flexible one from Brookstone. The best part of it was the portability but typing was a pain in the ass. Personally I don’t type or do a lot of word processing on the IPad though so I don’t have much use for it. I could see it working well for you when traveling.

      • blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Ahh. Thanks. This one sounds pretty good. All the reviews were excellent and the video Mike provided was the clincher.

  21. blade3colorado said, on January 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Yeah, that video you sent convinced me. I read 3 other reviews that were also excellent with regard to this keyboard, but I was still uncertain about the size. Your video provides perspective on the size – very, very important to me insofar as bringing something small, but will also be functional for typing – by showing the reviewers hands and the keyboard throughout the video. This was something Zagg’s product video didn’t do as well, i.e., I was concerned about packing this in my back pack for my RTW trip. However, I have no qualms now . . . I just purchased it.

    • twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Hope it works out…I thought that was a pretty good video.

  22. twinfan1 said, on January 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    What a crappy bunch of football games this weekend.

    • Nipper said, on January 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      A good crap is underrated.

      • eddacker said, on January 7, 2013 at 12:27 am

        no bowl like a toilet bowl

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