I just got a call from my editor. She said she woke up at 5am last night with an epiphany for a possible new title. (It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s losing sleep over it.)
She suggested calling it:
Ballhawks: The Legacy, The Obsession, And The Insanity Surrounding the Baseball
The book, as it stands now, is tentatively titled “Five Ounces and 108 Stitches,” but we’ve been considering other titles such as “The Glory of the Baseball” or “The Actual Baseball Itself” or “Cork, Rubber, and Cowhide.” (A friend of mine jokingly suggested calling it “Absorb the Orb” or “The Sphere we Hold Dear” or “Bleed for the Seed” or “The Thrill of the Pill.”)
As you may already know, this book is going to cover all the historical and factual stuff about baseballs (including evidence of the juiced ball controversy dating back to the 1860s), as well as a ton of quirky/wacky/funny stories. There are going to be chapters called “Death by Baseball,” “Foul Ball Lore,” “Foul Balls in Pop Culture,” “Stunts,” and more. There’s going to be a ballhawk glossary at the end. There are going to be blurbs about famous fans and celebrity ballhawks. There’s also going to be a whole chapter about ballhawking controversies, and the final third of the book is going to be a massively new-and-improved “How to Snag” section. This book covers SO much stuff. It’s insane. And yeah, I’m still trying to find the right title for it.
Three months ago, I wrote this blog entry in which I tried to distance myself from the word “ballhawk.” As I mentioned back then, the word has negative connotations. But now I’m starting to think…why hide from it as if it’s a bad thing? Why not own it and reclaim it and show the world that being a “ballhawk” is something to be proud of? The ball is the object that’s at the center of the baseball universe. It’s a cultural and historical phenomenon. That’s why people are so crazy about studying them and collecting them — and why Todd McFarlane paid $3.005 million for one in 1999. This book is a celebration of the ball and (in part) the people who obsess over it. Would a “Ballhawks” title capture that in a positive way? Or would it be too specific and discourage people from reading it? I welcome everyone’s thoughts. Help me tweak the new “Ballhawks” subtitle so that it fully captures the scope of this book. Or feel free to suggest a whole new title. If there’s something on your mind, I want to hear it.
Finally, if you’d like me to email you when the book comes out in March 2011, let me know. I’ll add you to the growing list of people who have requested an official reminder.