Boston, MA: Author Chuck Palahniuk, noted for such books as Fight Club and Choke has turned to nonfiction for the first time. In December (just in time for the holidays), Scribner will be releasing Choke II – the Despicable True Story of the Boston Red Sox.
Originally thought to be a sequel to his well received and heartwarming novel Choke, Choke II is actually a parable that begins with the fabled Red Sox curse of the Bambino and ends with the embarrassing September of 2011 where they historically blew a 9 game lead in the wild card race and ultimately tallied 0 playoff appearances over a 2 year period in which they spent $360M in payroll. Palahniuk slyly notes, by point of comparison, that the salaries of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez combined ($40M) equals the ENTIRE payroll of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, who ultimately earned a wildcard berth in place of Boston.
Palahniuk, a Washington state native, has had a perverse obsession with the Red Sox for quite a while. As an immature baseball fan in his teens, he loved the Red Sox because he thought they represented working class Bostonians and as a working class boy/man himself, he could appreciate that.
As he got older and wiser he began to understand that being a Red Sox fan, like being a Yankees fan, actually holds no merit at all regarding good sportsmanship or the general spirit of competition. Instead, they became a team that had to pay for its success, spurning interest in long held sporting practices such as player development and fundamental coaching. The Red Sox (and Yankee) way was instead, ‘why develop a player when you can simply buy him?’ Palahniuk does a good job explaining that this ‘logic’ is akin to being a recreational tennis player and buying a new tennis racket every time you lose a match; or a new bike every time you lose a race, etc.
This book – Choke II – the Despicable True Story of the Boston Red Sox – is an essential companion to the book Moneyball, which ironically describes how the Tampa Bay Rays work, developing their own talent, drafting well, picking up players after much study and deliberation, etc. Palahniuk has stated that he intends to send Theo Epstein an autographed copy of this book.