Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by John Dicker & r & Wrecking Crew by John Albert & r & John Albert's oddly joyous new book Wrecking Crew profiles what may or may not be an emerging subculture: The Born-Again Jock. These are the guys who shined sports as teens because the coach didn't like their long hair or because the idea of adult-supervised fun was no longer, uh, fun. They may have lost their chance at a scholarship but they never lost the love of the game, even as their adult lives fell apart.


Albert's Griffith Park Pirates baseball team are united by the kind of midlife narratives that typically elicit "sucks to be you" shrugs, and by a repulsion toward the reigning careerist values of Los Angeles. Albert's life is typical of many Pirates. As founder of the band Christian Death and former drummer for the legendary Bad Religion, he boasted a solid punk rock pedigree. And like many of his teammates, Albert's youth was awash in bad decisions.


"When the Sex Pistols sang about 'no future,' someone should have informed [us] that it was merely rebel agitprop and not a design for living," he writes. So now, in his 40s and with a case of Hepatitis C from years of casual syringing -- and a career writing screenplays you've never heard of -- Albert is an unlikely candidate for right field as anyone. As he puts it: "For someone like me, an anti-social intellectual who had spent his life sneering at any kind of middle-class normalcy, joining a baseball team felt oddly subversive."


Most of Wrecking Crew is a series of profiles of the Griffith Park Pirates. These illuminating and often hilarious vignettes paint a complex portrait of a diversely dysfunctional team and their heartbreaking struggles for redemption.


Maybe the prospect of grown men playing baseball -- and taking it seriously -- seems downright pathetic. But as Albert shows, baseball is rarely about baseball alone. In a city where an entire servile class yearns for the TV pilot that turns into a sitcom, playing a sport for no other reason than the moment is as countercultural as any inner-lip tattoo.


So maybe punk's not dead. Maybe it's about to steal second.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation