9 sports books you may have missed in 2014

Check out these sports titles you may have overlooked earlier this year.

8. 'I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back,' by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster

The authors describe their travelogue as “30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever.” Visiting so many major-league ballparks in such a short period required writing an algorithm to create the optimal itnerary, which still provided plenty of travel challenges and adventures.

“In any game, an astute observer can learn a great deal by paying careful attention to the Jumbotron. Knowledge comes often in the form of statistics or trivia about each player, or perhaps a summary of a memorable game played exactly 20 years prior. But a game at Nationals Park was about more than baseball. It was about educating the electorate. For example, who knew the word ‘wonk’ was ‘know’ spelled backwards, implying that a wonk was someone who knew things forward and backwards? We were not aware of this, and were not expecting to learn this fact at a baseball game. In no other ballpark would the Jumbotron be ceded to a political science professor to give minilessons. In D.C., where the city industry was ‘civics class,’ it was natural that the mascots were eleven-foot-tall presidents named George, Tom, Bill, Teddy, and Abe. The fans adored the government references, apparently finding nothing odd about past presidents joining the echelons of other mascot luminaries like the green blob from the Red Sox or the green blob from the Phillies.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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