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PostHeaderIcon SF Giants Book Scores Big with Fans

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If  you have a Giants fan on your holiday shopping list, here’s the perfect gift: “Game of My Life: San Francisco Giants Memorable Stories of Giants Baseball.” Better yet, have the book signed by Bay Area author Matt Johanson. You can visit his website at www.mattjohanson.com.

Johanson will be at the Dublin Barnes and Noble at 2 p.m on Dec. 3 and at San  Francisco’s Green Apple at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3. Buy a book, meet the author, and Go Giants!

Here is our interview with Johanson:

ANNB: How long have you been a Giants fan and how did you get started following the team?
MJ: When I was growing up, most of the neighborhood kids were Giants fans and I caught the fever from them. The team was terrible in those years but I was hooked anyway. There was no going back.

ANNB: What makes the team so special?
MJ: Well, the Giants have had great players like Will Clark and Brian Wilson who have produced some special memories, which I tried to capture in the book. Over the years the team has also lost enough to make the fans appreciate any success. Baseball in general brings families and communities closer together. I think that’s pretty special, too.


ANNB: There are so many memorable stories of Giants baseball. How did you ever narrow them down into 235 pages?
MJ: I tried to capture the most significant games in the team’s history so I included all the pennant clinchers: 1962, 1989, 2002 and 2010. I also wanted to include games that were personally significant, like Dave Dravecky’s comeback from cancer game in 1989 and Brian Dallimore’s grand slam in his first start in 2004.

ANNB: What were some interesting things you learned about the team and its players?
MJ: The biggest names were often hard to reach for interviews but readers want to read about stars like Willie Mays so I hung in there and got most of them. I really came to like and respect the stars who were still gracious and approachable despite their fame. These included Felipe Alou, Mike Krukow, Robb Nen and Kirk Rueter. Most of the lesser-known players like Bobby Bolin and “Dirty Al” Gallagher were happy to contribute too and told great stories.

ANNB: Is this book for everyone or only Giants fans?
MJ: It’s especially for Giants fans but I like to think that it has compelling stories that will appeal to anyone, like the Bob Brenly game from 1986. He made four errors in a single inning, a dubious major league record, and felt more embarrassment than he ever had in his life. Then he erupted at the plate with three hits, four RBIs and a walk-off home run. He still hears from people inspired by the way he dug deep and fought back from the worst moment of his career.

ANNB: This is a revision of an earlier book. Tell us a little bit about that?
MJ: The first edition came out in 2007. I had always wanted to update it and the 2010 season provided the perfect opportunity.

ANNB:  Where were you and how were you feeling when they won the World Series?
MJ: My dad and I saw the Giants clinch the division on the last day of the season, which was terrific. I saw the last terrifying playoff game against the Phillies at my sister-in-law’s house and probably wore out her carpet with all my nervous pacing. My wife and I attended Game 2 of the World Series, which they won. Then we watched the last games at home. The championship was thrilling for all Giants fans but especially for us die-hards because it ended a lifetime of disappointment and heartbreak.

ANNB: How do you feel about the Giants season in 2011?
MJ: Missing the playoffs was disappointing, of course, but I feel that after a World Series championship, the fans can’t be too unhappy about anything for at least five years.

ANNB: You have written other books. Tell us a little bit about that.
MJ: The first was “Giants, Where Have You Gone,” which is a collection of where-are-they-now stories about former Giants players. I co-wrote it with an old friend, Wylie Wong. We tracked down old players with interesting life stories, like Willie McCovey, Jim Barr and Jack Clark.
My other is “Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America’s Greatest Playground.” It’s a compilation of adventure stories from outdoors figures like Royal Robbins, Steve Roper, Lynn Hill and Tommy Caldwell. Most of them involve a close call of some kind, like Peter Croft who survived a rock climb through an icy waterfall.
ANNB: What's up next for you?
MJ: I’m deciding between a couple of outdoors topics. I’d like to write a Yosemite guidebook featuring my favorite hikes, climbs and ski trips. Or I might write a book of California epics with adventure stories from throughout the state.--KB

Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 November 2011 23:57)


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