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  • Jun 24, 2010
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Pros: Light and breezy, but also very interesting and thoughtful

Cons: Did Milano HAVE to pimp her clothing line and talk about her relationships with ballplayers?

The Bottom Line: Where there is baseball, you'll find Alyssa Milano, and you'll hardly be able to argue that being a bad thing.

Since the release of Alyssa Milano's book, Safe at Home, I've seen a lot of reviewers bashing Milano. The particularly disturbing aspect of it all, however, is that the bashing resembles the way movies critics race to bash notoriously terrible movies. It's as though there is a contest to think up the nastiest thing to say about the actress. 

This is very unfair to Milano. I once noted in a review I wrote about Brothers, a cancelled sitcom starring football legend Michael Strahan, that we want to judge celebrities according to their public talents. Hence, with Strahan being a football player, we're inclined to want to remember him as a great quarterback terrorizer and not give him half a chance as a TV funnyman. (Strahan was actually game to his TV role.) In the same way, we want Milano to be the hot TV star, and we think we know everything about her according to what she does onscreen. But Alyssa Milano has always been a huge baseball fan. She's made no secret of that. Her fandom is more than just daddy's little girl fandom too - Milano has done playoff coverage for TBS, created a line of clothes for sports fans, and writes a blog on the MLB website. To lightly dismiss Safe at Home just because Alyssa Milano wrote it is plain wrong.

Milano knows her baseball. She really, REALLY knows it. No, Safe at Home isn't an attempt to be Golenbock or Kahn. It isn't trying to be. All Safe at Home wants to be is the story of a girl and her team, and what the sport means to her. 

Safe at Home is less about baseball than it is about baseball fandom. One chapter is about the heroes and villains of baseball. Another is about cheating. There is a chapter about good ways to pass the time during the offseason, a chapter about what Milano would do if given the commissioner's reigns for a few days, and a chapter about the ways baseball can potentially find you and turn you into a fan. I was a little less enthused about the fact that Milano threw in a chapter to pimp Touch, her line of sports clothing, but that's okay because the book doesn't revolve around it. It never even comes up until the twelfth chapter, and Safe at Home has thirteen chapters. 

Much of Safe at Home revolves around Milano's relationship with baseball. Milano, for those who don't know, was a childhood star at one time, and we all know the tragic stories of many childhood stars. Reading Safe at Home, one gets the impression that it was her devotion to baseball which kept her grounded during her transition to adulthood. The sport also helps her feel closer to her family, especially her brother, with whom she confesses that she would like to drive from ballpark to ballpark and take in games with. 

Safe at Home is interspersed with quick sidebars called Wild Pitches. These are informative little sections which trail off the given topic of a chapter and focus on things that are unique or odd. One Wild Pitch is about the two most infamous promotions that ever happened to baseball - I refer, of course, to Cleveland's Ten-cent Beer Night and Disco Demolition Night for the Chicago White Sox. Another is about the wife swap which occurred between two Yankee players, and another focuses on baseball clothing through the decades. 

Alyssa Milano of course once had a reputation for being a serial dater of baseball players. I guess she suspected that a lot of reviewers would bring the subject up, so she preempted us on the issue. In one chapter, she sets the record straight on who she's dated, who she hasn't, and why she dated so many ballplayers. Honestly, I didn't need her to justify this - it's her life, after all. But what she does after getting it out of the way is segue into advice on what to do if your loved ones don't quite share your love of baseball. She talks about what she does to get her own loved ones into it and how they work. 

Milano's chapter about The Numbers - baseball statistics - is short and quick and doesn't give a whole lot of great insight on what many of the numbers are. It's mainly in the book to talk about the meaning of the numbers. Her chapter about how to actually BE a better fan is funny and heartwarming and includes short anecdotes about the way her family acts in their fandom; it also offers pretty good advice on how to actually be a better fan. 

Overall, Safe at Home is a very random but worthwhile read by one of the most famous and knowledgeable baseball fans in the country. It's very difficult to sum it all up in a single review. But it's breezily written and easily read and offers a lot of well-reasoned insight on how a game can be an obsession.

This review was just published on Lit Bases, my blog on baseball literature.


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review by . June 01, 2010
If you love either Alyssa Milano or Baseball, you will enjoy reading this interesting view of baseball and the role it has played in her life. As a boy a few years younger than Alyssa, I watched her on Who's The Boss and loved her. Of course, being a boy I also loved Baseball, including watching baseball, playing baseball, and collecting baseball cards. Although I'm not the mega-fan that Alyssa is, I do enjoy watching my teams (Astros & Rangers) and I enjoy watching the game in general. I give …
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About this book


Alyssa Milano is in love; she has been for some time. But the object of her affection isn't the subject of tabloid gossip or an actor; in fact, it isn't even a guy. It's a game, a game of nine innings that uses a ball made of leather and cork. A game called baseball.

Now in Safe at Home, Alyssa Milano, the mind behind the bestselling sports-clothing line Touch, tells the story about her lifelong obsession with baseball, revealing what the game has meant to her and why everyone should take a chance on nine innings. Like it does for so many of us, Alyssa's baseball story begins with a father. A native Brooklynite who scorned the Dodgers for abandoning the city he loved, her father was reunited with the team when he and his young daughter moved out west for a fledging TV show called Who's the Boss. It was then that Alyssa learned one of the fundamental truths of the game: No matter where you are, no matter how old you are, baseball connects you to your past.

As it turned out, the Dodgers were just the beginning. More than simply a book about the Dodgers, Safe at Home offers a view from the bleachers unlike any other, as Alyssa gives a fan's perspective on the heart-ache, headache, and joy that make every baseball season worth following. From arguing about the importance of baseball history to appreciating the quiet months of the off-season to criticizing Major League Baseball's response to the steroid scandal, Alyssa intertwines her thoughts about the game with stories from ...

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ISBN-10: 0061625108
ISBN-13: 978-0061625107
Author: Alyssa Milano
Publisher: William Morrow

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