Monday, November 17, 2014

Review of "Double Play"

In previous reviews and posts, I have mentioned that I have been looking to add sport romance books to my reading lists, as long as they include the sport prominently.  This memoir by Ben Zobrist and his wife Julianna is one of the best - because it is a real life romance, not fictional. A book I thoroughly enjoyed, here is my review of "Double Play." 

“Double Play” by Ben and Julianna Zobrist with Mike Yorkey

Baseball, Rays, faith, Christianity romance, marriage

Publish date:
April 1, 2014

261 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

When I saw this biography of current Tampa Bay Rays infielder Ben Zobrist, I wasn’t sure what to take away from this book.  Knowing that he was a man of faith and that his wife was a popular Christian singer, I was expecting to read a biography about his success that was completely due to his faith in God. Ben Zobrist did talk about that, but this book was so much more than just a message of inspiration.

This couple was brought together, in both of their minds, because of their faith.  Both wanted to pursue their dreams – Ben in baseball, Julianna in music – and wanted to make sure that the path they took toward those goals was the one that they felt God would lead them to.  They are good stories; especially Ben’s when he paid $50 for a tryout that led to a baseball scholarship and eventually a professional contract.   

However, I felt what was the best part of this book was the budding romance between the two of them and how both of them never wavered from their principles just to be together.  It had to be right and within their beliefs and they made it happen.  I have noted before that I was looking for good sports romance books – that this one happened in real life made it of the best sports romances a reader could ask for.

The book alternates narratives throughout, although some of Ben’s passages about baseball are longer.  He covers every part of his career – his college days, his minor league career when he was a newlywed and the struggles he first had with Tampa and what he did to improve enough to be named to the All-Star game in 2008. There is enough baseball talk to satisfy sports fans and yet it is basic enough that readers who do not follow the game can understand.

Julianna talks about her past issues, including a harrowing experience in her youth, her struggles with relationships and her love of music that eventually led to a recording contract.  Her story also includes her relationship with God, her trials and tribulations as a baseball wife and her joy of not only doing something she loves but also her joy of being a mother.

This book was an uplifting, refreshing sports biography.  Instead of the stories of hardship, drinking, womanizing and later regret, the reader is treated to learning about two people who through the love of their God, they discovered their love for each other. 

I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
This was an extremely quick read as I completed the book in one sitting in less than two hours.  The switching between Ben’s and Julianna’s stories was a big reason for this.

Do I recommend? 
This is a book that readers of many different genres will enjoy. There is enough baseball talk for a fan to enjoy.  Readers who like inspiring stories, especially those based around the Christian faith, will want to read this book. Romance novel readers will think one of their fictional reads will have come to real life when reading this book.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

Buying links:


  1. It's refreshing to read a story of wholesomeness in the midst of so many professionals who are greedy self-absorbed. I follow the ray during the spring and he has always seemed genuine in interviews. Nice job Lance

    1. Thank you Harold. Between their devotion to their faith, their love for one another and the genuine happiness expressed in the book, reading this was a breath of fresh air.