Sometimes it takes an outsider to see something in a new way. Even something you’re likely to miss.
Photographer and former MTV News correspondent Tabitha Soren has, over the last 14 years, tracked the careers and lives of the members of the 2002 Oakland A’s draft class that were immortalized by her husband, Michael Lewis, in his book, Moneyball. But her driving interest wasn’t a love of the game. Instead, Soren developed a fascination with the pursuit and the minor league baseball players who were entranced by it despite the thin paycheck (at times, sub-poverty level) and the thin chance for success.
In Fantasy Life: Baseball And The American Dream, Soren shares pictures of those ballplayers and a collection of sights from around the game whose charms can sometimes be missed amidst the flurry of action. She also offers many of those players a chance to tell their own story. Not just about that journey, but about what they did when their childhood dreams ran out of juice. The included Dave Eggers short story about that same journey is worth mention as well.
In an interview with Uproxx Sports, Soren spoke to us about her lengthy project, highlighting those unique aspects of the game, her thoughts on America’s striving culture, her process, and the addiction that is baseball.
Uproxx Sports: What was it that drew you in to this project more than a decade ago?
Soren: I’m not a baseball fan, but when I met the 2002 draft class at the spring training that my husband dragged me to in 2003, I felt like I was meeting this whole group of winners. I didn’t really know that so few people who were drafted into a major league baseball organization would actually get to play for the major league team.
These young guys, most of them juniors out of college, were so full of hope and purpose that they were incredibly compelling. But, as time went on, I discovered that really my project was much more about fallibility than hanging out with winners.
How close did you get to these players: Are they friends or subjects? How closely do you root for their success?