The Only Way Is the Steady Way: Baseball, Ichiro, and How We Watch the Game

Invisible Publishing / April 2, 2021

The Only Way Is the Steady Way is a baseball memoir in scorecards and baseball cards, a recollection of the game’s biggest stars and outlandish personalities, and introspective letters to a legendary player. These essays examine the meaning of baseball across international borders and at all levels of the game—from Little League diamonds to big league ballparks. Parents learn unexpected lessons at t-ball, cheap souvenirs reveal their hidden significance, and baseball’s beating heart is exposed through sharply beautiful observations about the history of the game. Forbes locates peace, reassurance, and a way to measure the passage of time with home run bonanzas, old games on YouTube, and especially in the unique career of beloved outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

Just as he did in The Utility of Boredom, Forbes shows us how a summertime distraction might help us to make sense of the world, and how a certain enigmatic Japanese superstar offers a surprising ethos for living.

Praise for The Only Way Is the Steady Way:

The Only Way Is the Steady Way turns Andrew Forbes loose as a writer, and what emerges is a collage of emotion and clever observation of baseball’s larger meaning. His writing is poetic, imbued with nostalgia, and another reminder that baseball is the most literary of sports.

—Brad Balukjian, author of The Wax Pack: On the Open Road In Search of Baseball’s Afterlife

Andrew Forbes writes so well about everything, with such a keen eye for detail and the texture of life, that you can sometimes forget that the occasion for these essays is baseball. And yet, there he always is, like a nimble infielder, with a fresh insight or deft turn on the game. There is no other writer working now whose baseball writing I admire more. This companion to The Utility of Boredom is a true gift.

—Mark Kingwell, author of Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters and On Risk

You don’t have to love (or even like) baseball to love The Only Way Is the Steady Way. Forbes’ writing about baseball, something he’s loved his entire life, transcends statistics, standings, highlight reels, and hype, and captures soul—not the soul of the game, but the soul of fandom. If you do love baseball, or have had any fond feelings about the game at some point in your life, you will find your feelings put into writing in the pages of this book. Baseball may not save the world, but this book will remind you that it does indeed matter.

—Brendan Leonard, author of The Art of Getting Lost

You do this for long enough, and you begin to crave originality like a desert wanderer craves cool clear water. Andrew Forbes’s essays are cool and clear and may well slake the thirst of any thinking baseball fan.

—Rob Neyer, author of Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game

Andrew Forbes’s love of baseball is the most honest and difficult kind: clear-eyed, thoughtful, willing to see the flaws along with the beauty. This book is a beauty. Through the lens of Ichiro Suzuki’s magnificent career, Forbes examines our potential and our prejudices, helping us see the times that make the game and the game that makes the times.

—Scott O’Connor, author of Zero Zone and Untouchable

In these charming essays, Forbes explores how his favourite sport first captured his imagination during his Little League days in the Ottawa suburbs and reflects on his present-day experiences as a father… What really stands out is the downright poetic way Forbes describes concepts like box scores and stats, as well as his loving depiction of baseball as a beautiful, Zen-like source of stillness and equanimity during life’s ups and downs. Even if you’ve never spent a happy night watching from the stands, The Only Way Is the Steady Way will take you there.

—Apple Books

This essay collection is a rainy-day read of a memoir from a Canadian writer and baseball traditionalist who comprehends the game at an elite observational level, yet writes about it accessibly. He believes watching or listening to a ball game will help soothe the anxieties brought on by the coronavirus. The same could be said for his relaxing, lucid essays.

The Globe and Mail

No sport lends itself to reflection more than baseball, and in The Only Way Is the Steady Way Andrew Forbes shines a new light on the sport through his own personal experiences as a baseball fan and one of the more thoughtful thinkers about how baseball informs our world. The storytelling is enough to make this book worth reading, but it’s the introspection and wisdom that makes this book truly special.

—Alex Wong, co-author of We the Champs

Forbes is an accomplished narrator of the game and The Only Way Is the Steady Way is a pleasure that I fully expect to return to whenever I feel a need for a top up. Whether you have grown up surrounded by baseball or been drawn to it from afar, there is much to enjoy.

Live Many Lives

Forbes’ essays are as consumable as a large tub of popcorn.

Sandra Marchetti, Fansided

A seventh-inning stretch of profound wisdom.

Tom Hoffarth, Farther Off the Wall

[T]his book of essays by Andrew Forbes is as elegant and meditative and in love with baseball as Ichiro himself.

—Devin Gordon, author of So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets—The Best Worst Team in Sports

[A] thoughtful consideration of the sport, creatively told through scorecards, baseball cards, and open letters to Ichiro Suzuki, the Japanese-born baseball star whose charismatic personality and achievements in the game have made him a fan favorite for two decades.

Ralph Lauren Magazine

Transcendent prose.

Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness