Tag Archives: Baseball

Book Review – Bottom of the 33rd

Bottom of the 33rdBottom of the 33rd: Hope and Redemption in Baseball’s Longest Game by Dan Barry

Bottom of the 33rd oozes baseball from every corner. You can practically hear the crack of the bat, smell freshly cut grass and oiled leather and taste the Cracker Jacks. Set against the backdrop of the longest game in baseball history, 33 innings played by the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings in 1981, author Dan Barry weaves a larger story about baseball dreams made real and more often how those dreams unravel. He brings to life the players, including future Hall-of-Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs, along with managers, coaches, the die-hard fans who sat through over 8 hours of baseball in freezing April temperatures, the umpires, bat boys, and even McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  Although I would say that I enjoyed this book, I will admit it dragged in the middle and might not hold the attention of less devoted baseball fans. But if you feel a longing for a day (a long day) at the ballpark, pick up Bottom of the 33rd

Some bonus baseball quotes (just because I feel like it!):

I see great things in baseball. It’s our game — the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
–Walt Whitman

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
–A. Bartlett Giamatti, “The Green Fields of the Mind,” Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.
–Earl Weaver

Baseball? It’s just a game — as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. It’s a sport, business — and sometimes even religion.
–Ernie Harwell, “The Game for All America,” 1955

Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it’s a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so, the living and the dead.
–Richard Gilman

Book Review – The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told

The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever ToldThe Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told edited by Jeff Silverman (a Yankees fan but I tried not to hold that against him)

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”  – Rogers Hornsby

So what do I do during the long, long winter? Read about baseball. Editor Jeff Silverman has cobbled together some of the best stories, both fact and fiction, about America’s national past time. It includes classics like Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine and memories of greats like Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle. There are fictional tales from the likes of W.P. Kinsella, author of “Shoeless Joe” which would become the movie “Field of Dreams” and my (admittedly biased) favorite, Vin Scully’s call of the last three outs of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. Baseball has all the makings of good storytelling – poetry, characters and drama – as evidenced by the many great stories are gathered together in this book. It brings back, if only for a moment, the feeling of summer days at ballpark and the sights, smells and sounds of America’s greatest game.

Pitchers & Catchers report in 8 days!

52 Books in 52 Weeks – Week #9

The Boys of SummerThe Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Total Reading Time: 6.75 hours

Review: First of all, traveling around with arguably one of the best teams in baseball history for your job AND then sitting around chatting with them about the golden years for a book? Really rough life. But seriously, Kahn’s gilded memories of the heydays of the Brooklyn Dodgers mixed to great effect with my own gilded memories of growing up with the Los Angeles Dodgers and discussing baseball with my family. And nostalgia can be a powerful emotion.