It’s that time of year when my weekly TV consumption increases by about 200% and the first newspaper section I read in the morning is sports. . . The World Series!
I’m not a huge baseball fanatic during the regular season, but when the post-season rolls around, I can’t help but get caught in the fever. In the spirit of this year’s Phillies v. Yankees showdown, I asked our Twitter followers for baseball book suggestions. We got a great variety of answers: from Wait Til Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir about bonding with her family through their love of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to Sliding into Home, Joanne Rock’s new Harlequin anthology of baseball-themed steamy short stories.
At the start of the season in April, sports blogger Martin Brady wrote a baseball roundup for BookPage. He recommended Matt McCarthy’s Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit, a memoir of a minor league player in Provo, Utah; Straw: Finding My Way, about former Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry; and others. If you’re intrigued by the lives of umpires (I am – do they ever get hate mail?), you’ll love Bruce Weber’s As They See ’Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires, in which the author “charts umpiring history, profiles some of the legendary practitioners, explains recent labor disputes and attempts to clarify some famous on-the-field incidents.”
So, in honor of the World Series, here’s a question to think about as you wait for tonight’s first pitch: What book best captures baseball?
The title that immediately comes to my mind is Bette Bao Lord’s now classic In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. My teacher read it to our class in the third grade, and I believe I got scolded for sneaking peeks at the book under my desk during math time (then went out an slugged a homer at my softball game after school.)