Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Baseball is back

Football may have supplanted baseball as the current modern pastime, but for my money, baseball’s opening day is still king. After a winter spent playing Dominican winterball or fishing with family and friends, major leaguers have spent the early spring shaking out the cobwebs. Opening Day was Monday and the season is underway. It is too early to judge, but some players look red hot while others look like they are still mired in the cobwebs.

Baseball received a double black-eye over the past few seasons. Rampant player salaries and the steroid scandal drove some fans away, but the game remains and very little in this world beats some Cracker Jacks and a day at the ballpark.

I have enjoyed the following books recently:

Ball Four (Jim Bouton)
Bouton’s infamous “day in the life” found him blacklisted by the baseball establishment. Only recently has he been welcomed back into the fold. Bouton reveals the pranks, the camaraderie, and daily grind of a season.

Fair Ball (Bob Costas)
Costas discusses the greed that nearly killed baseball and resulted in the players’ strike of 1994.

Pitching in a Pinch (Christy Mathewson)
Mathewson remains one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Written after he retired, Pitching in a Pinch provides a fascinating account of what baseball was like in the 1900s and 1910s.


Chris said...

WP Kinsella's short story 'The Thrill of the Grass' should be required reading for opening day, in my opinion. I was introduced to Kinsella via KUTs broadcast of the reading of this story on Selected Shorts. Its captured on a collection of baseball related readings and poems which was put out by PRI recently. It would be great if APL could put that into the collection... hint hint.

My 5 (almost 6! he says) year old son loves going out to the backstop and hitting at balls I lob to him... pitching and catching, it is some of the absolute best blood pressure medicine around. I feel the stress of a workday bleed off as I take the ball, underhand it softly out to his tiny strike zone and he whacks it with a satisfying PING!

Fence Austin said...

"Moneyball" by Michael Lewis is another great read regarding baseball. Quickly becoming a classic...