Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baseball Writing: Fiction not Boxscores

Spring training is underway, with half of the league in Arizona and the other half in Florida. March 31st serves as the season's opening day. Baseball journalism has provided some of the best sportswriting over the past century. Memorable moments on the diamond found their way into print and in newspapers across the country. Longform baseball journalism held lofty places in exalted national magazines. Over the past few years I have caught up on my baseball writing in preparation for the season. This year I have taken a different approach. Rather than peruse the limitless tomes of America's baseball writers, I have turned to fiction. Countless novelists have included America's pasttime in their work.

Some great fiction that features baseball (admittedly, some more prominently than others):

Don Delillo's Underworld

Philip Roth's The Great American Novel

W.P. Kinsella's The Iowa Baseball Confederacy

Michael Chabon's Summerland

Bernard Malamud's The Natural

Ring Lardner's Ring Around the Bases


Chris said...

I have got to recommend Kinsella's The Thrill of the Grass... It is filled with images which an ardent fan of the game will love and a wonderful subversive humor. If you can find it, there is a Selected Shorts recording of it being read live before an audience. It was what introduced me to Kinsella's work. I'm curious, have you read Shoeless Joe by Kinsella, the basis for Field of Dreams?

liblairian said...

Chris--Thanks for the tip about The Thrill of the Grass. I'll check it out. I've yet to read Shoeless Joe. I've meant to for years, but haven't gotten around to it. While not fiction, Jim Bouton's Ball Four remains my favorite baseball book.