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jbradway

jbradway

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Bottom of the 33rd

Bottom of the 33rd - Dan Barry This is my favorite book so far this year, which is surprising only because most of the people I've told about it think it sounds a bit like torture.I love minor league ball, for starters, but don't know if I'd have been one of the dozens that actually sat through 32 innings of a game on Easter morning. I don't think I'd have made it through reading much of a play by play of such an event, either. Luckily, this Bottom of the 33rd is not that. In fact, some of the innings are summed up in a succinct 5 words (strikeout, strikeout, walk, single, groundout) so as not to let the game get in the way of the story.Barry is almost obviously a journalist. (I mean that in the most positive sense.) His book had to answer who? what? where? when? and why? within a plot laid down by life. In doing so, the game is viewed as a snapshot of an era, an examination of its significance to the sport, to the nation, to the players, and to the fans. To get the questions answered, the author delves into the past of the stadium, the town of Pawtucket, the youthful endeavors of the players and, sometimes, the fans. He goes forward in the players' lives, especially that of Dave Koza, to map the effect of this single game. And, in the present of 1981, Barry delves into the minutiae of preparing the field, fixing the clubhouse meal, laying out the bats, prepping balls for the game, and the motivations of fan, player, umpire, and owner. Why did you stay? Why did you play? Why didn't you call the damn game at curfew, Ump?!Loved it.