Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our National Pastime

Yogi Berra once said, “Congratulations, I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

A baseball record stands to be broken this year.  According to Ballpark Digest, attendance at Major League Baseball games is up 8.1 percent, and total attendance may exceed the record set in 2008.

Baseball fans have something to cheer about in Baseball as America: Seeing Ourselves Through Our National Game.  This collection of essays by popular writers, including Tom Brokaw, Philip Roth, George Plimpton, and Dave Barry, "delves into every aspect of' America's love affair with baseball.  Designed as a companion to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's traveling exhibit, Baseball documents memorable moments in baseball's history with lush illustrations.

Another entertaining nonfiction book is Michael Lewis's Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, an account of the Oakland A's phenomenal 2002 season, a success Lewis attributes to “a willingness to rethink baseball: how it is managed, how it is played, who is best suited to play it, and why.”  (The 2011 movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, is based on Lewis's book.)

Prefer fiction?  The Library has Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, and John Grisham’s Calico Joe.

Any last suggestions?  Only that when in doubt, follow Berra’s advice: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  (And check out The Yogi Book: "I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said!"  It's a classic.)

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