Monday, April 1, 2013

Play Ball!

For most Major League baseball teams, today is opening day. I am quite a baseball fan. I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching baseball on television with my father. My grandfather took me to a couple of games when I was pretty young and was more interested in eating popcorn and drinking soda than watching what was happening on the field. 

I remember that at my first baseball game with Grandad, he bought me a box of Cracker Jacks and I was hoping the prize inside would be a whistle. It was and forever more, wishes granted and baseball have been entwined in my mind. 

Here are some fine baseball books that sit on my shelves:

Why Time Begins on Opening Day (1984)
Written by Thomas Boswell, who calls himself A Ballpark Wanderer. A true lover of the game, he writes:

As each season begins, we always feel the desire to capsulize and define the source of the sharp anticipation that we feel as opening day approaches. We know that something fine, almost wonderful, is about to begin, but we can't quite say why baseball seems so valuable, almost indispensable, to us. The game, which remains one of our broadest sources of metaphor, changes with our angle of vision, our mood; there seems to be no end to our succession of lucky discoveries.

The Yankees Reader (1991)
Lots of stories and excerpts about my favorite team written by the likes of Grantland Rice, Thomas Boswell, Ernest Hemingway, George Will and others.  Edited by Miro Weinberger and Dan Riley.

Mantle Remembered (1995)
This is a collection of stories and black-and-white photos that were published in Sports Illustrated. Robert W. Creamer wrote the affectionate introduction in the book dedicated to this baseball icon.

The Joy of Keeping Score (1996)
Written by Paul Dickson, this is a celebration of the baseball scorecard and is filled with all kinds of history of the game.

Baseball: A Literary Anthology (2002)
Published by the Library of America, this hefty volume contains stories, memoirs, and poems dedicated to the  All-American Pastime by writers such as Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, Carl Sandburg, Marianne Moore, Annie Dillard, Roger Angell and many more. A treasure.

Play ball!


  1. What a lot of baseball books! I'm impressed. I like baseball better than any other sport. I'm not a sports fan, but of course I played this game in my neighborhood growing up. It's slow, but fun.

    1. The 'slow' is what I like. Meditative and plenty of time to go to the concession stand. I don't get involved in watching any other sport although my hometown team is in the Final Four this year. I may have to find a television and watch!

  2. Have you read "Wait Till Next Year" by Doris Kearns Goodwin?

    I grew up with a big ethnic family divided over which team was the best in the never ending rivalry in a town with two baseball teams, the Cubs and the White Sox. What can I say? Summer entertainment was not the ball games, but, the rivalry that went on in our back yard as the men "discussed" them.

    1. Hi Penny. A friend gave me a copy of "Wait Till Next Year" but I still have not read it. Maybe because it has something to do with the Red Sox!

      Oh how I wish I could have been a little lightning bug listening in on those discussions of the ball games within your family. What fun. (I would have been on the Cubs' side.)

    2. Most of my family were Cubs fans, however, my dad was a die-hard White Sox fan. I think he did it to rile the others (and I wonder where I get my stubborn streak from). My Uncle Joe was such a Cubs fan that one could tell how they were playing just by the way he slammed the door shut on his pickle truck. Oh, the stories I could tell . . . I have a cousin whose first and middle name is Ted Williams. My aunt loved Ted Williams for his good looks. My uncle didn't. Ted, well, Ted learned to live with it. He met Doris Kearns Goodwin, told him how he got his name. She loved the story.

      Loved reading, just a moment ago, about Square Books. I would love to browse those shelves. Have a good evening, Belle.

    3. Oh Penny. I love that you have cousin named Ted Williams! And a uncle with a pickle truck! What a colorful family. My dad loved the Cubs because he got such a kick out of Harry Caray. Of course, as you know, back in the day the players stayed with one team for more than seven minutes and became part of the family. Not like that today. They switch teams and leagues in the blink of a fast ball. I can't keep up with them...

  3. I'm a baseball fan too--grew up watching and cheering for the Dodgers, then became a Tampa Bay Rays fan after we moved to Florida. I find baseball so relaxing to watch, both on TV and in person. I haven't read the baseball books you listed, but have read and enjoyed It Takes More Than Balls: The Savvy Girls' Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Baseball, by Diedre Silva and Jackie Koney.

    1. Kathy, I won't fault you for being a Dodgers fan! I too find baseball to be so relaxing. For a couple of years I attended Yankees Spring Training games in Tampa. I loved being so close to the players. That was in the late '90s when they were beginning another great championship run.

      I will look into "It Takes More Than Balls". One can never know too much about baseball!