Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Life Lessons of Baseball

"Get your peanuts, Cracker Jacks, hot dogs, beer... and books?"
There is so much more to the game of baseball than stats or what's witnessed via your TV or even among a crowd of thousands cheering in the stands. Baseball embodies universal stories and life lessons that can be found on the field and off--especially in the pages of baseball-inspired books.
The theme of "life isn't always fair" is the idea captured in Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History by Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce with Daniel Paisner. The story is a detailed, factual retelling of a first-base umpire's call that shattered a historical, almost perfect game played between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians on June 2, 2010.
"You win some, you lose some" resounds in The Game from Where I Stand. Doug Glanville's memoir, now in paperback, is an eye-opening, gritty, insider's perspective of a life spent working toward building a career in the Major Leagues and rubbing elbows with a host of big-name ballplayers.
"Practice makes perfect, but be careful what you wish for" is the embodiment ofThe Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach's debut novel about baseball. A small, scrawny high school kid, with a major league talent for playing short stop, is recruited by a private college on the shores of Lake Michigan. But when a throw by the young infielder goes dreadfully awry, his life and the lives of those around him are suddenly changed in unexpected ways.
"Money talks--but not always" is the overriding theme in Moneyball, a mega-hit on page and screen. Michael Lewis details the story of how the Oakland Athletics reinvented their baseball team on a budget. And in Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball's Second Season, economist J.C. Bradbury examines what constitutes a first-rate ball club and how the worth of baseball players--and success--is calculated. 

Note: This article is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this piece as published on Shelf Awareness for Readers (4/13/12), link HERE