I grew up with ESPN, and so had high expectations for the book. And, truth be told, there's more than enough great material in this book to make it appealing to most ESPN fans. But the content is so poorly structured and the narration is so uneven that I've considered more than once just turning it off, never to listen again.
I appreciate that the book is more of an oral history than anything else, but even oral histories can be cohesive, with chapters that follow selected themes rather than meandering from topic to topic. The transitions are jarring at best, and it's almost as if this is a compilation of articles rather than a traditional book.
Two of the three readers are embarrassingly bad, especially Joan Baker, who provides the female voices. Everything comes out as breathy and overly dramatic -- ugh. In retrospect, I wish I had picked up the hardcopy.
The performance is terrific -- even with a lot of dialog, the reader does an excellent job of providing each character with a personality that enhances the author's perspective. Very well done.
The story is in almost all ways excellent, but there's one relationship that struck me as so far-fetched as to weaken -- in a meaningful way -- the story's overall impact and credibility. I don't want to provide spoilers, so I won't write any more, but this relationship was so repeatedly jarring that it colors my overall impression of the book and moves it from excellent to very good.
Oh, and don't worry if you're not a baseball fan. It starts off as though baseball is the centerpiece, but it's merely a vehicle for telling a character-driven story.
What a pleasant surprise! I picked this up somewhat randomly and found myself completely engrossed. The characters are wonderfully drawn, the stories are compelling and fascinating, and the science is boiled down into digestible pieces for those of us who didn't take Organic Chemistry in college. Great research into a really fascinating time and time period.
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