On April 18, 1981, a ball game sprang eternal. What began as a modestly attended minor-league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings became not only the longest ever played in baseball history, but something else entirely. The first pitch was thrown after dusk on Holy Saturday, and for the next eight hours, the night seemed to suspend its participants between their collective pasts and futures, between their collective sorrows and joys - the ballplayers; the umpires; Pawtucket's ejected manager, peering through a hole in the backstop; the sportswriters and broadcasters; a few stalwart fans shivering in the cold.
With Bottom of the 33rd, celebrated New York Times journalist Dan Barry has written a lyrical meditation on small-town lives, minor-league dreams, and the elements of time and community that conspired one fateful night to produce a baseball game seemingly without end. Bottom of the 33rd captures the sport's essence: the purity of purpose, the crazy adherence to rules, the commitment of both players and fans.
This genre-bending book, a reportorial triumph, portrays the myriad lives held in the night's unrelenting grip. Consider, for instance, the team owner determined to revivify a decrepit stadium, built atop a swampy bog, or the batboy approaching manhood, nervous and earnest, or the umpire with a new family and a new home, or the wives watching or waiting up, listening to a radio broadcast slip into giddy exhaustion. Consider the small city of Pawtucket itself, its ghosts and relics, and the players, two destined for the Hall of Fame (Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs), a few to play only briefly or forgettably in the big leagues, and the many stuck in minor-league purgatory, duty bound and loyal to the game.
An unforgettable portrait of ambition and endurance, Bottom of the 33rd is the rare sports book that changes the way we perceive America's pastime, and America's past.
©2011 Dan Barry (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
I purchased this book on a whim--don't remember exactly why. But I truly enjoyed it for many reasons.
The basic story line follows a minor-league baseball game in the Spring of 1981 that just would not end! But the story tells so much more--every person involved with this historic game was a part of this narration. It could be daunting for those who do not enjoy tons of detail, but I found so much of it very interesting. Some of the players involved in the game went on to become big names in the majors (Cal Ripkin Jr. and Wade Boggs to name just two), and it was interesting to get an insight of them at the beginning of their careers.
The book is read by the author, and he did a wonderful job. I am very glad I chose this book to listen to.
This is a very interesting book not only for baseball fans, but also for those who enjoy hearing how people and lives evolve over time. The author, who is also the narrator, skillfully sets the scene for us in 1981, and then switches seamlessly to events prior and subsequent to the longest baseball game ever played.
The story, slow at first but give it time you will be hooked
I am not a huge baseball fan, but I grew up on the Cardinals, so I appreciate the game, and its players, coaches, etc. What was important was the behind the scene story.
It's great when the author narrates their own work. This book is great. You won't be disappointed.
I would recommend the book, but not the audio version. Maybe if I understood baseball better the audio would have been easier to follow.
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