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
. . . you wouldn't believe it. A baseball game that lasts for 33 innings? Of course, there is much more to this book than 32 innings of a tie baseball game. It was interesting getting to know the players in a more personal way. Coming from a family of baseball fanatics- my dad and two older brothers, I knew the names of every player on every MLB team in the 1960s, so my feelings for baseball run deep. OK, maybe not EVERY player, but I knew a lot about a lot of them. In a lot of ways this book made me thing, "Those were the days." Everything is so formulaic and predictable these days, or so it seems. Well, I am a true blue, dyed in the wool Cubbies fan (I think they need at least one fan who doesn't HAVE to be), and when they finally make the playoffs for the World Series, I'm making a trip to Chicago to see them play. I hope it doesn't last 33 innings, though. But on the outside chance that it does, I'll be there until the bitter end.
and, what could be better? The author narrates this story with all the irony, wit, and compassion of the person who created the tale, as he did.But,from history, and boy, does Barry do his homework. Barry's tone is somewhat deadpan, but he knows how to render the longest game in history, with the right amount of inflection. Sometimes I literally laughed out loud. If you like baseball, which i do, you just might get caught up in the flow of the story of unlikely characters; ball players, managers, bat boys, announcers, writers, their families.. At times even suspenseful, the narration moves you along with human interest stories that catch you by surprise. You ache for these (mostly) young men as the rawness outside, the wee hours of the morning in this interminable game, all make you feel for their plights. Some have a happy ending. Most do not. I ended up buying book versions of "The Bottom of the 33rd" for at least 3 people this holiday season. Only because they don't do audible.
Different reader, different author. More specifically, don't try to milk the subject quite so hard.
Great lack of animation.
He did a very good job researching the whole world described in the book.
The author is a NYT reporter and nails a million different perspectives on a game in a dead New England town on a frigid night. The players- career minor leaguers, Cal Ripken Jr, bench warmers, Boggs, umpires, ballboys, owners, fans, wives, the town.. everything is covered
This book was a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end. The format was outstanding as he would give a short narrative of the pertinent action and then go on to give short biographies of a player who figured prominently in the action of that inning. These ranged from the owner, the general manager, that manager, the publicist, the radio broadcaster all the way to some of the fans at the game, and of course Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs.
My only problem with the book was that the author sometimes tried to hearken back to the 1920's-1930's style of baseball writing that was overly flowery. For example, he drifted into obsessively calling the baseball a "white orb" for stretches of the book. But this was not enough to overcome the otherwise outstanding writing.
You do not need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. He explains EVERYTHING (it has been a long time since I have heard an intentional walk not only described, but the strategy explained), but he was going into his writing assuming that the listener/reader does not know about baseball and I would rather have that than someone who assumes that terminology is understood if I don't know about it.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for insights into a game that can too easily be thought of as a million "Trivial Pursuit" questions. It showed the diversity of the individuals involved and how their lives became intertwined by this one event that they all experienced.
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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