From the author of Pitching Around Fidel and Far Afield comes a tragic but ultimately uplifting account of the accidental death of minor league first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh, illustrating the many ways in which baseball still has a hold on America.
This season's Friday Night Lights, Heart of the Game centers on the death of Mike Coolbaugh, a minor league coach who was killed in July 2007 by a foul ball rocketed off Tino Sanchez's bat. Coolbaugh died almost instantly, his body carted off the field of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers on a suffocating Sunday evening in Little Rock. He was 35 years old and the father of two, with a third child on the way.
Mike's exemplary life - his devotion to game and family - is the spine of the story. But it isn't the drama. The drama is in the telling of what can happen when a projectile hits the wrong place on the human body, of the lives being lived up until that fatal moment, of the remarkable people who happened to be in the ballpark that night, of the impact on the man who hit the ball, and of all the lives left behind.
Price reveals anew that classic heart of Americana - small-town sports, small-town lives - and makes us understand that a game played away from the mindless churn of Internet blather and highlight shows can be more important than those played on the national stage.