From the imagination of W. P. Kinsella, arguably baseball’s best short story writer since Ring Lardner, comes a wondrous collection of short magical-realism baseball stories. Certain to touch the collective heart of all who love "the national pastime", the award-winning writer explores themes including life, death, and real grass vs. plastic turf. Like a utility infielder who earns a place on the All-Star team, Kris Koscheski performs the many voices of baseball lifers, fans, coaches, and players with the weariness, wariness, and wonder of those who inhabit Kinsella’s sympathetic tales of underdogs and fictional celebrations of baseball’s traditions .
Highlights in this set include "The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record", "The Battery", and "The Thrill of the Grass". In a plot that preceded anything written by Mitch Albom, "The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record" explores the feelings after the death of Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson. Would a hardcore (non-Yankee) baseball fan give his life to save Munson's? "The Battery" takes readers to Santo Domingo where a wizard created in the vein of author Terry Pratchett sees the birth of baseball playing twins. While at least one twin excels in baseball, the wizard is the star of this story. "The Thrill of the Grass" is set during the 1981 players' strike, though the same scenario woud apply to 1994. The narrator breaks into an empty stadium as the story begins. Though he dislikes the lack of activity, he is most appalled by the artificial turf.