Lee Gutkind is known as the "godfather behind creative nonfiction" (Vanity Fair) and in his careful curation of Great Baseball Stories, he lives up to his name. Something about sports narrative favors a spoken, rather than a written, recounting, as if a listener is sitting at a bar trading stories of notable athletic endeavors. In Kethe Farley’s beautifully modulated voice - a voice which could probably field several full lineups of characters - these essays by such writers as Roger Angell, Christopher Buckley, and George Plimpton bring the baseball diamond and dugout to one’s home, car, or whatever the sphere (or diamond?) of listening might be. Foreword by Yogi Berra.
Here is a wonderful collection of 20 revealing essays on the national pastime. Featuring contributions from Roger Angell, John Thorn, Frank Deford, George Plimpton, Stefan Fatsis, and others (plus a foreword by the legendary Yogi Berra), the stories are united by the authors’ fervent love of the game.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
The thing I would change about this book is the narrator.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
I couldn't focus on the book--after a couple of hours, all I could think of--is how I couldn't stand the reader.
He might be a good reader if someone wrote a book about aliens coming to earth, and the book was written from the aliens point of view.
His voice seems detached from the material. He reads all of the words, I'm sure, but by the time he gets done with them, the words don't mean anything.
If the narrator read a book about having great sex--by the time he got done with it, you wouldn't care about sex, you wouldn't like sex, and you wouldn't want anything to do with sex.
In this case, he does the same for baseball. Baseball was a great game--until he started reading about it.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
It would have to be a silent movie.
Any additional comments?
I would buy this book again if there was a different narrator. I'd take my chances. The material is too good. Great writers and great stories, but not a pleasurable listening experience.
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What disappointed you about Great Baseball Stories?
I listened to the book and it appears to be the result of a collection of esoteric essays that a college professor gathered from his students from a writing assignment about baseball. The stories are essentially students' perspectives on baseball.
I wanted and expected stories from players, managers, general managers, owners, etc about the game, the people in the game and so on. The essays are kind of tedious.
Unfortunately, I did not listen to the book until I had owned it over a year so I can't exchange it or I definitely would.
What do you think your next listen will be?
I request to exchange this book.
I wish they would do an audible production of Tales from the Dugout, Volumes 1 and 2 combined.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Keythe Farley?
He sounded kinda snarky.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Great Baseball Stories?
most of it.
Any additional comments?