Posted on Saturday, September 1, 2012
in Reviews, Sports
Since I was very young I’ve been a baseball fan.
As a fan with a limited budget, televised games, box scores, recaps and baseball books often satisfy my fascination with major league baseball.
This summer, like many summers, I planned and read a few baseball books.
In May I wrote my review of The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca, a fascinating perspective of the culture of the game within the game.
In July I wrote about The Game From Where I Stand by Doug Glanville. Glanville wrote about the challenges of being a teammate, personal lives, family dynamics, and the pain of no longer being a baseball player in the limelight. The Game From Where I Stand is a wonderful example of what a well-written, deep thinking, heartfelt baseball book should be.
As August concludes, I just finished reading Game Time by Roger Angell.
As much as the first two books presented an insider perspective, Angell’s series of essays presented a fan’s perspective. Albeit, a fan whose writing about baseball is so compelling that “the images just pop off the page”, said John Updike. 1
“Sports writers weren’t supposed to be fans,” Angell says. “I would write in the first person, about my own emotions, which you were not supposed to do.”
And, that he does.
As a native New Yorker, who writes for New Yorker magazine, many of the essays had to do with the life, games, players, coaches, managers and fans of New York, and East Coast teams.
That said, I was almost never bored or even envious — which is hard for a very jealous Chicago Cubs fan — because Angell wrote captivating, sentimental, informed essays.
His love and loyalty is for his team, and his writing captures some of my feelings, fascination and affection for my team.
I tried to summarize the twenty-nine essays without success. Finally, I looked onto Amazon.com and their description was perfect.
“Roger Angell has been writing about baseball for more than forty years…and for my money he’s the best there is at it,” says novelist Richard Ford in his introduction to Game Time. Angell’s famous explorations of the summer game are built on acute observation and joyful participation, conveyed in a prose style as admired and envied as Ted Williams’s swing. Angell on Fenway Park in September, on Bob Gibson brooding in retirement, on Tom Seaver in mid-windup, on the abysmal early and recent Mets, on a scout at work in backcountry Kentucky, on Pete Rose and Willie Mays and Pedro Martinez, on the astounding Barry Bonds at Pac Bell Park, and more, carry us through the arc of the season with refreshed understanding and pleasure. This collection represents Angell’s best writings, from spring training in 1962 to the explosive World Series of 2002.” 2
If you like baseball, as aren’t too anti-New-York-Yankees, you’ll enjoy Game Time by Roger Angell too.
1 – From Roger Angell as lively as ever at age 85
2 – Amazon.com