Sports and Recreation Birth of a Fan

ISBN 13: 9780025377608

Birth of a Fan

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9780025377608: Birth of a Fan

Birth of a Fan celebrates the long-standing relationship between baseball and literature. The 15 never-before-published accounts gathered in this volume explore the fascination baseball holds for some of America's respected writers, including Roy Blount, Jr., Mary Cantwell, George Plimpton, Stephanie Salter, and Robert Whiting.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

So-so set of original essays by 16 well-known writers on how they fell in love with baseball, edited by a senior editor at Sports Illustrated. First at bat is Roger Angell, wistfully remembering the sport as ``lighter and fresher'' in the 1930's. His father looms large in his memories, underscoring--as do many of the other contributors- -the Field of Dreams conceit of baseball as quintessential glue between father and son. Roy Blount, Jr., describes his fan scrapbook and composes an all-chicken team (Pete LaCock, Chicken Stanley, etc.) from The Baseball Encyclopedia. Mary Cantwell, one of four female contributors, recalls the enchantment of Boston and her young passion for that ``stern, solitary'' Red Sox star, Ted Williams (a disproportionate number of writers, hooked by what Angell calls ``the pleasure-pain principle,'' seem to root for the notoriously doomed Sox). Robert Creamer writes of his whiskey-and-cigar-loving grandfather, a former shortstop. Frank Deford still winces from the memory of growing up in a city without a major league team. Wearing glasses was editor Fimrite's nemesis, until he saw pro players proudly sporting specs. At age 69, Mark Harris still plays slow-pitch ball and declares that ``baseball was my path to self-knowledge.'' Robert Whiting, in the book's least predictable essay, enumerates the oddities of Japanese besuboru. William Kennedy, Jonathan Yardley, J. Anthony Lucas, Stephanie Salter, Nora Ephron, George Plimpton, and Anne Lamott also have their say. As the innings pile up, the charm wears thin: There's skill aplenty here, but it's clear that most writers have no special hold on the game--they're just fans, like anyone else. And how many times must one hear that baseball is God's gift to humanity and the greatest of all literary metaphors? (One wonders how Shakespeare managed without it.) Too much of a much. More intriguing, although probably unsalable, would be an anthology by those who hate the game. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

This captivating collection of 15 essays assembled by Sports Illustrated senior editor Fimrite will spark warm responses from dedicated diamond fans who remember when they first became addicted. Pride of place belongs to Roger Angell, who comes out strongly against romanticizing the game, noting, "Baseball memories are seductive, tempting us always toward sweetness and undercomplexity." Fortunately few of the entries play with such sentimental notions as father-son bonding through baseball, although Fimrite's contribution is a sad tale of his mother's sentiment that she had "lost him" when he and his father developed a shared interest in the sport. Particularly noteworthy is Anne Lamott's "The Psychic Hat," on being a teenage female fan, while the selections by J. Anthony Lucas, Frank Deford and William Kennedy are also excellent. A short afterword by Nora Ephron strikes a wry and amusing note.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Fimrite, Ron [Editor]
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