Heart of the Game: Life, Death, and Mercy in Minor League America

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9780061671302: Heart of the Game: Life, Death, and Mercy in Minor League America

From the author of Pitching Around Fidel and Far Afield comes an 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.

Heart of the Game centers on the death of Mike Coolbaugh, a minor league coach who was killed on a sweltering Sunday evening in Little Rock in July 2007 when 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. He was thirty-five years old and the father of two; a third child was on the way.

Mike's exemplary life—his devotion to the game and to his 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 human body, of the narratives of the remarkable people who happened to be in the ballpark at that fatal moment, of the impact of Coolbaugh's death 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.

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From the Back Cover:

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 thirty-five 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.

About the Author:

S. L. Price, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated since 1994, has written two books, Pitching Around Fidel, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Far Afield, which Esquire named one of the top five reads of 2007. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his family.

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