Joy in Mudville: A Little League Memoir

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9780671035310: Joy in Mudville: A Little League Memoir

In this charming and thought-provoking "tale of two seasons", lifetime baseball enthusiast Greg Mitchell reflects on the profound emotional conflict and ineffable joys Little Leaguers can face. He underscores his experience with life lessons and hilarious anecdotes gleaned from managing his son's teams -- the last-place Red Sox and the miracle A's.Mitchell also steps up to the plate and knocks the cover off timely issues surrounding Little League today. Through interviews with busy parents, respected experts, and celebrity Little League dads, Mitchell examines the father/son relationship inherent in Little League baseball and illuminates unspoken expectations held inside and outside the dugout. He investigates the unwelcome phenomenon of "Little League Rage", and he ponders why baseball lost favor among so many kids -- but now seems to be on the comeback trail once again. Do real sports have a role in a "virtual" age?

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Review:

Little League baseball parents are the stage mothers of our era. Hardly a summer goes by without another story about them brawling, threatening the umpire, or berating their own kids or others to the point of tears. Former Crawdaddy editor Greg Mitchell's father wasn't like that: he played catch with young Greg exactly once. Determined to do better, Mitchell volunteered to manage his son Andy's Little League team in Nyack, New York. Joy in Mudville is the delightful result, restoring sanity, perspective, and fun to what is, after all, a kids' summer game.

The book chronicles Mitchell's first two seasons as manager of the Red Sox and the A's, nicknamed the Aliens for the rubber alien head mascot that the kids rub for luck before (almost) every game or at-bat. The Aliens' inspiring 1998 season provides the drama, from draft-day rumor-mongering to the brilliant late-inning playoff stratagem Mitchell employed to protect a thin lead (and his son the pitcher's psyche). With solid knowledge of baseball traditions--superstitions, nicknames, even a pilgrimage to Cooperstown--coupled with a good father's sense of what's best for his son, Mitchell spins a masterful yarn sure to keep parents and fans of all ages on the edges of their seats--when they're not laughing out loud.

Best known for political books (Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady, The Campaign of the Century), Mitchell shows his versatility with this warm, lighthearted, and deftly told memoir of one of the great pleasures of summer. Joy in Mudville will have readers in stitches, and it might even keep a few Little League parents out of the headlines. --Bill Penrose

About the Author:

Greg Mitchell is the bestselling author of such nonfiction books as Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas; The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California (winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize); and with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and Who Owns Death? His articles have appeared in The New York Times and other publications. He lives in Nyack New York.

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