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In the Ballpark: The Working Lives of Baseball People

George Gmelch

23 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0803271271 / ISBN 13: 9780803271272
Published by Bison Books, 2006
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: In the Ballpark: The Working Lives of ...

Publisher: Bison Books

Publication Date: 2006

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

In the Ballpark is a collection of interviews with twenty-one people who work in all parts of Major and Minor League Baseball: usher and broadcaster, beer vendor and sportswriter, clubhouse attendant and field manager, ticket seller and owner, scout and general manager, mascot and player. Organized by setting—the stands, the field, the press box, and the front office—the accounts yield a wealth of insight into little-known aspects of the game. The new concluding chapter provides updates on the subjects since they were interviewed ten years ago as well as updates on how their jobs and the game itself has changed since In the Ballpark was first published.

Review:

An oral history with academic credentials behind it, In the Ballpark is a clever hybrid of sober scholarship and good fun. Conceived by a practicing anthropologist who once played Minor League ball, the book takes you into the game's corners to tell the stories of the people, most of whom you don't even know are there, who make baseball the experience it is. This isn't a book extolling on-field glory--though Yankee centerfielder Bernie Williams is among its voices; it's a book primarily about the game's grunts.

Shuffling between the farm teams and the Show, Ballpark resonates with the first-person narratives of beer vendors, ushers, clubbies, trainers, denizens of the press box, and front-office personnel--even the Phillie Phanatic. If some are more fascinating than others--hey, that's baseball--all contribute to the book's evocative texture. An epilogue in the form of an essay dissects baseball work with the dry edge of erudition, footnotes and all, offering such wisdom as "When we compare work in the minor leagues with the big leagues we find the higher one ascends the professional baseball ladder, the larger the staff and the more complex the division of labor." Don't hold that against it. If Ballpark's extra innings flag, the individual voices that precede it are wonderfully different, lively, and generally filled with charm. --Jeff Silverman

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