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Bottom of the 33rd LP: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game Paperback – Bargain Price, May 3, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times columnist Barry provides a charming, meditative portrait of a minor league baseball game that seemed to last forever. Because of a rule-book glitch, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played for 33 innings on a chilly Saturday night into the Easter morning of 1981. Using the game as a focal point, Barry examines the lives and future careers of many of the players, including the then unknown Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Barry also profiles the Red Sox team owner, the fans and workers, and even the stadium and the depressed industrial town of Pawtucket, R.I. The game gives Barry ample opportunity to explore the world that surrounds it. Not every Triple-A player becomes a Cal Ripken, and Barry gives generous attention to those who didn't make it—the powerful outfielder who can't hit a curve, the eccentric Dutch relief pitcher with the unlikely name of Win Remmerswaal, the 26-year-old who feels like an old man among younger prospects. The three decades that have passed since the game allow Barry to track the arc of entire lives, adding emotional resonance. Barry is equally adept at describing the allure of a ballpark and the boost it can give to a struggling town like Pawtucket. (Apr.)
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Review

Winner of the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting ( )

Dan Barry has crafted a loving and lyrical tribute to a time and a place when you stayed until the final out...because that’s what we did in America. Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough. (–Jane Leavy )

“What a book -- an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making that has, at its center, a great respect for the symphony of voices that make up America.” (–Colum McCann )

“Dan’s Barry’s meticulous reporting and literary talent are both evident in Bottom of the 33rd, a pitch-perfect and seamless meditation on baseball and the human condition.” (–Gay Talese )

“A fascinating, beautifully told story... In the hands of Barry, a national correspondent for the New York Times, this marathon of duty, loyalty, misery and folly becomes a riveting narrative...The book feels like ‘Our Town’ on the diamond.” (–Los Angeles Times )

“An astonishing tale that lyrically articulates baseball’s inexorable grip on its players and fans, Bottom of the 33rd belongs among the best baseball books ever written.” (–Cleveland Plain Dealer )

“Meticulously researched and tremendously entertaining!” (–Columbus Dispatch )

“[Dan] Barry does more than simply recount the inning-by-inning-by-inning box score. He delves beneath the surface, like an archaeologist piecing together the shards and fragments of a forgotten society, to reconstruct a time and a night that have become part of baseball lore.” (–Associated Press )

“Whether you’re a baseball aficionado or a reader who just enjoys a good yarn, you’ll love this book.” (–Minneapolis Star Tribune )

“A worthy companion to Roger Kahn’s classic Boys of Summer ...[Dan Barry] exploits the power of memory and nostalgia with literary grace and journalistic exactitude. He blends a vivid, moment-by-moment re-creation of the game with what happens to its participants in the next 30 years.” (–Stefan Fatsis, New York Times )

“Brilliantly rendered...The book is both a fount of luxurious writing and a tour-de-force of reportage.” (–Washington Post )

“[An] heroic conjuring of the past.” (–New York Times Book Review )

“[A] masterpiece...destined for the Hall of Fame of baseball books.” (–Publisher's Weekly )
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: HarperLuxe; Lgr edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062065033
  • ASIN: B00BQ84SGC
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,376,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By scesq VINE VOICE on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The opening of this book sets the stage perfectly for what is to come. It begins by stating that a baseball game that started on Holy Saturday, which is the "pause between joy and sorrow", has surrendered to the first hour of Easter. The rest of the book talks about this amazing game and the joy and sorrow faced by those at the game.

As a baseball fan who never made it past little league I envy those who get paid to play professional ball at any level. Yet for many at the game playing Triple A ball is bittersweet because the players are so close to their dream and for most they will always be one stop short of playing major league ball. For many Triple A is the place where "sweet romance meets bitter reality."

While Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken went on to greatness and a number of other players like Bobby Ojeda, Bruce Hurst and Rich Gedman had good careers, most of the players in this game never made it to the majors. Some were on the rise and hit their peak and others were on the way down and just trying to stay in the game. It is their stories that make this book so successful.

Yet, Dan Barry also talks about the game itself. This is another great thing about this book. Baseball is the amazing game that it is because it has no time limits. There are no clocks. Three outs are the only limits to an inning. A scheduled nine inning game will last until the bottom of the 33rd if that is what it takes to have a winner, even if the game has to be started again on another day.

Dan Barry does a good job of talking about the lives of these players, as well as the lives of the coaches, bat boys and team owners, in the context of the 33 inning game. He manages to talk about those involved in the game while at the same time talking about baseball itself.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We all know that an inning cannot begin in baseball after 12:50 a.m. However, the rule prohibiting this was unintentionally dropped from the 1981 International League Instructions for Umpires, Managers and Players. That fact, combined with an absurdly strict constructionist interpretation by Chief Umpire Jack Lietz, set the stage for the longest game ever played in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on the night before and the morning of Easter 1981.

Author and New York Times columnist Dan Barry uses this game to analyze life in the minor leagues. He shows a good eye for the rituals of the game telling the story of how the mud used to rub baseballs was first found by Slats Blackburne on the shore of a South Jersey Creek. Barry describes the sometimes jury-rigged style that characterizes the game played at this level. The ball park for the Pawtucket Red Sox is owned and maintained by the city and is used to store sand and salt in the winter, a practice that is not employed at Fenway. He also probes the history of this Rhode Island city which includes a strong dose of machine politics, a ballpark into which cement trucks disappeared during its construction and a Pulitzer Prize winning poet.

But above all, the book is about the thin line that separates the near poverty and virtual anonymity of minor league life from the exalted status of the 12,000 men who have played in the Show. We see Cal Ripken Jr destined for greatness from his first day and Wade Boggs who seemed to be consigned to Triple A status for life until Carney Lansford was injured late in the year and there was no one else available to bring up.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Bottom of the 33rd" by Dan Barry is a terrific account of baseball's longest game. More than a sports book, Mr. Barry expertly contextualizes the event and profiles its participants to bring an uniquely American drama to life. Written by an award-winning journalist at the top of his game, this captivating book is certain to be appreciated by a wide audience.

This is not a mere pitch-by-pitch recount of the game. Mr. Barry has the ability to see outside the chalk lines to bring our attention to certain themes that add character and dimension to the story. Mr. Barry writes about the players, managers and families who struggle mightily to achieve their dreams, documenting their sacrifices as they achieve fleeting moments of success or, in a few rare cases, major league immortality. Among the dozens of character sketches, the bittersweet profile of the game's hero, Dave Koza is particularly praiseworthy for its profound insight and sensitivity.

Importantly, Mr. Barry draws interest from elements of the story that might be easily overlooked. Mr. Barry paints a portrait of the hardscrabble industrial town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island whose elders took great pride in building the minor league ballpark whose peculiarities would contribute to the game's drama. Mr. Barry finds spiritual meaning as the players struggle for their baseball lives in the early hours of Easter morning. The author also has a penchant for unearthing the kind of detail that adds enormously to the story's appeal: the shivering radio broadcasters who wouldn't quit; the ejected manager who kept his eye on the game through a secret peephole in the fence; the angry wife who couldn't believe her husband was still playing ball; and much, much more.

I highly recommend this outstanding book to everyone.
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