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Bunts: Curt Flood Camden Yards Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball Hardcover – May 4, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Bunts," explains peripatetic political commentator and baseball rhapsodist George Will, "are modest and often useful things." So is his latest, fittingly titled foray into the National Pastime. Unlike his splendid Men at Work, which offered long, detailed exegeses on the way Tony Gwynn, Orel Hershiser, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tony La Russa sweat the details of mastering specific aspects of the game, Bunts is a less unified, but wider ranging collection of Will's shorter baseball journalism--columns, essays, and book reviews--assembled chronologically from 1974 through the 1997 season. Each piece may be brief, but taken individually or as a whole, the collection is certainly useful, and like a good outfielder, it covers plenty of territory.

Will, to be sure, is an elegant writer, a little verbose at times, but dependably knowledgeable, stirringly erudite, thoughtfully opinionated, and, here and there, delightfully personal--as in the volume's leadoff hitter in which he traces his own conservative principles to growing up a Cub fan. His lineup continues with a breezy ode to Louisville Sluggers; encomiums to Casey Stengel, Camden Yards, Ripken, Gwynn, and Curt Flood; a startling about-face on the DH; an early homage to statsmeister Bill James; and indictments on the selfishness of Ted Williams, the callousness of the owners in labor- and fan-relations, and the sordid personalities of Pete Rose and Billy Martin. The volume ends with a pair of doubles in the form of larger essays on Jon Miller and the distinctive craft of broadcasting, and a concluding one on the state of the game.

"Baseball," Will observes, "is a habit. The slowly rising crescendo of each game, the rhythm of the long season--these are the essentials and they are remarkably unchanged over nearly a century and a half. Of how many American institutions can that be said?" The answer, of course, is not many, which is why Bunts provides a necessary and pleasing public service. --Jeff Silverman

From Library Journal

Edward Herrmann reads these essays on our national pastime with genuine enthusiasm. Political columnist Will states here that nothing about baseball is trivialAand he proves his point. As a bench sitter for an underachieving Little League team sponsored by a funeral home in Champaign, IL, Will began studying the game at an age when most boys were actually playing it. We should all be pleased that he didn't turn out to be just another great player. His observations are richly textured and colored with anecdotes that one will never forget. Baseball personalities seem to stride onto the field as if they never left. Chicago Cubs fans may want to chill out before listening to the author's opinions on their team, but all baseball fans will love this excursion into nontrivia. A home run!ARay Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L., IA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (May 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684838206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684838205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,454,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bunts by George F. Will is a collection of works written by Will between the years 1974 and 1997. Throughout this book, Will discusses the major changes in baseball, such as the designated hitter rule, unionization, recent franchise additions, free agency, and more. A long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan, Will, in several funny articles, describes what it is like to be a fan of a tema that hasn't won a pennant since World War II. A skilled political columnist, we are drawn into the argument over free agency and designated hitting. I love baseball, but sometimes find books about the sport to be tedious and overly stuffed with statistics. While this book does contain statistics (Will knows a great deal about the sport he loves), you're not smothered by them. It was a pleasurable read. The only part of the book I disliked was the rehashing (several times) of the strike disputes and how many times Will felt it necessary to prove that the owners were wrong about free agency. But believe me, you can get through that. Besides, this is a compilation of works - it's not like he intentionally meant to repeat himself. Will's reflections on baseball are remarkable considering that the man never played the sport professionally and is just an avid fan - so much of a fan in fact that he once owned stock in the Cubs franchise! The pictures are great, and the things I learned from this book. I thought I knew alot about baseball, but George F. Will proved me wrong in a way that I found to be interesting and alot of fun!
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Format: Hardcover
Those who have read Will's "Men at Work" already are aware of the author's knowledge of the game as well as his talent to put it into words. This is a compilation of the author's articles on Baseball that have appeared primarily in his newspaper columns over the years. Mr. Will, a spokesman for the political right, discards his politics for these excursions into his passion. Indeed, one is surprized by how often Mr. Will sides with the players in the labor/management diputes that litter modern Baseball. The author shares his nostalgia for the past and his appreciation of the heros of the present. If he seems a bit caught up in his Cubs and Orioles, he can be forgiven because the reader has his/her own favorites. We know the frustration and joy of the same loyalties he shares with us.
I read the first two thirds of the book one "column" at a time between other books. I did so because I had read "The Best of Jim Murray" some years ago and did so over the course of several days. By the mid-point of that book, I came to the realization that Mr. Murray had written the same column for decades. It was just a matter of changing the name of the subject. You don't catch on to that reading two or three columns a week. Well, I read the last third of the book in the course of several hours. I did not get the same reaction that I got to Murray's book. However, I lost track of the number of times the total season attendance of the 1935 St. Louis Browns (80,922) was compared to the Opening Day attendance of the 1993 Colorado Rockies (80,227). There were other such repetitions of facts and figures that were noticeable when the book is read cover to cover. I suggest you savor the articles and let the book entertain you throughout the course of a summer or a year. However you choose to read it, don't miss this intellectual appreciation of what was once known as "America's Pasttime".
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Format: Paperback
George Will's ability to weave the fabric of Baseball into everyday life is incredible. I found myself wondering, after finishing this wonderful book, had read a book about Baseball or Mr. Will's philosophy of life? Bunts is a copulation of magazine and newpaper articles written by Mr. Will over the last three decades. His strings them together so that there is never an obvious seam and it flows as if it were written at one time. I found myself laughing constantly at the humor that is ever present in the game and magnified my Mr. Will's writing. If you are a fan of the "worlds most wonderful game" and if in addition you are a fan of Mark Twain's you will love this book. Thank you George Will.
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By A Customer on November 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
George Will writes about baseball the way I would like to be able to(and he gets paid to do it.) He is a fan, a baseball fan, and he knows the stats that are important to baseball fans. The pace and meter of this book related well to the subject. This is a must have for anyone who loves the game.
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Format: Hardcover
Will's book is segmented by nature. It is a collection of essays and reviews, and is therefore not a narrative at all. However, each short stanza reflects as much about Will's personal devotion to the game as his refreshingly candid assessments of American culture. It is primarily a book for Chicago Cubs fans. He traces the evolution of baseball as a whole and counterparts this with the mediocre constancy of his beloved Cubbies. "Bunts" is about undying patriotism to the American pastime and one's team. He speaks well of the connection between media broadcaster and team loyalty. Will cites evidence that an over-reaching Federal Communications Commission once tried to take control of baseball broadcasts and ban partisan sportscasting. If they had succeeded, the late Harry Caray would have never had the chance to delight us as the voice of the Cubs, whose popularity outnumbers nearly every team despite ninety years without winning a World Championship. For the real baseball fan, intent on remembering the past with sentimentalism, intelligence, and conservative flair "Bunts" belongs in the baseball book Hall of Fame.
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