This isn't a commentator's diatribe against the sport, but rather a fan's case for baseball. What do I want? I think the same thing that most baseball fans want: To see the game prove worthy of our devotion.
Bob Costas loves baseball. And he's worried about the state of the game--superstar players abandoning the teams that helped them rise to greatness, the awkward interleague play system, the pennant-race-weakening wild cards, and the payroll disparity that effectively eliminates two-thirds of the teams in the league from having any chance to win the World Series--even before opening day. Costas addresses these problems and offers provocative solutions in Fair Ball.
Costas makes it clear from the outset that he's not a romantic, baseball-should-be-played-in-flannel traditionalist; indeed, some of his ideas--comprehensive revenue sharing and salary caps and floors--will be seen as radical by many team owners and players. Others are more standard--no more wild card, and farewell to the DH--but all are thoughtful and cogently argued.
Throughout Fair Ball Costas's affection for the national pastime softens his occasionally strident tone. Ultimately, all baseball fans want the same thing; Costas's ideas, if adopted, would go a long way toward returning the game to full health. --Sunny Delaney
From Publishers Weekly
Costas isn't the first announcer to write a manifesto on what's wrong with baseball, nor is he the only person to think the game's soul has been debased by hyper-escalating salaries, bonehead revisions to the league and shortsighted owners toeing the bottom line. But he is one of the more persuasive and eloquent. Costas firmly grasps the game's economics, and he marshals mounds of evidence and countless wise insights to show why the sport needs revenue sharing, a salary cap and a salary minimum to restore competitive balance. Next, he dissects other gimmicks of 1990s baseball, such as interleague play, the wild card, the oft-proposed radical realignment. Thankfully, Costas never sits back and says, "It was better when...." Instead, he carefully shows that these gimmicks have been implemented poorly, that they've achieved nothing they were supposed to and that they've instead made pennant races obsolete. In the last frame, Costas briefly pushes a few more hot buttons--umpire oversight, Pete Rose, the DH--and offers what may prove his most controversial opinion: he advocates using instant replay during the playoffs. Throughout, Costas remains evenhanded. If he blames most of the game's problems on the owners, he's no less critical of the superstars and their union lackeys, who, he argues, care more for a few huge paychecks than all the guys making minimum. Author tour. (Apr.)
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