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National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer Hardcover – April 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; 1ST edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815782586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815782582
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,269,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating reading for fans and sports business industry professionals alike. The book gives a comprehensive overview of the commercial histories and complicated economic dynamics of two of the world's most important sports. The comparison between the two creates a unique perspective and enables the reader to understand the issues at stake with much greater insight." —Arne Rees, UEFA Head of Strategy and Business



"A detailed, thoughtful analysis on one of the great mysteries in sports--why baseball is popular in America while soccer reigns in the rest of the world. NATIONAL PASTIME is a revealing look at both sports, detailing everything from economic history to issues of competitive balance." —Ken Rosenthal, Sporting News



"The authors show us that [baseball and soccer] have more in common than their audience base would suggest, in terms of both business and culture.... This worthy sports business book is recommended for most public libraries." —Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hospital Library, Tucson, Library Journal, 5/1/2005



"This book is excellent reading for anyone interested in the mechanics of how professional sports operate, and how they came to be the way they are." —Scott Wickstein, ubersportingpundit.com, 5/15/2005



"An entertaining and informative book.... If you are interested in the historical and economic parallels between these sports, this book is a solid source of information." —Phil Miller, The Sports Economist, 6/4/2005



"NATIONAL PASTIME is the first serious attempt at bridging the cultural gap between these two worlds of sport. It's also a great deal of fun, written with the understanding of scholars and the passion of fans." —Allen Barra, Wall Street Journal



"This book has few shortcomings...and many strengths, not least of them keen insights and a readable stem-to-stern account of similarities and differences in the evolution, structures, and problems with arguably the globe's two most important sports. Essential." — CHOICE, 11/1/2005



"Whether you prefer Beckham or Bonds, the Boston Red Sox, or the Manchester United, you will be enlightened by this examination of the similarities and differences as seen by two of the sharpest minds in the field of sports business." —Bob Costas, NBC and HBO Sports



"Szymanski and Zimbalist wonderfully weave cross-cultural comparisons and tales of evolution that will leave you with a refreshingly new perspective on leagues and how they are structured." —Julie Foudy, recently retired captain, U.S. Soccer women's national team



"I knew in advance this was going to be a very good work. As it turns out, NATIONAL PASTIME is truly wonderful, not just very good. It will have broad appeal, enlightening sports scholars and commentators as well as executives in each sport in different countries about the nature of any problems they are now exhibiting." —Paul C. Weiler, Harvard Law School



"A fascinating new book." —John Haydon, The Washington Times, 9/24/2005



"National Pastime is a must read for American followers of world football." — Football Fan-atic blog, 2/10/2007



"The result is an entertaining and informative book that will appeal to lay readers interested in the common origins and different growth paths of soccer and baseball, as well as professionally-trained economists interested in the economics of sports...Szymanski and Zimbalist have written a readable and well-researched book that touches on most of the important topics in the economics of sports teams and leagues: the demand for the sport; the labor market in the sport; and the relationship between sports teams (and leagues) and government...this book is a solid source of information and a recommended addition to the fan's library." —Phil Miller, The sports economist



"an important piece of scholarship for those interested in the future of baseball on both the national and international levels." —Ron Briley, Nine, 9/30/2006

About the Author

Stefan Szymanski is professor of economics and strategy at the Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London, where he specializes in the business and economics of sports. His publications include two books on soccer: Winners and Losers: The Business Strategy of Football (Penguin, 2000) and Il Business del Calcio (Egea, 2004). Andrew Zimbalist is Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College. He has published fifteen books and has consulted for players associations, governmental bodies, cities, owners, corporations, and international development organizations. His books include May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy (Brookings, 2003) and In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig (Wiley, 2006).


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on April 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Soccer and baseball enjoy fervent followings and generate wads of cash, so this study of the two games' economics and culture is as welcome as a towering home run (or a nifty goal). Economists Stefan Szymanski and Andrew Zimbalist compare and contrast the two sports' business models in a way that will fascinate anyone who is interested in athletics or international business. The authors offer a fascinating history of these sports, complete with plenty of telling anecdotes that are sure to enlighten even devoted fans. The only gripe is that the writers sometimes bog down in scholarly phrasing when the reader might prefer more active prose. Still, we recommend this intriguing study to anyone who specializes in sports business - or even just buys a ticket to a game now and then.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Pendlebury on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent for those interested in the Sociology/history of sport.
intelligently written but not light reading.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timphoto on January 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It covers what may seem like some fairly obscure history on the origins of soccer and baseball, but it is fascinating to look at the various social forces that have led to these dominant athletic events.
It addresses a lot of material, including class distinctions, labour rights, unbridled capitalism that adopts regulations to save itself, and national pride.
It is very clever for the authors to make such a readable and indeed entertaining book while still presenting the very serious issues that influenced these "games."
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