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One Day at Fenway: A Day in the Life of Baseball in America Hardcover – August 31, 2004

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A book about a year-old, regular-season baseball game doesn’t seem like it would contain much suspense, but Kettmann’s account of the August 30, 2003 contest between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is engrossing. With help from a team of researchers who watched the game alongside selected fans, players and front-office personnel from both ballclubs, Kettmann presents the action from multiple points of view, cutting around Fenway Park in an almost cinematic fashion and drawing readers in even though the outcome is foregone (10-7 Yankees). As the game unfolds, readers meet famous people and ordinary fans, among them former Senator George Mitchell, film directors Spike Lee and Peter Farrelly, Boston general manager Theo Epstein, Sox owner John Henry, Fenway Park scoreboard operator Rich Maloney and a Yankee rooter who plans to propose to his girlfriend on the giant video screen. Not all the commentary offered by these observers is insightful, but it makes for a remarkably vivid recreation of a day at Fenway. Thanks to the diverse cast, readers also learn fascinating tidbits about everything from grounds keeping, to Japanese superstitions, to the methods outfielders use to track fly balls. It helps that this game has a great back-story—two rival teams playing in a historic ballpark with a pennant on the line—and Kettmann, a sportswriter and Red Sox fan, has a knack for conveying the tensions that build throughout the afternoon. He also has a great eye for detail, describing the way pitcher Andy Pettitte wipes his face with his shoulder and the laughter that erupts when hulking outfielder Ruben Sierra jokingly works out at shortstop. Though Kettmann’s smug, innuendo-laced comments about certain players’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs are off-putting, this is a small flaw in an otherwise riveting book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor, "The New Republic"No rivalry in sports is as intense as the Red Sox and Yankees, and no year in that rivalry was as intense as 2003. In "One Day at Fenway," Steve Kettman has picked out the season's quintessential game and reconstructed it so vividly that you feel like you're right in the dugout with the players, hanging on every pitch. Whether you're a fan of good baseball or just good storytelling, this is a book you'll want to read.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (August 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743483650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743483650
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,015,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Kettmann is the co-founder, along with Sarah Ringler, of the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods in Northern California, just four miles from the Pacific Ocean, which offers weekend workshops for would-be writers and also publishes books through Wellstone Books, devoted to personal writing that is not afraid to inspire. If you're looking to be published, the first step would be to read "Night Running" or another Wellstone Books title and see if you like it. If not, probably another publisher would serve your needs better.
Steve has worked as a political reporter in New York (New York Newsday), a columnist in East Berlin (the Berliner Zeitung), a sportswriter in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle) and as an author and co-author of books. His highest profile title is "Juiced," the Jose Canseco steroid tell-all that hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list and also inspired Congressional hearings carried on live national television.
He is at work on a book about baseball due out in spring 2014 from Grove/Atlantic.

www.wellstoneredwoods.org

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 64 people found the following review helpful By John Budd on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book popped up in my Amazon recommendations naturally enough--after all, I've read hundreds of baseball books over the years, and bought many of them at Amazon.

One of my favorite all-time baseball books is "Nine Innings" by Dan Okrent, which takes an average ballgame and talks about all the back-stories of that game. That book is a classic, and I would highly recommend it.

"One Day at Fenway" had the potential to be the equal of "Nine Innings." Perhaps even better, as the cast of voices that Kettmann calls upon is broad and impressive. Unfortunately, however, Kettmann's effort falls short. While I was eager to hear all of those voices, I found that few of them had anything to say that anyone more than a casual fan would find interesting.

If you are a hardcore baseball fan who follows the game on a daily basis, "Nine Innings" is your book. If you go to games a couple times a year as a source of entertainment along the lines of going to the movies, watching something on TV, or keeping track of which supermodel/actress is dating Derek Jeter, you just may enjoy "One Day at Fenway."
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Bart Ewing on September 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This was a neat idea for a baseball book but the writing and story just don't match the possibilites. A better example in this genre is Dan Okrents "Nine Innings" which centered on a Baltimore -Milwaukee matchup- not as sexy as the uber Sox/Yanks but a great walk through the game. This is where the book is frustrating- this game could be a powerful force for literature but in my opinion too much emphasis on the famous and not enough on the average Joes that fuel this rivarly. A Studs Terkel approach would have benifitted the reader greatly in regards to maintaining interest. It's not about the names but the game itself and the cities they represent-I could give a **** about what Spike Lee thinks
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Johnson on May 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
And he gets bored with baseball books, according to his review on the sleeve. You wouldn't think a regular season game would be all that interesting that it would warrant a book. But the Yankees and Red Sox are perhaps the only two teams which a book like this could be written. The story flows very nicely and there are some interesting tidbits on certain players that you may not know about. Every perspective is covered in this book. Player, general manager, owner, and fan are all accounted for. I took off a star because of Kettman's epilogue that turned into a rant saying basically that the Yankees are evil and the Red Sox will someday win a World Series because of this wonderful group running the show. Hey Steve, if I want a Red Sox homer I'll listen to Peter Gammons okay? Other than that, this is a enjoyable book. Just stop after the game is over.
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41 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Buckner's Folly on September 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Its been 18 years and I didn't think anything would ever hurt more, but trying to read this book hurt just as bad as Buckner did. Wait, that nots true. Time heals all wounds they say, and Bill can show his face around town without an armed escort nowadays, so maybe thwe pain has mellowed a bit from 1986, but the wounds this book caused are still fresh, so they hurt more.

Furthermore, while BB's error and its pain is something every Sox fan (heck, every baseball fan) knows, hopefully this authors work will never reach such a universal audience.

The writing is poor, the editing is worse, and, the highest of crimes, the author makes the Sox boring. The endless use of interminable quotes from innumerable sources stretches a thin manuscript to the breaking point. Using the Yankees and all their associated history as a foil is cliched and, in my opinion, just another trick like the endless quotes to stretch this outline of an idea into a barely book length product in order to dupe more cash out of unsuspecting customers.

Bill Buckner apologized for his folly. Kettmann should do the same.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin F. Bruen on May 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about this book when I read Rob Neyer's column about it and his initial secretive reveiw. My expectations were not that high, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and I implore Neyer to read the book from cover to cover to draw a better appreciation for it. That being said, Kettman allows his Yankee protagonists to get off without much scrutiny in two specific instances. With respect to Spike Lee, the book notes that Lee grew up a Mets fan, hating the Yankees, but now is a Yankees fan with no explanation for the change. Was Lee a Mets fan thru the mid to late 80s and then when the Mets started doing poorly and the Yankees started doing well - did he just jump ship or jump on the bandwagon? I think that is a question that needs to be asked. Without explanation we can only assume that Lee is a fan of neither team and that he simply cheers for whomever is winning. This seems to proven out by the fact that he hates all Boston sports teams except the Patriots (NFLs most recent dynasty). When pressed on his his dislike for the Red Sox, Lee rightly points out that the Red Sox were the last team to integrate. But why love the Yankees, the 2nd to last team to integrate? These questions were never asked by Kettman and they remain open.

The second Yankee that gets a free pass is Brian Cashman. When Spike Lee is asked to throw out the first ball at Fenway wearing a Jeter jersey, Cashman opines that this would NEVER happen at Yankee stadium, i.e., a Sox fan in a Sox jersey would never throw out the first ball at Yankee Stadium. Cashman infers that the Yankees are very concerned about the sanctity of their field. Cashman, like all Yankees, prefers to have a selective memory when it comes to Yankee history.
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