An entertaining tale of minor league baseball, Zen philosophy, death, fame, and statistics. Mike Williams is a minor league player looking to make it big by attaining the ultimate measure of success: a remarkable batting average. George O'Kane is his Buddha: a fellow minor leaguer who plays like an all-star, yet is unconcerned with the scrambling for success or the constant incremental measures of his performance. He develops a method of hitting that inverts the standard injunctions of batting coaches: he takes his eye off the ball and knocks them out of the park. O'Kane teaches his philosophy of baseball to Williams before being called up to the big leagues. Tom Grimes's novel is the story of Williams's own rise into the majors and his ascent in understanding the real lessons of baseball.
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From Publishers Weekly
This schizophrenic second novel from Grimes ( A Stone of the Heart ) veers from sluggish philosophizing and ponderous verbosity to snappy repartee and crisp narrative. Mike Williams, a left fielder and singles hitter for an unnamed major league baseball team, chronicles the intermittently compelling stories of his marriage to his high school sweetheart and battles with his agent, manager and team owner in the seasons between 1975 and the players' strike of 1981. Proposing baseball as an anchor of sanity in the craziness of the business world around it, Grimes contrasts the sharp realities of life with "the sweet illusions of the game." The first part of the novel, charting Williams's rise to stardom and its burdens, is smugly pretentious and nearly chokes the sly, sardonic humor that is its principal redeeming feature, although the rest of the book is better focused. Williams observes, "We are ballplayers. We accept the ineffable and get on with the game." Grimes should have have followed suit from early on.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.