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Slider Hardcover – July 23, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Known for writing submarine thrillers like The Shark Mutiny, Robinson demonstrates his knowledge and love of baseball in this tale of a Louisiana college student who opts to play summer ball in Maine for a league that has produced a number of major league players. Jack Faber's father, Ben, an impoverished sugar cane farmer, drives him up the coast, and on the way they pick up another outstanding prospect, Tony Garcia, accompanied by his mother, Natalie. Natalie is a struggling music teacher and adamantly opposed to Tony playing baseball. In spite of their differences, Natalie and Ben are attracted to each other. Jack has a terrific season with the Seapuit Seawolves, is named most valuable player and is offered a major league contract, which he turns down. When Jack returns to college, a tough new coach breaks his spirit in a matter of days with unwarranted criticism, and Jack ends up quitting baseball. But his coaches in Maine still believe in him and invite him back to the Cape Marlin Baseball Summer League, where they rebuild his confidence with infinite care. The story might have ended here, but Robinson heads off on a tangent in the final pages when a billionaire major league owner forces his underproducing team to play an exhibition game against the Seawolves, the catch being that if his team loses he will shut down the franchise. The ending defies credibility as does a deus ex machina discovery of natural gas on Ben Faber's property that makes him a multimillionaire and allows him and Natalie to get together. Plenty of baseball play-by-play provides fodder for fans, but scattered action distracts from the fun, and too many characters crowd the playing field.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Robinson's baseball novel is constructed around one of the most vexing questions in sports: Why would a successful pitcher suddenly find himself bereft of the physical tools that made him a star? The book's hero, Jack Faber, is the reigning king of a prestigious collegiate league, but bad breaks and self-doubt have robbed him of his skills. Hamstrung from the start by a predictable plot and occasionally stilted dialogue, the novel still manages to offer up several characters worth worrying over. There is the introspective hurler who seems destined for pro ball, the conflicted mother who wants her son to quit the game and concentrate on his studies, and the frustrated ex-ballplayer who seems bent on derailing the career of every phenom. Robinson is a baseball traditionalist; in his world, there is still a team playing at Ebbets Field. With solid accounts of game action and salty ballpark language, this makes a passable addition to the literature of the game. Think Michael Shaara's For Love of the Game with less style but more guts. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (July 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060510269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060510268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,482,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Robinson is the co-author of the recent New York Times bestseller, "A Colossal Failure of Common Sense - the inside story of the collapse of Lehman Brothers."

Before that, he co-authored Lone Survivor for Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell which was #1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list for eight months in 2007.

Patrick is also the author of eleven international bestselling suspense thrillers, including To the Death, Nimitz Class, Hunter Killer, and Diamondhead, the first book in his brand new series.

He lives in Ireland and spends his summers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MK White on September 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For a baseball fan, this book is awful, almost painful. It's pretty clear the author doesn't really understand baseball. The book is full of obvious errors. For example (from page 69):
"Scott Maloney, pumped up for the battle, came straight out and whacked a double off Fisher's second fastball, straight into the left-center gap. Ray Sweeney came up and took the first pitch, an inside fastball he banged right between the first and second baseman. This put runners and first and second."
Okay, a double followed by a single puts runners at first and second? A single on a pitch the batter "took"? Not only is the author clueless, but apparently no one bothered to employ an editor.
Not all of the baseball-related errors are this awful, but most of the baseball narrative has minor flaws, inconsistencies, and just doesn't sound right. I gave up after about a hundred pages, but according to other reviews the book gets worse as it goes along.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Homer on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's difficult to believe anyone could write this badly. To fail to hold the reader's interest in a sports book, particuliarly a baseball book, is almost impossible. Sports have a built-in dramatic shape. Plus you are usually singing to the choir. Robinson, however, has through maudlin sentimentality, grandiose hyperpole and ponderous repetition, drained the life out of this story.
The descriptions of baseball's skills and techniques are so sadly inaccurate only someone who has has never thrown a ball or swung a bat could have written them.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Patrick Robinson is obviously a Brit writing about the American Pastime. There are many basic flaws in his description of the game's play-by-play. From a batter sharply pulling an outside fastball to a runner only advancing from second to third on a double, the fundamentals of baseball are repeatedly broken. Many times, his descriptions of the game's action will confuse you.
Of course, that confusion is nothing compared to the disbelief the last third of this novel instills in you. The outlandish, drawn out, fantasy ending to this story may cause a violent reaction from your gut...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on March 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was at my local library the other day and, since spring training had just started, I thought a baseball book woould be just the thing. But this is a bad book -- clichéd from beginning to end.

First of all, the reader doesn't get any real sense of place. The baseball league on the cape is just a stage set. It must be wonderful to play on the cape, by the beach, in the sunshine and salt air, in the balmy summer breezes, babes all over the place. You wouldn't know it to read this book. It has only the sketchiest sense of place.

The characters are cardboard through and through. The main character's baseball crisis is right out of a cartoon strip and not particularly believable. He shows no self awareness. So what if his coach is a jerk. So what if the coach says he's late when he's not. He's the coach. Don't contradict him. What an idiot. If coach wants to call your pitches, then throw what he calls. Get over it. The coach wants him to learn a slurve? Learn it. Wouldn't it be great to have another pitch. Ho doesn't have to abandon his slider.

The main character keeps calling his slider his "bread and butter" pitch during the conflict with his coach. I saw no evidence of that until the end of the book. He continually worried about it during his first season on the cape. If you can't throw your bread and butter pitch when you need it with 100% confidence in it, then maybe it's not your bread and butter pitch. The main character is the only character in the book who is fleshed out at all, and his loss of confidence is simply one among many plot devices and none of them is made to make much sense as anything else.

The laudatory quotes on the back were misleading. I saw them and thought I had a book worth reading.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bret Hern on January 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My "bad book" antennae were alerted on page 1 of this tome when I noticed a rather pathetic typo (Mississippi is misspelled), and nothing on the succeeding 400 pages allowed them to relax, even though I went into "skim for big events" mode about halfway in.
This is a bad novel, with all the authenticity of hair in a can, and as flat as the troublesome slider thrown by the nominal hero of the story. The baseball action is described in aimless, excessive, and error-prone detail, almost every plot line is preposterous and full of holes, and the dialogue reads like something out of a Chip Hilton story. Examples beyond what has been offered in other reviews:
- Hard luck mother of catcher despairs of his ever getting started with a law career if he wastes a couple of precious years trying to play baseball. Yep, those law firms hate to hire former athletes...
- A pitcher from a college baseball powerhouse goes from summer league MVP to being essentially cut from his team, AND NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT. Did Einstein predict the presence of media black holes, too?
- A pitcher (from Stanford, no less) continues to pitch through pain; apparently the lure of the Ted Kennedy Trophy (I'm not making this up) is far greater than the $2 MM+ signing bonus he'll get for being a first round draft pick.
Ugh. Even the "local color" of the summer league scene, which was the reason I picked up the book in the first place, is trotted out with a sort of Truman Show kind of gloss, and goes nowhere. No runs, no hits, and too many errors.
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