Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Sometimes You See It Coming: A Novel
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on November 1, 1999
I bought this for 2 bucks at an A&P checkout counter. It was worth 10 times that. Mr. Baker writes beautifully about the game. Our hero John Barr is more a Freddie Couples on spikes than Robert Redford, yet there are enough subplots to keep the reader curious....Contains one of the greatest descriptions of a perfect throw that you will ever read.
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on August 17, 1999
It is unfortunate that this book is out of print. In my mind, it is as stirring a book as "If I Never Get Back" or "The Natural" or practically any baseball book short of "Shoeless Joe." It's about a hybrid Dimaggio/Teddy Ballgame type player who is driven to excel by an almost psychotic urge to prevent things from happening before they happen. The book also includes a cast of memorable characters, from the Rickey Henderson-esque Old Swizzlehead to the shortstop Roberto Rodriguez, who knows two words on English, one of them being "you" and the other word being unprintable in a family website.
A great book; well worth reading if you can get your hands on it.
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on February 18, 2006
I just don't have the heart to rate a work of fiction with baseball as the topic with just one star. Still...

Like a lot of writers who take on baseball, Baker just doesn't take the game all that seriously. How else to explain the caricatures disguised as characters in this tedious tome of a novel? The book has it's "good guys" who are all beyond reproach and it's "bad guys" led by a baseball manager who is so over-the-top foolish it's impossible to find him believable. Because the characters are caricatures, the book lacks credibility. And please, to all fiction writers who write about baseball: enough with the nicknames! Not everyone in baseball has one, particularly names like "Swizzle" and "The Big 'Un". Enough already.

Now, you can get away with thin characters in a novel if you've got a larger point or symbol... or something. Baker drops hints throughout that his book is really about tying in all the wonderful legends and myths surrounding some of the games greats (baseball fans will recognize the past of Cobb, Clemente, among others). His point being... well, I don't think there is one which is terribly disappointing because I've heard Baker is a pretty damn good writer. I think Baker fell into the same trap that other writers fall into when the they write about baseball--they're fascinated by the sport but not enough to take it seriously as a basis for art. I remember when Ken Burns was making his documentary on Jazz and he said it was refereshing to work on a serious subject because his last documentary was on baseball. I can't help but feel that after this effort, Baker is looking forward to his next effort.

If I were to summarize it one sentence, I'd say the book reads like an R-rated after-school special, with characters about as deep as what we grew up watching on ABC--predictable and forgettable.
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on July 13, 1999
It's a shame that this book is out of print. If you are into sports stories and want to try a new one, I'd recommend seeing if you can pick up a used copy. I liked it more than, say, the book of The Natural. I saw Field of Dreams, which is perhaps my favorite Baseball Movie, and I think this book is sort of in that league.
A small bit of plot: A tremendously good player, of Ted Williams Calibre, arises almost out of nowhere. His past is very mysterious, and the book presents several points of view in observing him.
There are several characters who are clearly composites of famous personalities, such as a bit of a Billy Martin character, a Mays-ish character and several others. So, it's a fun read for those who enjoyed following those personalities. The hero is, so far as I can see, a composite of a few as well, but I'll stop there.
jl
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on August 29, 2003
Three stars because Baker is such an extraordinary writer that he deserves no less, but this baseball novel is a mostly hollow, unrealistic, and frankly, boring, walk through the (fictional, of course) career of the game's greatest player, who is also the game's least-known player. What?
Within the covers you'll find the fast-talking leadoff man, the hard-boiled plaid-jacket wearing old sports reporter, and the Kathryn Hepburn-like aging woman sportswriter (who is so sketchily presented it makes you wonder if Baker's ever met a woman!).
Allen Barra, formerly of Salon, recently named this the best baseball novel of all time. Yikes! Read "The Southpaw" by Mark Harris instead. It's cliched, it's hokey, but it is really about baseball. Baker's book, on the other hand, sounds like what a novelist thinks baseball should be. If you love the game, the incredulities of the last sections of this book will have you reaching for your scorecard and marking clearly in black pencil, "E-1."
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on August 21, 1999
So often you hear the sports writers say "there's no such thing as a good baseball book or movie, just good baseball games." This is the exception. Real true to form. Deals with real life issues that even players deal with. There's just one thing that I find hard to believe and that is the way the Mets won game six. Other than that, this is a great baseball book.
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on September 5, 2005
I picked this book up at a book fair for a couple of bucks thinking it would be your average baseball book. Boy was I mistaken!!! Baker does an excellent job detailing the characters so you know exactly who they are. The first 100 pages or so does start slow, but after that, it becomes a definite page turner!!! Highly recommended for avid baseball fans.
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on April 2, 2004
I found this an interesting and often humourous book. Although many of the characters were caricatures, I was able to suspend my disbelief to the point that I became enthralled in the mystery and enigma of John Barr. As a result, I found myself rooting for his professional and emotional recovery from a near season-ending slump.
The novel is told largely in the first person through Barr's teammate, "Old Swizzlehead". The story lost some of its credibility as this character's narrative swung (sometimes in mid-paragraph) from inner city black street slang to grammar and vocabulary more befitting a college educated WASP English major.
The author shows a real inderstanding for baseball and athletes and as such I would recommend it to baseball fans. Others may find it a bit tedious.
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on August 12, 2003
Wonderful book with great characters, great plot, great humor, and this perfect flow that wants to take you to the end and give you just what you want from a book. Unpretentious good writing full of life and fun yet with suspence and satire mixed in.
This book is a winner, the best baseball novel I have ever read and maybe the best book I have read all year. Mr. Baker has writen a masterpiece.
You do not have to even like baseball to love this novel.
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on February 21, 1998
An unbelievable, yet believable, story. I can never put it down, no matter how many times I read it. You actually begin to believe the many amazing feats that John Barr accomplishes with his glove and bat. Has many similarities with "The Natural", but far more interesting. Gives you a great inside look at one season in the sun for one team. A GREAT book.
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