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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fan Returns
Like many baseball junkies, I ended my long obsession (25 years of attending 30+ games) during the 94 strike, not watching or caring about the game for a couple of years. Gradually my interest returned and I started making trips back to the Oakland Coliseum to see my A's, primarily when a big draw like the Yankees came into town. Luckily, I had been able to closely...
Published on June 9, 2000 by Jeff Rapson

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much new...and hideous sportwriter prose
You should read this book if you fall into one of the following categories:
1. You can't remember what happened last baseball season (perhaps the most memorable season of our generation);
2. You remember what happened but you don't mind reading about it for the zillionth time;
3. You want to know which of Mike Lupica's kids is the...
Published on July 28, 1999 by DFechter


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much new...and hideous sportwriter prose, July 28, 1999
By 
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
You should read this book if you fall into one of the following categories:
1. You can't remember what happened last baseball season (perhaps the most memorable season of our generation);
2. You remember what happened but you don't mind reading about it for the zillionth time;
3. You want to know which of Mike Lupica's kids is the "nester";
4. You crave more turgid sports writing, with its transparent efforts to create dramatic effect by using endless clipped sentences and paragraphs.
Lupica is a master of this style. Why write a whole sentence when you can break it into two fragments? Or three fragments? Better yet, you can really enhance the drama of a sentence fragment.
By making it a paragraph.
The following are examples of "sentences" written by Lupica: "With the game." "And memories of Kerry Wood." "Then Jeff Bagwell." "And the Cubs right fielder, Sammy Sosa." "Yet." "Even in Grand Prarie, Texas."
All of these are found on just two pages. Page 39.
And page 40.
And the last four examples were entire paragraphs!
To be fair, Lupica does throw in some behind-the-scenes material, including conversations with: the scout who discovered Sammy Sosa, the best friend of Roger Maris, the high school coach of Kerry Wood, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Bobby Thomson, Daryl Strawberry, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter. Even these are mostly predictable, though. The scout remembers Sammy as a ragamuffin in old spikes. Roger didn't like to talk much about his 61 homers. Kerry struck out a lot of guys in high school. And so on. Still, these little vignettes, wedged between the bad writing and the stories about Lupica's precocious kids and fabulous wife (who smiles, shakes her head, and sighs...'oh, those boys!'...as Mike and the kids sit glued to the tube watching yet another game) at least make the book tolerable. Plus it's a pretty quick read and the 1998 season was a great story. Just don't expect much insight, and put on some hip boots to wade through the Lupica prose.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment. Really. I thought so., October 6, 2002
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
I bought this book only because I love baseball and only because it was [inexpensive]. My uncle is also mentioned in the book, so I thought Id give it a try. I assume Mr. Lupica is a sportswriter, but I wish he would stick to his day job. This book is an abomination. Lupica thinks by writing constant incomplete sentences that it adds emphasis to his sentences. Sure, this works for a while, but when there is one in every paragraph, it gets old. Fast. Real Fast.
Example. Here for you. The Reader. Of my review:
(PG. 20-- "McGwire had attended one of those Fan Fests that big-league teams hold during the winter, and had signed more than 300 autographs. For free. It only made him more of a giant. More like Babe Ruth."
I mean, how does this drivel slip past the editor? I found myself skimming this book instead of reading it. Lupica repeats OVER AND OVER the phrase, "magical season," to the point where it's just not so magical anymore.
When authors include their real life experiences, I like to hear how everyone really sounded. Lupica's 8-year old child just does not speak like this. I'm sorry.
Ugh, I regret spending [money] on this and am sad that someone I know was mentioned. In it. Blegh
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is this a Parody of a Baseball book?, December 29, 2011
This is about the worse book on baseball I have ever read. There are several reasons for this, almost all of them have been well-articulated by the reviews already here. The book has a highly annoying, ungrammatical style; it is unnecessarily mawkish and cloying whenever the author starts rambling on about his sons and family (children are like dogs: everyone has them and they are all cute, but all conversations -- and books -- take a nosedive whenever anyone begins to tell me how cute they are). The "sports prose" mentioned elsewhere will drive any half-educated reader up the wall. Sentence fragments abound; incomplete thoughts pretending to be high drama are everywhere. The style alone is enough to make a hockey fan out of me. The book is not just bad, it is stupendously bad, like a parody. It is not mundanely bad like the Washington Senators, but it is grandly bad, like the '62 Mets or Ray Oyler's batting average.

And yet (or, as Lupica would say: "And yet."), there is something that compels one to read on. I think that reading this, one gets the same feeling one would have gotten reading the Southhampton newspaper accounts of the departure of the Titanic, or a biography of Bernie Madoff before the curtain came down. That is: one senses a feeling of impending doom. Summer of '98(I am also angry that the author stole the title from David Halberstam's masterful work, Summer of '49) holds up as saviors of baseball the very swine that almost brought it down: McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens. And Lupica is blithely unaware of all this, even when it happens right in front of him...and he notices it! Take, for example, when he talks about McGwire's rookie card and the 1998 version of that same player: "He's bigger than on his rookie card, Dad." His son says so cutely and innocently. Then Lupica notes: "He had McGwire with the A's, when McGwire looked to be about half the size he is now." Then, a couple of lines down the page, we read again that "McGwire looked huge at first base" (7)! Gee, I wonder why? Later on, Lupica muses that "physically,he's [i.e. McGwire] ridiculously impressive"(19). Ridiculous is the operative word, of course.

Still, I read on. There is a strange shadow of irony to this entire book. The heros are all bad guys; the records all bogus. The hype is all, well, just hype. Lupica touts that season as the season which saves baseball, when it really is a season to be ashamed of. Aaron, Maris,Mays, Ripken, Kaline...yes, even Ray Oyler have more integrity in their big toe than all the Sosas, McGwires and Clemens with their bloated muscles and fake records. Maris is still the record-holder; he is still there, short-sleeved, no undershirt, on that day in 1961, no crowd to speak of in Yankee Stadium to watch him. He has no fancy baseball gloves, no cameras flash throughout the stands (it's a day game, for heaven's sake, they played baseball in the daytime back then!). His swing is powerful and sure; his shirt billows out from the motion of that swing. It's the matter-of-fact greatness that is baseball's salvation: no victory dances in the endzone, no hoopla, no TV announcers rehearsing what they'll say. After the home run, Maris has to be pushed out of the dugout to wave his cap (thanks, Lupica, for that detail). No little son waiting for him at the plate; no goofy Sosa running in for a show-boating embrace. Maris understood baseball in a way Lupica is incapable of, because Lupica is so pre-occupied with show and pose and hype. The home run "kings" of 1998 are an embarrassment to baseball; Lupica's book is an embarrassment to baseball literature.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For Lupica Family members only, December 5, 2001
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Paperback)
Dont' read this book if you want a recap of the 98 baseball season. Do read it if you want to know more about Mike Lupica's kids, their favorite player, the name of their little league team, and the rules at the Lupica house for the boys bedtime.
If you are related to Mike Lupica or are a friend of the family, by all means buy the book, you'll love it, since most of it is about people you know. For the rest of us, who bought it thinking we were getting the story of the 98 season, it is a waste of money.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fan Returns, June 9, 2000
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
Like many baseball junkies, I ended my long obsession (25 years of attending 30+ games) during the 94 strike, not watching or caring about the game for a couple of years. Gradually my interest returned and I started making trips back to the Oakland Coliseum to see my A's, primarily when a big draw like the Yankees came into town. Luckily, I had been able to closely follow McGwire's career from the start when he hit 49 dingers his first year. It seemed like everytime I'd go to a game, he'd hit one out for the small crowd of only 10,000 or so. Sadly, the inevitable happened and he left in 97. Our loss became St.Louis's and the rest of America's gain. The 98 summer was also marked (no pun intended) for me by the birth of our first son in July. Ironically, I was born in 61, the year of Maris. I really feel a connection to Maris, McGwire and Sosa and am so happy that all of this incredible baseball has been so beautifully recapped and chronicled by the great Mike Lupica. This book is very moving also because it's about fathers and sons and the very special bond brought by this greatest of games. In fact, I am in the process of buying a hardcover copy to be given to my son on his 10th birthday. Summer of 98 is a definite winner for any baseball fan!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Great, August 26, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
An entertaining month-by-month account of the many reasons why 1998 was such a memorable baseball season, including the stories behind the stories. Unfortunately, the book is marred by the author's penchant for name-dropping. The common fan who spends a week's pay to take his kids to a game will have trouble relating to the the privileged Lupica clan as they stroll through Yankeee stadium with Buck Showalter, share intimate conversations with baseball legends old and new, and receive gifts of personally autographed bats on their birthdays. Not to mention great seats for all those games. Sure, we're just jealous, Mike, but rubbing our noses in it shows a lack of class.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pulp baseball non-fiction at its worst., May 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
Mike Lupica lost me on page 8. I picked up his book with the high hopes of having a fine sports writer carry me back to the magical season just concluded. But my hopes were quickly dashed. On page 8. This isn't a book about the 1998 season - McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, Ripken, Wells, the Yankees - it's a book about Mike Lupica and Sons. It is so self-absorbing, it's nauseating. It's about deciding a week before to go to a Mets game and sitting close to the field; it's about escaping the crowd by getting permission to jump a fence and going out through the player's tunnel; it's about his kids and their private chat session with Darryl Strawberry; it's about Mike playing basketball with Cal Ripken; it's about Mike's sister and her impromptu walk with Joe DiMaggio; it's about, well, it's about Mike Lupica. It does for baseball non-fiction what "The Love Story" did for fiction: pulp baseball non-fiction at its worst. This book was in desperate need of an editor; too bad Bob Costas and Pete Hamill, both of whom had glowing things to say about the book on the dust jacket, didn't read the book before they honored it. The Cardinals have won seven [sic, it's nine] World Series [p. 19]? Where in the heck is Bent [sic, it's Bend] Oregon [p. 58]? And who is Kent Bottenfeld [sic, it's Bottenfield, p. 100]? How many other factual errors did he miss? Did I miss? Did Costas and Hamill miss? But let's get back to page 8. Lupica wants to convince us that he is a true baseball fan. Desperately wants to convince us. He learned a love for the game from his father; he came of age during the dramatic Maris-Mantle home run chase of 1961. And he is successfully passing along that passion to his three sons, who obviously are fans of the game. But it is so unconvincing when on page 8 he admits to leaving a game in the 6th inning - and we hear nary a peep from his three sons/fans. It all started with this awkward sentence: "We had decided that the one more inning before we left was this inning, the fifth." A collective decision? To leave in the 6th inning? They came to see McGwire in a spring training game and left as he was standing - and grinning - on 2nd base? Was he removed from the game? Did he go deep in the 8th? We'll never know - and it is not clear if the Lupicas cared. Gotta beat the unwashed to the parking lot! It would have been bad enough if they had made their exit as Big Mac was being lifted for a pinch runner - was Mike one of those "fans" who left early in the game after Hank Aaron hit number 715 in 1974? - but to leave in the 6th inning with Mac on 2nd base is blasphemy. What is he teaching his kids? Guess Mike hadn't gotten permission from the security guard to beat the crowd to the parking lot after the game. Too bad this book wasn't more about the 1998 season and less about Mike Lupica. I wonder what his kids are going to do when they grow up and realize that being a fan is more than special privilege and a front row seat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful View of Baseball Thru the Eyes of Fathers & Sons, June 9, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
This was a nice recap of the magic and wonder of the 1998 season, which made us forget about the egos and politics of America's Pastime for a little while (see his earlier book Mad As Hell). Especially touching was Mike Lupica's interactions with his father and 3 sons of the highs and lows of last season, particularly Darryl Strawberry's battle with cancer. In the face of Darryl's recent troubles with the law, I wonder how Mr. Lupica was able to his sons how far their hero had fallen.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I really WANTED to like this book, May 21, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
I grew up a baseball fan but had become less and less interested in the game, until last season. As a Cubs fan, Harry Caray's death prompted me to start watching the Cubs daily again. I found the season to be so incredible, and really was hoping this book would capture that mystique. But, like several other reviewers here, I found the factual mistakes and Lupica's self-absorption overshadowing anything I could have enjoyed about it. Here's another glaring error -- page 173, the Yankees were going to play their second playoff game on September 31. (Didn't anyone proofreading this book know the poem "Thirty days hath September...."???) Another error that I as a Cub fan noticed was that Lupica said Gary Gaetti was traded to the Cubs by the Cardinals. Nope - the Cards released him, and the Cubs signed him a few days later. I also found it quite hypocritical that Lupica criticizes baseball announcers for preparing homerun calls ahead of time before McGwire's 62nd, after describing how his "good friend" Bob Costas, who wouldn't even be broadcasting the game, had a homerun call for number 62 prepared and did it for Lupica. This could have been a good book, but fell far short.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming revisit to a memorable season., April 7, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Summer of '98 (Hardcover)
To date, there have not been many worthwhile words written on what could be the most magical season in all of sport. Mr. Lupica captures the emotion and excitement of the 1998 baseball season like it happened just yesterday. I found myself unable to put this book down and I am dead tired because of it. I literally read this book cover to cover in one sitting. Lupica does a magnificent job of recreating the season from a genuine family perspective. I highly recommend this insightful look back at America's pastime.
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