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A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth Hardcover – July 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Another tour de force from baseball’s Boswell. Curt Smith has produced a compelling anecdotal history of the national pastime through the lens of its announcers. This is storytelling at its most masterful—an anecdotist’s dream."—Tom DeFrank, New York Daily News
(Tom DeFrank New York Daily News)

"Baseball broadcasting’s top chronicler knows a good story when he hears one. A Talk in the Park shares great tales from the booth. Who knew that Fenway Park’s rough-and-ready fans would serenade Oklahoma-born Joe Simpson with the title song from the Broadway musical that bears his home state’s name? Curt Smith did, and now you will, too.”—Phil Mushnick, New York Post
(Phil Mushnick New York Post)

"Curt Smith has authored classic books like Voices of the Game, forged ESPN TV and Smithsonian Institution programs, and written more speeches than anyone for President George H. W. Bush. His latest work includes more Voices than in any sports book, ever. Amazing.”—Bruce DuMont, president, National Radio Hall of Fame
(Bruce DuMont)

"We’ve listened to announcers as they’ve brought baseball to life on the air. Now we get to revel in the stories we’ve often never heard them tell—until now. Curt Smith has knocked it out of the park again."—Christine Brennan, USA Today
(Christine Brennan USA Today)

"Baseball is a game of stories. This book includes hundreds of baseball tales from dozens of well-known broadcasters. Your favorite players are all in here. This book will delight all those who cherish our game. You will laugh, smile, grimace, and even groan. But you will be sad only when it ends."—Fay Vincent, former Major League Baseball commissioner
(Fay Vincent)

"Curt Smith has gone deep again—over the wall into the game’s broadcasting essence—telling stories. With a ball in play as little as eight minutes in a three-hour game, filling dead spots with anecdotes is essential. With our nomadic lifestyle, these terrific stories involve happenings on and off the field."—Joe Castiglione, Boston Red Sox radio announcer
(Joe Castiglione)

About the Author

CURT SMITH is a senior lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, a GateHouse Media columnist, and the author of sixteen books, including the classic Voices of the Game. He has written for such publications as Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Washington Post and has been named to the prestigious Judson Welliver Society of former presidential speechwriters.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597976709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597976701
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Curt Smith has put together another interesting book relating anecdotes of various present-day baseball announcers. The book is dedicated to the late Detroit Tigers' announcer, Ernie Harwell, and features Harwell on the cover in addition to an interesting chapter relating stories involving Harwell told by former Tigers' television announcer Josh Lewin and present-day Tiger announcers Jim Price and Dan Dickerson among others. This is one of my favorite chapters in the book since I have listened to Ernie Harwell since he joined the Tigers in 1960.

Baseball's history is rich in anecdotes, and the announcer who can weave interesting stories throughout the game in addition to painting a picture of the scene played out before him to the radio listener is sure to capture the attention of his audience. Present-day Dodgers' announcer Vin Scully has become a national treasure in doing this with the team since 1950, and examples of Scully's work are provided such as his sign off following Fernando Valenzuela's no-hitter with "If you've got a sombrero, throw it to the sky!"

Several announcers relate their initial insecurities in getting into the profession. One states he was terrible his first year and less terrible the following. Bob Uecker, Bob Costas, Charley Steiner, Ned Martin, Steve Blass, Denny Matthews, Bob Wolff, and several others relate their experiences. All these and others agree on the importance on being yourself, and not trying to rehearse what you plan on saying in advance of a historic call.

This book will be of interest to any baseball fan who can appreciate the intimate connection an announcer has to his favorite team. Those contemplating a career in sports broadcasting also will find it helpful to them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Rains on August 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Curt Smith has hit another home run with "A Talk In The Park." One of the beauties of baseball is listening to the stories told by the radio broadcasters and nobody transfers those stories from voice to print better than Curt Smith.

This book will have you smiling and laughing as you recall some of the special moments in the history of the game shared by some of the best broadcasters. The stories behind the stories are also very informative and entertaining.

Even if you are too young to have heard the legendary voices in baseball broadcasting such as Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, this book brings those legends back to life for everybody to enjoy.

If you are trying to decide whether to buy this book, my advice to you is buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Desert Rat on August 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I almost passed on getting this book, but picked up a copy, and I'm glad I did. I'm a baseball nut....and just like you have your favorite teams and players, you have your favorite announcers. I really enjoyed going through all of the chapters and seeing the different sides of the broadcasters. A lot of different styles. A couple of my favorites? Jon Miller and Tim McCarver. How about you?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Learned about this work while listening to the Jim Bohannon Show one evening. Incidentally, he's included in it, too.

It is chock full of anecdotes and short stories from all sides of baseball life, though some are not as engaging as the majority of them are. Hence, the four stars.

Still, this would be a great stocking stuffer for that baseball guy or gal in your life this Christmas. The reading level makes this book easily accessible to middle school kids. Smith has taken care to put in blanks in quotes containing language "off color" in nature. It's appropriate for that rabid sixth grade baseball fanatic through adult.

And this is certainly not meant as a putdown, but it is the perfect book to keep in the bathroom as the structure of the book lends itself quite readily to short reads and skipping around.

Worth a look.
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By debby boron on November 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Incredible insights for everyone into the history of the game. Going behind the scenes was well worth the trip! "Let's play two"
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