"Where there are ballparks," writes Tom Stanton in The Final Season
, his wistful meditation on baseball and family, "there are memories ... I could never go to Tiger Stadium without feeling the ghosts of history about me...." In 1999, the season of that noble ballpark's last stand, Stanton set out to make peace with those ghosts by attending all 81 Tiger home games. He wasn't sure what he was looking for when he started, but what he finds in the end is much more personal than anything he sees between the foul lines.
Conceived as a game-by-game journal, The Final Season is filled with baseball. Stanton steps up with graceful musings on the game, the park, the Tigers and their history, and, most spiritedly, a pair of living legends--former right fielder Al Kaline and announcer Ernie Harwell. But it's Stanton's thoughts about family--his own family and how the game and the ballpark have connected generations--that truly resonate. In his prose, this lovely old rust bucket of a ballpark, this repository of so many memories, becomes metaphor.
Fittingly, Stanton takes his father to the final game. "I've noticed something today," he writes of the experience. "It's not the seventy- and eighty-year-old men who are wiping their eyes. It's the generation that came after them. And we're hurting not only for the loss of this beautiful place, but for the loss of our fathers and grandfathers--belatedly or prematurely. The closing of this park forces us to confront their mortality, and when we confront their mortality we must confront our own.... A little bit of us dies when something like this, something so tied to our lives, disappears." --Jeff Silverman
From Publishers Weekly
After the Detroit Tigers' owners announced that 1999 would be the last season played in 87-year-old Tiger Stadium, Michigan journalist Tom Stanton (Rocket Man: Elton John from A-Z) fulfilled his childhood dream of attending all 81 home games. Describing the stadium as one of "the points on our personal maps where we find our treasured memories and replenish our hungering souls," in The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark Stanton takes us through the season game by game, revisiting his indelible connections to the stadium along the way. There, his father and uncles survived depression, illness and bereavement through love of baseball, and there Stanton grieved after his "fevered delusions of a baseball career snapped like a hard curveball." Ultimately, Stanton mourns "the loss of our fathers and grandfathers" and decries the process that has "splintered the sport into haves and have-nots," though he doesn't dig deeply into the team's desire to move to the wealthy suburbs from a poor African-American neighborhood. Photos. Agent, Philip Spitzer.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.