- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Tarcher; 1st edition (May 7, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585421014
- ISBN-13: 978-1585421015
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,194,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Game: One Man, Nine Innings, A Love Affair with Baseball Hardcover – May 7, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
"Whenever you run into me, wherever it is that we are, and whatever it is that we are supposed to be doing, it is wise to remember that I would generally rather be at the ballpark." Benson (Living Prayer) recounts his experiences in baseball, his family and life during this whimsical, flowing account of a minor league baseball game between the Iowa Cubs and the Nashville Sounds. The book is constructed in nine chapters, each prefaced with a quote from late Major League Baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, to match the nine innings of a baseball game, but the structure is rather loose, permitting the author to muse on a variety of subjects, including the Chicago Cubs, his relationship with his wife and a book tour. Although overtly self-conscious, Benson tries his hardest to write in the tradition of high-class baseball writers (think Giamatti and George Will, rather than W.P. Kinsella or Bull Durham), and at times he succeeds: "Those who do not frequent baseball diamonds do not know about the cosmic principle known as If They See It, They Will Slide. If you are a kid, and you are running toward a base on a baseball diamond, and there is absolutely no reason to slide, you will slide anyway. Just for the joy of it. Just for the pretend of it. Just for the dust and the dirt of it. Just for the fact that some cosmic force requires it. It may well be how, if not exactly why, the game of baseball was invented in the first place." He does say some things that will rub a certain type of baseball fan the wrong way, such as that he roots for both the Braves and the Yankees. Literary-minded fans who believe that baseball is a mirror for life will enjoy this book.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Benson (Living Prayer) has season tickets to his home-town minor league team in Nashville, and he structures this book around the action of a typical game. He has produced an intriguing meditative piece on the magnetic pull of baseball, spicing his book with apt quotes from both baseball and literary stars but leaving little doubt that, given the choice, he would rather have been a great ballplayer than a great writer. Thoughtful fans will enjoy.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Actually, Harry used to say, "It might be, it could be, it is!"
I'm sure this is pretty trivial, but I've heard Harry call it this way hundreds of times and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to point this out. Benson makes this mistake a few times in this book, and it's annoying.
Benson also claims to be at Wrigley Field one day in May to see a young phenom by the name of Kerry Wood face the author's favorite team the Braves. At that game, Benson and his wife and the rest of the crowd are led in a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by none other than Harry Caray.
Well, Harry died in February of 1998, and Kerry Wood didn't make his major league debut until 4/12/1998 (Easter Sunday) against the Expos.
The reason why I bring this up is because I often wondered what Harry would have said had he been alive during Wood's 20 strikeout performance against the Astros and the remarkable 1998 season that we all enjoyed as Cubs fans.
These are just a couple of annoying factual errors that I encounter in Benson's book. Other than that, I love the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys baseball and doesn't view it as just a sport, but as a way of life.
Despite the errors mentioned above, Mr. Benson, I would love to play catch or have you hit fungoes to me anytime.
While the book was generally well-written and, at times, the story-telling was captivating, I expected more. The attempt to intertwine the game and the life story didn't always work for me. I was also shocked by the obvious factual errors. There was a page devoted to Vin Scully and his famous "I don't believe what I just saw" call of Kirk Gibson's classic home run. Of course, it was the late Jack Buck--not Vin Scully--who made this famous call. As a lifelong Jack Buck fan, I was upset by this factual mistake.
Overall, this is a quick and enjoyable read. I recommend it for baseball fans who enjoy good literature. It isn't for everyone.