From Publishers Weekly
Suspended between the grind of winter contract negotiations and the tension of summer pennant races, spring training is a brief respite when the pressure is off, the weather is fine, players are approachable and even Cubs fans can have hope. The magic of this liminal period is captured in this lavishly illustrated homage. Sportswriter Shaughnessy, author of The Curse of the Bambino, recounts the history of spring training, referees the vicious Arizona-Florida rivalry, provides unnecessary information about spring training stadia, and generally soaks up atmosphere ("Touch the players. See them sweat. Hear them swear.") Awash in trivia and replete with anecdote upon aimless anecdote about springs past, his prose is as slow and meandering as the play-by-play for a game that doesnt count. Reminiscences by baseball stars and writers like Roger Angell and Stephen King round out the text. Half of the book is taken up with a vibrant photo essay by Stan Grossfeld, which captures the relaxed feel of the training camps with pictures of ball players stretching, squatting, sunning themselves, gawking at girls and occasionally playing ball. Fans will enjoy this glimpse into the brief yearly interlude when baseball really is a game.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A juicy hot dog of a treat for fans, with about as much nutritional value. Shaughnessy writes of the sweet spring of baseball, the play before the season, as it unfolds in both the Florida Grapefruit League and the Arizona Cactus League. He's talking about cozy ballparks and getting close to the players in almost the same breath as he says how all that's changed now. There's a certain amount of gossipy insider stuff, too--Clete Boyer needing the Heimlich maneuver at the Pink Pony in Scottsdale--but, finally, it's Grossfeld's photographs that are the real stars here. They are large, luscious, and gorgeously composed, and it's hard not to slaver over them: Mr. Met with a bevy of cuties; both Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera with their arms wrapped in so much ice they look like manga
characters; and spring-training parks from every angle, dazzling in emerald green and lapis blue. The last chapter holds short reminiscences of spring training from the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin and Roger Angell, slow, easy, and unpolished, like spring training itself. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved