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The Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball (Hall of Fame Edition) Paperback – April 1, 2004
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"Koppett's perceptive comments make this book a treat for both the casual fan and the seasoned baseball lover." -- Bruce Dancis, Sacramento Bee, April 8, 2001 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book is broken into into three parts, each building on the previous one. The first part, "The Game on the Field" explains pretty much everything that goes on during an actual game. Everyone's roles are explained fully, from the starting pitcher, to the umpires. Each major part (pitching, for example) has its own chapter dedicated to it, and usually includes interesting historical anecdotes
The next section, Behind the Scenes, explains all the "other stuff" that is part of baseball, if not necessarily the actual "game". Things like the media, agents, the commissioner, owners, etc.
The book concludes with some classic baseball discussions/arguments that that will sound familiar to most fans: Who Deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Who was the better player: Mantle or Mays?
There are also three very brief and basic appendices, which seemed a little tacked-on.
Overall, the book is very well done, but I was a tad disappointed. The title of the book led me to believe that there would be a lot more in-depth analysis of particular strategies, similar to what one might find in a book by Bill James or John Thorn. Instead, what I got was a good, if rather basic book on the game of baseball and all that is a part of it.
This isn't a big deal, really. The book is well-written, and Koppett includes a lot of interesting anecdotes about famous players. The book is also an excellent primer for the budding baseball afficionado who wants to understand the game at its deepest level. It is almost impossible not to find something in this book that interests you, which is a very good thing also as it leads you to read and learn more about the game, no matter where your particular interests may take you.