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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Third Base for Life: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons, and Baseball
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on April 18, 2012
I loved Joshua Berkowitz's wonderful memoir "Third Base for Life"! It is a touching story of a father's devotion to his son and his determination to make his son's dream of playing in a baseball tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park come true. Berkowitz does this by gathering together a group of boys from his son's Jewish Day School and turning them into a baseball team. He then arranges to have them participate in the Cooperstown tournament. Berkowitz's portrayals of the boys and their families are vivid and authentic. Each of the boys is unique in his own way but all are believable as typical ten year olds with all of their fears and bravado. The story of their journey from inept baseball players to contenders in a national tournament is filled with humor, drama and emotion. The reader is drawn into the intense atmosphere of the tournament and empathizes with the doubts and anxieties of both Berkowitz and the team. This is not just a story about 10 year olds playing baseball - it is an insightful social commentary about the interactions among the boys and the coaches, and the growth that each derives from the experience. I was genuinely moved by this book and recommend it to anyone who cares about "Fathers, Sons and Baseball"!
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on May 6, 2012
As a former Little League Baseball and Youth Softball coach, I loved the way Josh relates to the boys on his team and also to the parents. The book is both warm and humorous. It must be wonderful for the kids on his team to read of their experiences so poignantly captured.
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on June 4, 2012
This book is not for everyone. But if you are interested in baseball, parenting, the need to encourage children to face their fears and chase their dreams, or how to find worthwhile lessons and experiences amid the ruins of defeat, to cherish memories of small victories and the blessings of cooperative efforts, then this book is for you.

The beginning sections explain how a fearless wife and an innocent ten year old son managed to convince a hesitant dad into what amounts to an impossible Don Quixote, tilting-at-windmills, mission impossible: and the dad finally agrees to bring an all Jewish team to Cooperstown Dream Park to compete against the top 160 under-ten baseball teams in the country! Out of the limited ranks of a small private school in Newton Massachusetts, they assemble a team willing to face their fears and sally forth with the vague hope of pulling off a David vs Goliath victory. The fact that several players don't even know the rules of the game makes their objective even more daunting for the Rashi Rams.

The initially reluctant dad, their coach, has only dim memories of playing third base in Little League, but is an avid Red Sox fan, and occasionally gets telepathic support from his patron saint of baseball, Sandy Koufax. More importantly, dad is motivated because he understands that "fear is a mind killer," a failing that sometimes got in the way of his own aspirations, but one that he will not allow to limit his son's ambition and dreams. The balance of the book details the relationships and cooperation that develops among the teammates, their parents, and the several fathers who volunteer as assistant coaches. There are many hurdles to be overcome, including illness, uncertainty, medical emergencies, not to mention, extremely formidable opponents. Plus, the need to frantically juggle players because there are only a couple sound ball players among the rag-tag group, only a single competent catcher, and pitchers whose fastballs rarely exceed 60 MPH. All told with tense play-by-play action enlivened with ever present humor!

Predictably, the Rams are heavily outscored in every game and maintain a spotlessly winless record even in the consolation game that pits them against the second worst team at Cooperstown. But in spite of a poor showing in wins vs losses, they leave the Dream Park for the better--with the confidence and satisfaction of having given it their best. Each player on the Rashi Rams learns that to get a hit you must step up to the plate AND swing the bat. They learn that helping each other, improvising solutions to catastrophes, and just hanging tough when everything is falling down around you, are achievements in themselves. And, each player can retain a memory of at least one small triumph attained and forever carry the pride and strength that comes from having gone up against the best, made a contest of it, and survived. It is happy book, positive, funny, and inspiring.
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on September 21, 2012
This is a great book for any mother or father who has ever coached a child in a sport. It is an easy read that gives you a sense of what coaching youth sports is all about. This book would make a great gift for a father or baseball fan.
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on April 20, 2012
My disclaimer: Josh is my brother-in-law and I am in the book but.........
I was also an English Major in college and I have read a lot of books. Josh's is among the best. It is a warm and touching tale. It is also a quick and easy read. It has surefire appeal to fathers, sons, and anyone who ever played Little League. It is also an engaging read for anyone who enjoys baseball, relationships, and journeys of self exploration and personal growth. My strongest reccomendation is that the book will make you laugh and smile. You will be a happier person because of the few hours you spend with Josh's memoir. Trust me. Buy it. Read it. Don't delay.
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on January 19, 2013
A fictionalized memoir of an ad hoc baseball team of 10-year-old boys from a Jewish day school playing at a Cooperstown tournament. Very enjoyable read.
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on July 15, 2012
Disclaimer: I have the good fortune to be able to say Joshua is my primary care doctor - his line in the book about him being the doctor to whom one should go to be prescribed blood pressure meds reminded me of why I last went and saw him! I learned of his book being published just a couple of days ago, went out and bought it and read it over the course of about 4 hours today. It is refreshing to see a story with meaningful lessons for kids AND adults being published in an era dominated by short attention spans, immediate gratification and winning-at-all-costs. So many parts of this story will resonate with anyone who grew up taking part in Little League, or remembering the parents who sacrificed and had to work so hard to allow their kids the privilege of playing in organized sports, that they couldn't often come to see the games themselves. The author faithfully conveys the almost paralyzing level of fear of a 10-year-old stepping into the batter's box against freakishly overly-developed opponents, as well as the pure and almost unfathomable joy taken from successfully accomplishing a task that others (and sometimes, we ourselves) don't believe can be accomplished - from minor to major and all the points along the spectrum that fall between the two extremes. It's a terrific story about faith, love and dedicating oneself to a task that we might not take on if left to our own devices - but are compelled to do so for those we love. It's a terrific story about overcoming the fears that prevent us from learning about our almost limitless capacities as human beings, and it's told in a way that anyone between the ages of 10 and 100 can relate to. Timeless and graceful, the author's story is a testament to his love of family. And it's delivered in a manner that will seem effortless to the reader, because it's gentle and unsensational - in other words, it's meaningful and clearly comes from the heart. Kudos to the author and publisher alike.
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on May 16, 2012
Disclaimer: Josh was my PCP

Hi Josh

I just got back with my grandkids from the Bahamas

We were on the Disney Dream and I had a great time reading Third Base for Life

You and your team "won" because you believed

What a wonderful experience and a well written book,

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on April 26, 2012
I once read a story, told by a son about his relationship with his father. The son states that on almost every level they struggled to communicate and as he became a teenager he and his father found it more and more difficult to find any common ground. The one thing that did bring them together was baseball. To watch or listen to a game together, to discuss pitchers or hitters statistics, to show and share a bond and a mutual love that has lasted and since moved beyond baseball. I loved reading Josh's book, Third Base For Life. Josh's experience about his son's desire to play at Cooperstown Dreams Park (CDP), one of the most highly competitive youth baseball tournaments in the country is moving, descriptive and downright funny. Coach Josh, against his better judgement and at his wife's behest, takes a local team from his son's school to face off against the best in the nation. The Rashi Rams, as they are known, face their fears, stand up against Goliath, and learn something about themselves and their fathers that is way more important than baseball!! Get 3 copies, one for you, your son and your dad!!!!!
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on December 22, 2012
The best stories are the true ones. I loved this book after getting off to a slow start. Josh tells a great story and he tells it in a way that makes you want to be at COOPESTOWN DREAMS PARK yourself. I was really touched by this book.
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