In other words, theyre from a sports column that is written two or three times a week. The author The author, Thomas Boswell, is the best baseball columnist in the U.S. That likely means best in the world. One of the facts that some out of town people are unfamiliar with is that, even though he is on the pinnacle of the baseball journalism world, his writing and insights on the game of professional golf are darn near as good. The book Whats in the book, published in 1989, are several dozen of Boswells baseball columns from the period 1984-1988. Two similar books were published earlier: How Life Imitates the World Series (1982) and Why Time Begins on Opening Day (1984). What interests him, and the reason why his writing so interests us, is the baseball player as human being, as a non-fictional character in the game (or story) of baseball - and of life. Thus, as we read through these 1000 word essays (mostly) we come to pieces like the longer essay he wrote for The Baseball Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book, The Hoover: Called Up to Cooperstown, about the baseball player, and man, Brooks Robinson. Following HUBRIS, two humorous pieces on Boswells views of baseball (99 reasons why baseball is better than football, 40 things he would do to tweak the game), comes the section which gives its name to the book. THE HEART OF THE ORDER contains eighteen columns: nine for the hitting positions on a team, including DH (Catcher: Gary Carter Heros Heart, Third Base: Wade Boggs Heartburn, Right Field: Fred Lynn Heartbreaker, and so forth), three for pitchers (Right-handed pitcher: Doyle Alexander Heartless, Left-handed pitcher: Tommy John Heart Transplant and One-handed pitcher: Jim Abbott Heart of Gold), winding up with columns for Coach, Manager, Owner, President, Commissioner, and finally Fan: Jeff Wickstrom - Song from the Heart. Three columns on MANAGING (LIFE) (Earl Weaver, Dick Howser, Sparky Anderson); five columns on INSIDE THE INSIDE, including one of my favorites, Its Cricket, about Boswells introduction to cricket. With time, would the English game come to seem like a more subtle, more leisurely, more elegant game than baseball? This column, in which Boswell writes that No baseball player in history ever has had his accomplishments so denigrated or received such criticism for the sin of having performed too well, and admits that as a thirteen year old in 1961, he hated Maris, ends thus: With a quarter century of perspective, its easy to see the injustices the small-minded asterisks of another generation. Two columns on the difficulty of leaving the game. Now having a son, inundated with baseball-related presents for the young one, Boswell reflects on the game, relating that Jim Bouton (in Ball Four) said hed spent his life gripping a baseball and only after he retired did he come to realize that itd been the other way around. And offers this personal observation about the way he feels the grip of the game.One promise of Opening Day is that every day for the next seven months the possibility of reckless, feckless escape is as close as the TV button, the radio switch, the morning newspaper, the weekly Sporting News or a trip to the park. But instead Ill rewind to Boswells Introduction (not a column) and give an extended quote, letting the man speak for himself.If baseball in the eighties has taught us one thing, its the difference between success and excellence. In baseball, thats what you discover at the heart of the order.Thus Thomas Boswell on baseball and on life.
Well, nearly 40 year old me isn't as impressed.
The true key is the magical writing of Boswell. I've been reading baseball books for over a decade now, and the writing in this one is not surpassed.
It has been a very long time since I read a Thomas Boswell book, probably a good 20 years. Boswell is featured in th Ken Burns documentary, along with the older baseball nine-part series from 18 years ago. Another great story was the one done on Dwight Gooden, my first favorite baseball player.
We starten met heel wat portretten (sommige oppervlakkig, andere diepgravender), en kijken vervolgens terug op de Word Series (de finale van het baseball-kampioenschap) uit die jaren. Ik begon het boek eind jaren 90 (ik vond in het boek als bladwijzer zelfs een factuurtje terug van een weekendje uit naar de Floraliën in Nederland), maar raakte toen niet erg ver. Boswell windt zich nogal dikwijls op over de miljoenencontracten die de toenmalige sterspelers uit de brand konden slepen, maar die stellen eigenlijk niks voor in vergelijking met wat baseballers vandaag verdienen.
I read and finished Boswells Why Time Begins On Opening Day the first three days at the beginning of September, an even 100 pages per day.