The baseball playoffs are one of the many things I love about fall. This year, they will be both better and worse than usual for me. I will find the playoffs much less intense and exciting without the participation of my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. I’m a lifelong fan and am used to seeing them in the playoffs, so this season is a big disappointment. It was pretty clear right from the beginning that this would not be a great season, though, so it hasn’t exactly come as a surprise and I’ve had time to come to terms with the Red Sox’s absence.
On the other hand, I can relax and enjoy some great baseball without tension at home. Often the playoffs cause stress at my house because my husband is a long-time Yankees fan. People are sometimes puzzled by this relationship. One time my husband and I went to a Yankees-Red Sox game in the Bronx. We went to dinner and then, while walking from the restaurant to Yankee stadium, we got lost. We asked a police officer for directions. He started to tell us, then he paused. He looked pointedly at my husband’s Yankees shirt, stared at my Red Sox cap, looked back at my husband’s shirt, looked again at my cap, and then, looking completely mystified and shrugging his shoulders, he asked, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?” It’s true that this situation is not always easy when the two teams play each other in important games. In 2012, fortunately or unfortunately, this will not be a problem.
Despite the absence of the Red Sox, I’m really looking forward to October’s great baseball. To celebrate the event, I’ve compiled a list of fun baseball books. It is not meant to be a “greatest baseball books of all time” type of list, but just a list of fairly recent baseball books that I like because they are illuminating, funny, or about the Red Sox.
So here it is, in no particular order, a short list of fun, funny, interesting and relatively recent baseball books to get you ready for the playoffs (click on the titles to check for availability at SJCPL):
1. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis.
2. Knuckler: My Life With Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch by Time Wakefield.
3. Out of My League: A Rookie’s Survival in the Bigs by Dirk Hayhurst.
4. Baseball’s Best Short Stories edited by Paul D. Staudohar.
5. The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-clearing Brawls :The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by Jason Turbo and Michael Duca.
6. Few and chosen : Defining Negro Leagues Greatness by Monte Irvin with Phil Pepe
7. Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game by John Thorn.
8. Game Time: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell.