A housekeeping note: We’re idiots for not calling this series Let’s Go Read from the beginning. Please forgive us.
After a brief break, it seems like a good time to get another book in, don’t you think? With almost literally nothing else happen for the next couple weeks, and then a big lull when Spring Training games lose their luster, maybe a good baseball book will help get us through these doldrums.
As always, I’ll write up a few options below and put a poll at the bottom of the post. Vote and share any thoughts you have in the comments. I’ll have a review and some interesting content to go with the book in early March.
The second-place book in every poll we’ve done so far has been Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game by Rob Neyer. It’s almost a joke now, but also a really good book by many accounts (Jonah Keri said we should read it!). Released in October, former ESPN and SB Nation writer Neyer recreates a single game from the 2017 season to highlight the ways the modern game has changed. Was named the CASEY award winner for 2018 by Spitball Magazine. Rated 4.21/5 with 78 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
As he chronicles each inning and the unfolding drama as these two teams continually trade the lead—culminating in a 9-8 Oakland victory in the bottom of the ninth—Neyer considers the players and managers, the front office machinations, the role of sabermetrics, and the current thinking about what it takes to build a great team, to answer the most pressing questions fans have about the sport today.
In honor of Black History Month and Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday (Jan. 31), our next option is Robinson’s autobiography, I Never Had It Made. In his own words, Robinson describes life as a pioneering baseball player and civil rights activist. Rated 3.95/5 with 1,318 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson’s early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school’s first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the “Noble Experiment”—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.
As a fiction option, since this offseason has seemed to be stranger than fiction, The Universal Baseball Association Inc. by Robert Coover. A book about a man who creates his own fictional baseball league and plays it out over many years, complete with rich lives for the players involved. Rated 3.85/5 with 1,815 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
A satirical fable with a rootless and helpless accountant as the protagonist. Alone in his apartment, he spends all his nights and weekends playing an intricate baseball game of his own invention. The author has won the William Faulkner Award and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award.
And finally, something a little different. Since the Indians will feature some new (but not that different) threads this year, it might be interesting to look at some of the wilder designs out there, which makes Todd Radom’s Winning Ugly a fascinating study. Rated 3.90/5 with 10 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
Baseball, our national pastime. Every fan has memories of their team’s incredible victories and anguishing defeats. We remember the home runs, the walk-off wins, and the moments that will last a lifetime. We also remember those things which we wish we could forget: the errors, the mental mistakes . . . and the ugly uniforms. In an ode to those eyesores, Todd Radom has collected and chronicled some of the swing-and-misses we’ve ever seen on the baseball diamond.
And those are the choices. Let your voice be heard in the poll and happy reading!
What are we gonna read?
This poll is closed
I Never Had It Made
The Universal Baseball Association Inc.