Here it is June already. Even worse, it’s early mid-June. The year is flying by, and my baseball reading list seems pretty small at this point. But rest assured, I am continuing to plug away at my secret baseball reading list.
And so I’ve taken up Baseball and the Game of Life, a collection of stories edited by Peter C. Bjarkman. I’m not generally a big fan of story collections. It’s like when I order a flight of beer. Out of five beers — let’s say we order an Ol’ Hardball Pale Ale, a Bambino Stout, a Foul Ball Bock, a Georgia Peach Lager, and a Kirby Puckett Porter — there’s always going to be one that’s great, a couple so-so’s and a couple stinkers. And I’m asking myself, “Why didn’t I just order a nice cold pint of Ol’ Hardball?”
Okay, bad analogy.
But the first story in the set was a stinker, by Robert Coover, “McDuff on the Mound.” The story of Casey at the Bat, told from the pitcher’s perspective. Good idea, but Coover is always risky for me. The Universal Baseball Association, which I should read again this year, was great, I loved it, but it was much better the second time around. Coover will go way over the top at the drop of a bat, and I quickly grow weary of his repetitive slapstick shenanigans. I must admit, I only read the first few pages of this story, then skimmed it to the end. My advice, don’t order the Coover Slapstick Lager. After the first sip you’ll have had enough, and it leaves a bad after-taste.
I enjoyed the second story quite a lot, “The Zodiacs,” by Jay Neugeboren, the story of a young boy in a Brooklyn public school who becomes the G.M. of his local sandlot team. I’ll have another Neugeboren, please. The third story, “Lumpy Drobot, Designated Hitter,” by W.P. Kinsella, was pretty good at the start, but took an odd turn at the end. Too bad. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that there were a number of good characters in this story, and I wish he would have just stuck with them and developed them, and I wish it wouldn’t have taken the bizarre turn that it did… to no good end, in my opinion. I’ll have another Neugeboren, please.
That’s where it’s at.
Twins win yesterday, over the Phillies. They’re 28-33, 5-5 in their last 10 and 7 games out of first. And it’s an entertaining year with some good baseball. Maybe they will get hot in this home-stand. It would be nice to take a few from the Tigers and the White Sox.