Last summer I spent three weeks in the USA and took the opportunity to indulge a long held interest in the game of baseball. Ever since the New York Mets 1986 World Series victory was covered by Channel 4 I had been intrigued by the game and that was further fuelled by W P Kinsella’s wonderful book Shoeless Joe, the resultant film Field of Dreams and a canon of other movies about the sport.
My stay in New York unfortunately coincided with the Yankees being in town rather than the Mets, but I swallowed my allegiances and headed to Yankee Stadium to see the hosts demolish long time rivals the Boston Red Sox in my first ever live game. I loved the whole experience, except maybe the catering stand prices, thrilled to finally be watching a game.
John Feinstein’s book is about life in the minor leagues away from the glamour and big pay cheques of the majors. It’s a fascinating introduction to the journeys of players, coaches, umpires and announcers as he follows the fortunes of a colourful cast of characters as they seek to either achieve or recapture their dreams of being in the “Bigs”. As a football fan in England who supports a Championship club and also follows non-league football the book resonates across sports.
If you are interested in baseball and would like to know more about the game and the people invested in it I cannot recommend this book, from a National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame member, enough.