Audiobooks The Long Season –

The Classic Inside Account Of A Baseball Year By A Major League Pitcher It Begins, Appropriately, With The Winter Doldrums And Sweating Out A New Contract, Then Follows The Author And His Family To Spring Training In Florida And Through The Full Season S Schedule To October One Of The Best Baseball Books Ever Written It Is Probably One Of The Best American Diaries As Well New York Times Book Review The Greatest Baseball Book Ever Written Jimmy Cannon Very entertaining behind the scenes look at the 1959 baseball season written by a middling relief pitcher named Jim Brosnan Brosnan sounds to me like a cross between Ring Lardner and the back of a bubble gum card, if the bubble gum card were being used as a book mark inside a volume of Twain It s less about scores and all the usual Joe Shlobotnik Story stuff than it is about the way players look at the world, spend their time, and experience the ups and downs of their profession which is surprisingly like most jobs, except that thousands of people cheer or boo you while you re doing it There are good bosses and bad, enjoyable co workers and not so much all the types we all know and deal with, except these wear spiked shoes Because the book was written at the end of the 1950 s, some of the stuff that was par for the course then jars now, like the endless drinking and the casual racism Nonetheless, it s a good read, especially if you are old enough and baseball fan enough to remember the players who turn up in this book It s a bygone era presented without the usual soft focus. My annual pre season baseball book to get me in the mood The author is a highly literate baseball player, which is not common He began the book a memoir of his 1959 season as a pitcher with a glossary of terms Most were familiar to me, but it indicated his interest in the language of baseball Kathy and I have also commented on this when watching TV coverage of the Washington Nationals The color commentator seems to always come up with new phrases, like He s sittin dead red I think that means that the batter was expecting a fastball Much of the baseball portion of the book was thoughts and discussion about how to approach various hitters what to throw to them, and when Brosnan emphasized the sheer contingency of a pitcher s success and failure Everybody coaches, other pitchers, hitters have views, often conflicting but even when there is agreement, there is the further matter of whether the pitcher can deliver what is attempted, what the batter expects it s a 2 sided game after all , how the fielders are positioned, how the wind is blowing, etc, etc But some of the book was taken up with life on and off the field The best part was his extended discussion of how to make and chew tobacco who knew that chewing gum was involved and spitting it This is a part of baseball lore that must be passing away probably for the better Another part of baseball that seems to be passing away is odd ball nicknames, and even nicknames at all Among the players with nicknames he mentions are Goofy Joe Adcock, Gus Ding Dong Bell, Flakey Brandt, Smokey Forrest Burgess, Uncle Marv Grissom, Cocky Jackson, Sad Sam Jones, Sal The Barber Maglie for often pitching high and inside , Don Tiger Newcombe, T Bone Phillips, Leon Daddy Wags Wagner, and of course his own nicknames, being somewhat intellectual, were Four Eyes and Professor His wife s nickname for him is Meat You just don t hear clever, descriptive nicknames anyin baseball We now have ones like A Rod and K Rod Oh, wellHere s a recent review of the book from a long perspective What a fabulous baseball book Well written, insightful, thoughtful, and down to earth To think that it was written about a season close to 60 years ago is amazing to me, as it still rings modern We can set aside the contractual issues over 20,000 a year, and no agents, and a few other things, but the core of the game comes to light Brosnan put together a great diary that ranks up there with the best diaries of any subject I would add that those looking for the kind of story that Jim Bouton wrote in Ball Four won t find it in this book Brosnan s story is less salacious but no less honest. Ah, the pernicious persistence of preconceived notions whether because of Ted Williams famously ventilated dicta regarding the stupidity of Major League pitchers, or from being exposed to BULL DURHAM at an impressionable age, I have always found myself surprised to find that my favorite Baseball memoirs have been written by pitchers rather than catchers Satchel Paige, Jim Bouton, and especially Bill Spaceman Lee have written the memoirs that have drawn me closest into the mysteries of the National Passed Time to that list add the progenitor of the modern Baseball memoir, Jim Brosnan There is a definite progression from Brosnan to Bouton to Lee all were journeymen pitchers who exposed facets of the Game that the Powers That Were were uncomfortable having revealed the references to sex, drugs, and the stupidity of management becomepronounced from Brosnan, writing in the early sixties, to Bouton, writing in the early seventies, to Lee, writing in the eighties and nineties Brosnan is probably the most talented writer of the three, Lee the most entertaining Over the past few decades it has become increasingly commonplace for sanctimonious pricks such as George Will to opine that Baseball belongs to the fans The great value of these memoirs is that they make the case that Baseball belongs every bit as much to the men who play the games, the men to whom the games are in fact their lives as well as livelihood Also, I particularly enjoyed the fact that Brosnan s wife always addresses him as Meat , which I find to be wonderfully endearing Only 3 1 2 months to Spring Training