famous Blue Jays blogger sometimes has its perks. Publishers and promotions groups are always sending so much free swag that it overflows my mailbox. Alright, that’s not entirely true, but a book publisher did send us a review copy of a book this one time. The title is “Baseball Miscellany” by Michael Silverman and since it was sent, as a baseball fan I figured I’d give it a read and a review, so here’s some info for anyone who might be considering picking it up.
The book isn’t a heavy read by any stretch, it is 180 pages and filled with a lot of pictures and graphic boxes, so it’s not something that will bog you down for weeks at a time. That being said, it is a very interesting book that will no doubt teach you a lot of the quirks or nuances about the game we all love.
The inner-flap of the book provides a pretty good overview of what you can expect from the read:
“Baseball history goes back as far as you are willing to chase it. Bat and ball games can be traced to ancient Egypt and 18th century England – and to a cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York, for those who like their baseball tales told tall. But no matter where or when the very first version of baseball was played, every game since has been both utterly different and remarkably the same, uniting fans and making it one of the most beloved pastimes in history.
“In Baseball Miscellany, readers will find fascinating and unexpected answers to twenty-seven miscellaneous questions – the same number as there are outs required for a nine-inning win – about their favorite game …”
The book is organized int0 27 different chapters, answering a wide variety of questions ranging from “Why does the visiting team always bat first?” and “How does a curveball curve?” to “Why is there a seventh-inning stretch?” and “Why is there ivy on the walls at Wrigley Field?”
It covers such historical things as umpire’s use of hand signals, the backstory of how overhand and underhand pitching has adapted over the years and how the shortstop position came into prominence and how the position got its name.
Unless you are a baseball historian, you will no doubt learn a lot about the game with this quick read.
I think my favourite chapter was the one detailing some of the most memorable stadium promotions ever held. Hmmm … 10-cent beer night, it sounds like such a good idea in theory, but evidently, it didn’t go off so well.
The long and the short is that I found this to be a very enjoyable read. It’s not likely to have been a book that would have caught my eye had I been looking in the bookstore, but if you have a chance to give it a read, go for it.