Starting with the headline – “The Baseball Codes: Attention Baseball Fans, This Book Will Eat Your Life” – NPR’s Web site review, which came out this morning, is, frankly, stunning.
Glenn McDonald, editor of the “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me” daily news quiz at NPR.org, and a film critic at the Raleigh News & Observer, is appreciative of our endeavors. As are we of his. Sentiments such as:
“A new book hitting shelves this week had sidetracked my for the last few days to that most analog of media, the printed page. The Baseball Codes, by Bay Area sportswriters Jason Turbow and Michael Duca, is a frankly incredible book — a history and analysis of baseball’s insular culture of unwritten rules, protocols and superstitions, assembled over the course of 10 years. I’ve read a lot of baseball books in my day, including everything typically included in the unofficial canon, and I can say without hesitation that this is one of the all-time greats — a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
“The book’s subtitle, Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime only scratches the surface. Turbow and Duca have done an incredible thing here, interviewing hundreds of baseball players, managers, coaches, trainers, owners, journalists and broadcasters to assemble a comprehensive history of baseball culture.”
“I can’t say enough nice things about this book, which belongs on every fan’s shelf, and I really don’t say that lightly.
“The 294-page book is remarkably dense, with the stories piling up, one after another, each gathered from one-on-one interviews done over the years as these two baseball writers made their way around the game. One amazing facet of the book, revealed in the acknowledgments, is that the authors used only about 25 percent of the material they collected.”
“The final chapters are, for baseball fans of a certain intensity, quite touching, as Turbow and Duca lament the deterioration of old-school baseball ways in the face of modernism, media and money. More and more players, as fans know, are chasing individual stats, big free-agent contracts and the SportsCenter highlight reel. But it’s like Yogi Berra said: ‘There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ’em.’ “Thanks, Glenn. I am honestly and earnestly delighted that you liked it as much as you did.- Jason