BookPage: ‘A Delightfully Profane Work that is Awfully Fun to Read’

The Baseball Codes was included in the recent baseball book roundup done by BookPage, and they seem to have jumped on the bandwagon.

The codes are “depicted with verve,” and, as the headline to this post proclaims, the book is “a delightfully profane work that is awfully fun to read.”

Read a formatted version of the review here.

In the course of his critique, John C. Williams asks the question: “Is there any difference between a chickenshit play, a horseshit play and a bullshit play?”

The answer, of course, is a resounding Yes. Despite the citations of all three terms within the pages of the book, should a substandard act occur on a baseball diamond, it’s horseshit. Always horseshit.

It’s one of the quaint reminders of baseball’s unique place in American culture: While nearly never used away from a ballpark, the word “horseshit” is almost exclusively the go-to term any ballplayer or ex-ballplayer will use to describe dissatisfaction.

It’s not actually an unwritten rule, but maybe it should be.

– Jason

2 thoughts on “BookPage: ‘A Delightfully Profane Work that is Awfully Fun to Read’

  1. Good stuff. I have to say, the profanity in the book raised for me a question of an unwritten rule of journalism, and I’d be interested if you ever hear from any of the people you interviewed on this subject. To wit: Most ballplayers probably know that they can use that language without ever being quoted using it. They turn it off for radio and tv, and the print people censor it for them. But you didn’t censor it, which gives the book great authenticity (and makes it nearly impossible for my baseball crazy 10 year old to read – that, and I don’t want him learning that it’s OK to intentionally throw at someone, even if they showboat).

    Has anyone – I’m thinking of, say, Mike Krukow, but there are plenty of others – read their quotes in full profane glory in black and white in your book, and said, I never thought you were going to actually *quote* that?

    1. I haven’t seen most of the people quoted since the book came out, but I can speak at least in part for Krukow. I ran by him the passage detailing his fight with Joaquin Andujar, just to check it for accuracy and to elicit a few more details; all his attributed curses that made the final edit were included. He read it and, aside from changing the amount he was fined from $50 to $100, said it was perfect.

      I can only hope everyone else is so accommodating.

      As for your son, I’m not about to make parenting decisions about what he should or shouldn’t read. All I can say is that this book attempts to look as deeply as possible inside baseball, and that’s the way big leaguers talk.

      – Jason

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