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With Bottom of the 33rd, celebrated New York Times journalist Dan Barry has written a lyrical meditation on small-town lives, minor-league dreams, and the elements of time and community that conspired one fateful night to produce a baseball game seemingly without end. Bottom of the 33rd captures the sport's essence: the purity of purpose, the crazy adherence to rules, the commitment of both players and fans.
This genre-bending book, a reportorial triumph, portrays the myriad lives held in the night's unrelenting grip. Consider, for instance, the team owner determined to revivify a decrepit stadium, built atop a swampy bog, or the batboy approaching manhood, nervous and earnest, or the umpire with a new family and a new home, or the wives watching or waiting up, listening to a radio broadcast slip into giddy exhaustion. Consider the small city of Pawtucket itself, its ghosts and relics, and the players, two destined for the Hall of Fame (Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs), a few to play only briefly or forgettably in the big leagues, and the many stuck in minor-league purgatory, duty bound and loyal to the game.
An unforgettable portrait of ambition and endurance, Bottom of the 33rd is the rare sports book that changes the way we perceive America's pastime, and America's past.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sher from Provo on 04-08-13
I love baseball
Oh, what a game! It was fun to listen to the details of this game, played by 3A teams from Rhode Island and New York in 1981. It was very interesting to learn a little bit about the lives of some of the players, some who made it to major league, and more who did not. I grew up with a father and brothers who were crazy about baseball, so I learned a lot about it at an early age. Some people stake their whole life's dreams on making it in professional sports, but when it comes right down to it, it is a game. There are lots of really great things to spend your life doing other than pro sports. Yeh, the money one could make from playing pro sports would allow you to help a whole lot of people, but really, you are not a failure if the highest rung you ever achieve in baseball is 3A. How many people even get that far?
Anyway, I liked it a lot and learned a lot too. Me, I'm a Cubbies fan. As soon as they are in the pennant race, I am going to Chicago to watch the games. It sure won't be this year, though. Why am I a Cubbies fan? Because I figure they need at least one fan who doesn't HAVE to be a fan. They'll come out on top someday. Hope I'm still alive. (Update: The Cubbies won the World Series in 2016 against the Cleveland Indians, 108 years after the last time they won it. I did not get to go to Chicago, but I watched every game on TV. Ohhhh that game 7! It was perhaps the best game in baseball ever.)
This book was read by the author, not usually the best choice for narrator. Dan did ok, but it is pretty obvious he is not a professional narrator. He was not annoying like many authors who read their own works are, but hint to authors who think they can read: let the pros do it.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Mark on 07-11-13
good look at a game and minor league baseball
This book is the story of that epic 33 inning baseball game in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Even more, it is a profile of a city and its minor league baseball team. It profiles so many (players, coaches, announcers, batboys, owners, etc.) who participated in that game. And it captures the highs and lows of trying to make it in minor league baseball. I enjoyed this book, but must confess that I am the perfect reader for it. I love baseball, I am a big Red Sox fan, I have lived in Rhode Island, and I have a family member working his way up through minor league professional sports. I found every aspect of this interesting - both the sports stuff and the human interest part. It is well written. The epic game itself takes up less of this book than the backgrounds (past and future) of the people.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful