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For anyone who loves baseball, this is a wonderful book to listen to. With moments from the early days of baseball all the way up to 2009, this book is complete with quotes from players and coaches such as: Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Dave Henderson, Joe Torre, Ted Williams, Kirby Puckett, Ken Griffey Jr., Dusty Baker, Barry Bonds, Tommy Lasorda, Albert Pujols, etc.
It covers topics from fighting, to pitching inside, and even the proper way to steal signs. If you love the game, this book is awesome.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Whenever I review an audiobook, I comment on both the book itself and the narration, as poor narration can make or break a book, even if it's a good one in print.
Books like this lend themselves especially well to audio format, as they're essentially a collection of stories. If done well, it's like listening to an eloquent old-timer tell fascinating stories from his past. If done poorly, it's a bit like the auditory equivalent of watching grass grow. While I wouldn't say the narration here is quite as bad as the latter analogy, it's closer to it than to the former. Michael Kramer is dry and passionless in his narration. He inject no color into the stories. He's simply... reading. Quite boring. These professional narrators just leave me cold. They have clear voices and good diction, but no character. They would have been much better off getting someone from the baseball world to read the book. Veteran broadcaster Charley Steiner, who narrated the excellent umpiring chronicle, "As They See 'em" would have been perfect.
As to the book itself, it's a little boring as well. Perhaps it's just because I've been involved in baseball all my life, but most of the codes were pretty obvious and well-known. The book is heavy on anecdotes, many of which are not nearly as interesting as one would think. Anecdotes are a good thing, but he provides too many of them for each of the "codes." He seems intent on having about five – lengthy! – examples for each one, where one or two, perhaps three, would have been fine. This makes the book drag on a bit, and leaves the reader often thinking, "okay... I get it!" It could have been more effective by grouping them into themes rather than specific "codes," and then having different examples within the theme.
If you're new to baseball, yet very interested in it, you will probably enjoy this book – if the narration doesn't put you to sleep, you will probably enjoy it. If you're a baseball veteran, you won't find too much new inside.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful