A summer book review by Wapatusset Youth Baseball & Softball League (WYBSL) commissioner and head baseball coach, “Stitches” O’Williams. Stitches recently spoke to Wapatusset’s graduating class of 2010 with his forty-minute keynote rant, “Strike Out in Little League, Strike Out in Life.”
Now that the summer youth baseball season has drawn to a close (37 games in 30 days), Annie Savoy-O’Williams and I park our lawn chairs in centerfield and catch up on our summer reading. For this year’s off-season analysis and breakdown, we have selected a triple-header of titles: a classic, a classic rivalry, and a book addressing an alternative (non-baseball-centric) lifestyle.
Catcher in the Rye
by JD Salinger (1951)
Saw this title on the “Banned in Wapatusset List” at the public library, right under Nan Flander’s, In Any Other Town I’d be Rich & Skinny: Lessons from the Bottom Rung of a Fast-Climber’s Ladder.
Nan Flanders (file photo)
The title drew me in like a suicide squeeze but left me feeling three runs down in the bottom of the ninth. Despite the catchy title, this supposed literary masterpiece was a no-hitter in my scorebook. Expecting to read excerpts from classic plate-keepers like Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra, I was left with the field of dreams rants of outfielder-in-life, Holden Caulfield. Slide this knuckler to the bottom of the order and search for a pinch-hitter. Three strikes and this dribbler is O-U-T, out!
by Nathaniel Philbrick (2010)
This piece of nonfiction discusses the most significant Indian victory prior to October 2, 1938 , when Cleveland Indian pitcher Bob Feller set a modern major league record of 18 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers.
Feller, Chief Wahoo, 1972 Oakland A's, Rollie Fingers, George Armstrong Custer
The story takes place several spots in the batting order prior to the days of the white-shoed and mustachioed 1972 Oakland Athletics team. George Armstrong Custer—who knocked the sox off the establishment with his personal alterations to the classic uniform and his fondness towards facial hair of bush league proportions. There is plenty of hit-and-run action in this book and Philbrick’s attention to detail really throws this one around the (Little Big)horn.
A grand slam of Ruthian clout. Slide into your local bookstore and bring this one home!
by David Meerman Scott & Brian Halligan (2010)
As a lifelong proponent of crisp white uniforms and hair that is trimmed around the ear, I picked up this title with slight trepidation. However, I feel that it is often necessary to strike out and explore the other lineup card. Also, my online trading card business remains on the DL in this slumping economy. I’ll trade any marketing advice even if it comes from one of San Francisco’s (musical) Giants.
Scott and Halligan (the best one-two combination since Ortiz and Ramirez) have hit a round-tripper with this literary diamond. The book is well-pitched and efficient and an easy nine-inning read. Play ball!