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As They See 'em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpiresby Bruce Weber
Monday, March 24, 2014 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
Based on his popular New York Times series, Bruce Weber shares the adventures of his solo bicycle ride from coast to coast in Life Is a Wheel (Scribner). During the summer and fall of 2011, Weber made the trip, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded mile by mile. Part travelogue, part memoir, part romance, part paean to the bicycle as a simple mode of both mobility and self-expression, Life Is a Wheel is an elegant and beguiling escape for biking enthusiasts, armchair travelers, and any readers who are older than they were yesterday. This event is sponsored by BikePortland.org.
Synopses & Reviews
MILLIONS OF AMERICAN BASEBALL FANS KNOW, WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that umpires are simply overpaid galoots who are doing an easy job badly. Millions of American baseball fans are wrong.
As They See ’Em is an insider’s look at the largely unknown world of professional umpires, the small group of men (and the very occasional woman) who make sure America’s favorite pastime is conducted in a manner that is clean, crisp, and true. Bruce Weber, a New York Times reporter, not only interviewed dozens of professional umpires but entered their world, trained to become an umpire, then spent a season working games from Little League to big league spring training. As They See ’Em is Weber’s entertaining account of this experience as well as a lively exploration of what amounts to an eccentric secret society, with its own customs, its own rituals, its own colorful vocabulary. Writing with deep knowledge of and affection for baseball, he delves into such questions as: Why isn’t every strike created equal? Is the ump part of the game or outside of it? Why doesn’t a tie go to the runner? And what do umps and managers say to each other during an argument, really?
Packed with fascinating reportage that reveals the game as never before and answers the kinds of questions that fans, exasperated by the clichés of conventional sports commentary, pose to themselves around the television set, Bruce Weber’s As They See ’Em is a towering grand slam.
Packed with fascinating facts, Weber's book offers an insider's look into the small and largely unknown world of baseball's professional umpires.
About the Author
Bruce Weber, a reporter for the New York Times, began his career in publishing as a fiction editor at Esquire. His first piece for the Times was a profile of Raymond Carver for the Sunday magazine in 1983, and he has been on staff at the newspaper since 1986 as an editor, metro reporter, national cultural correspondent, theater columnist and theater critic, among other things. His writing about baseball includes three cover stories for the Times Magazine (for whom he has also profiled E. L. Doctorow, Martin Cruz Smith, the Harvard Admissions Department, the New York Public Library and Cher) and he has regularly contributed first-person essays and participatory features to the paper. These include accounts of several bicycle journeys (from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and from San Francisco to New York City, among them); of a walk the length of Broadway, from Yonkers to the Battery; of canoeing down the Hudson; of skating on all of New York City's skating rinks and of batting in all of New York City's batting cages.
He has written for Sports Illustrated, Sport, Esquire, Manhattan Inc., Vogue, Mademoiselle, Redbook, Harpers' Bazaar, the Hartford Courant and the St. Petersburg Times. He is the author, with the dancer Savion Glover, of Savion! My Life in Tap (William Morrow, 2000), and the editor of Look Who's Talking: An Anthology of Voices in the Modern American Short Story (Washington Square Press, 1986).
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