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Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Gameby Dan Barry
Synopses & Reviews
On April 18, 1981, a ball game sprang eternal. What began as a modestly attended minor-league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings became not only the longest ever played in baseball history, but something else entirely. The first pitch was thrown after dusk on Holy Saturday, and for the next eight hours the night seemed to suspend its participants between their collective pasts and futures, between their collective sorrows and joys—the ballplayers; the umpires; Pawtucket's ejected manager, peering through a hole in the backstop; the sportswriters and broadcasters; a few stalwart fans shivering in the cold.
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.
"New York Times columnist Barry provides a charming, meditative portrait of a minor league baseball game that seemed to last forever. Because of a rule-book glitch, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played for 33 innings on a chilly Saturday night into the Easter morning of 1981. Using the game as a focal point, Barry examines the lives and future careers of many of the players, including the then unknown Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Barry also profiles the Red Sox team owner, the fans and workers, and even the stadium and the depressed industrial town of Pawtucket, R.I. The game gives Barry ample opportunity to explore the world that surrounds it. Not every Triple-A player becomes a Cal Ripken, and Barry gives generous attention to those who didn't make it — the powerful outfielder who can't hit a curve, the eccentric Dutch relief pitcher with the unlikely name of Win Remmerswaal, the 26-year-old who feels like an old man among younger prospects. The three decades that have passed since the game allow Barry to track the arc of entire lives, adding emotional resonance. Barry is equally adept at describing the allure of a ballpark and the boost it can give to a struggling town like Pawtucket. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax
“What a book—an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let The Great World Spin
From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry comes the beautifully recounted story of the longest game in baseball history—a tale celebrating not only the robust intensity of baseball, but the aspirational ideal epitomized by the hard-fighting players of the minor leagues. In the tradition of Moneyball, The Last Hero, and Wicked Good Year, Barrys Bottom of the 33rd is a reaffirming story of the American Dream finding its greatest expression in timeless contests of the Great American Pastime.
About the Author
Dan Barry is a national columnist for the New York Times. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and in 1994 was part of an investigative team for the Providence Journal that won the prize for a series on Rhode Island's justice system. He is the author of a memoir, Pull Me Up, and City Lights, a collection of his New York Times columns. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Maplewood, New Jersey.
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