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.
"Bruce Weber's As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires might be the most original piece of reportage on the baseball front in years..." -- BookPage
"A wonderfully detailed look at the craft of umpiring...I never realized what it takes to be an umpire." -- Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four, in The New York Times Book Review.
"Hugely entertaining...makes you see baseball in a whole different way." -- Allen Barra, author of Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee
"Sympathetic, thoughtful, highly engaging...an outstanding book that demands a place on any sports shelf." -- Booklist, starred review
"Irresistible...[an] insightful, richly textured account." -- Publishers Weekly
“Thorough research, crackerjack reporting, pinpoint control.”
“The best baseball book I’ve read in a long time…So little is known about umpires, yet they live amongst us like one of those primitive societies that keep getting discovered in the jungles of Africa. The light Weber shines on them is illuminating, for their sake and for ours.”
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).