Synopses & Reviews
Saturday, August 30, 2003 -- Yankees versus Red Sox, Fenway Park. Not just a special day in a great rivalry but also a unique one in the long tradition of baseball writing. For on that day, Steve Kettmann worked with a team of top reporters to chronicle everything that happened, from the point of view of everyone involved. So here are Red Sox owner John Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino, privately second-guessing Grady Little's managing moves during the game; here is Joe Torre, the Yankees skipper, worrying on the bench about his closer, Mariano Rivera, who can't find home plate; here's Theo Epstein, Red Sox General Manager, playing guitar until his fingers bleed the night before the game; here's Hideki Matsui, Yankees slugger, surprised that no Japanese reporters turn up to greet him at the ballpark; and here's Bill Mueller, Red Sox third baseman, driving to the game, hoping he can get a hit to help Boston win.
But it's not just the famous voices we hear. Let "One Day at Fenway" introduce you to Theo Gordon, who's told his girlfriend, Jane Baxter, forty-five lies, and watch as Marty Martin does what all good Red Sox fans should do, only to find himself thrown out of the ballpark.
Taken together, these and a myriad of other voices reveal a day in the life of baseball unlike ever before, showing in this unique project the human side to America's pastime.
"A book about a year-old, regular-season baseball game doesnt seem like it would contain much suspense, but Kettmanns account of the August 30, 2003 contest between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is engrossing. With help from a team of researchers who watched the game alongside selected fans, players and front-office personnel from both ballclubs, Kettmann presents the action from multiple points of view, cutting around Fenway Park in an almost cinematic fashion and drawing readers in even though the outcome is foregone (10-7 Yankees). As the game unfolds, readers meet famous people and ordinary fans, among them former Senator George Mitchell, film directors Spike Lee and Peter Farrelly, Boston general manager Theo Epstein, Sox owner John Henry, Fenway Park scoreboard operator Rich Maloney and a Yankee rooter who plans to propose to his girlfriend on the giant video screen. Not all the commentary offered by these observers is insightful, but it makes for a remarkably vivid recreation of a day at Fenway. Thanks to the diverse cast, readers also learn fascinating tidbits about everything from grounds keeping, to Japanese superstitions, to the methods outfielders use to track fly balls. It helps that this game has a great back-storytwo rival teams playing in a historic ballpark with a pennant on the lineand Kettmann, a sportswriter and Red Sox fan, has a knack for conveying the tensions that build throughout the afternoon. He also has a great eye for detail, describing the way pitcher Andy Pettitte wipes his face with his shoulder and the laughter that erupts when hulking outfielder Ruben Sierra jokingly works out at shortstop. Though Kettmanns smug, innuendo-laced comments about certain players alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs are off-putting, this is a small flaw in an otherwise riveting book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A fascinating dissection of a Red Sox-Yankees game. Steve Kettmann needs only nine innings to explain 100 years of a baseball rivalry." Dan Shaughnessy, author of The Curse of the Bambino
"Steve Kettmann's kaleidoscopic rendering of a single Yankees-Red Sox game makes a fascinating narrative even for those who know little about the sport. With its cast of dozens of acutely interested characters, One Day at Fenway is the Black Hawk Down of baseball." Madison Smartt Bell
"For less than what you normally would pay to park, you get to sit in the good seats, the bad seats, the dugout itself....You squint and watch the action for a couple of innings through a hole in the scoreboard. All this and it's the Yankees and it's a hell of a game and...just start reading. You won't be disappointed. This is the ultimate Fenway experience." Leigh Montville, author of Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
"No rivalry in sports is as intense as the Red Sox and Yankees, and no year in that rivalry was as intense as 2003. In One Day at Fenway, Steve Kettmann has picked out the season's quintessential game and reconstructed it so vividly that you feel like you're right in the dugout with the players, hanging on every pitch. Whether you're a fan of good baseball or just good storytelling, this is a book you'll want to read." Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor, The New Republic
"It's good to know that the Yankees' tiny general manager played some serious hardball in his day. It's priceless to learn that the Red Sox' GM plays a mean guitar after midnight. And it's refreshing to discover that a single ballgame can be so gloriously revived. Perhaps it could only be at Fenway Park, with the terrified exhilaration of its patrons. But in bringing a year-old game to life, Steve Kettmann creates the kind of energy and suspense reserved for the here and now." Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle
A Day in the Life meets Moneyball in this ingenious, dramatic cross-section of perspectives on one famous day of baseball: Fenway Park, August 30, 2003, Red Sox vs. Yankees.