Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Glory Game

On Thursday morning I awoke with hope shining bright in my eyes and my heart beating fast with the sort of unbridled enthusiasm one feels only in early April. I had dreamt of blooming green vines and the mingled fragrances of hot grease and fresh air. My alarm clock came on drowning the echo of a too-soon silenced organ. A stiff breeze cut through the sunny morning and the crack in my window raising goosebumps on my arms. It was an idyllic spring morning; bright and crisp with a high sky and a blazing sun. It was Opening Day once again and I was newly possessed by the fervent unrealistic optimism which courses unbidden in the blood of old Cub fan families. I didn't think this was the year, but I did feel that it was, just as I do every year.

Baseball is a unique and wonderful unifier of people. It makes friends of strangers from across oceans, and across generations, across continents and castes. It draws out the hope in one's heart, the passion in their souls, and the fire in their bellies. It's really no wonder that so many of us can connect so deeply with the American game, and to that end the library offers a wonderful selection of materials to ignite the spark of a new baseball season.

Major League is a classic comedy to which any baseball fan can relate. Hall-of-fame commentator Bob Ueker is a must-see in this story of misfits and underdogs.

One could say that Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding is about everything that matters in life. Love, literature, politics, the human condition and, of course, baseball. It's a deep read, and not short, but it's wonderfully written with a beautiful setting, complex characters, and an unexpected plot.

Calico Joe is best-selling author John Grisham's latest novel. Library Journal describes it as a story of "forgiveness and redemption...a classic story filled with human emotion." It recounts the fall-out of a bean-ball thrown in the seventies which partially paralyzed a star rookie. It's told as a series of flashbacks from the perspective of the son of the pitcher who beaned the eponymous Calico Joe.

If you're interested in learning a little more about America's past-time I cannot speak highly enough of Ken Burns' Baseball. It's a nine disc set that dives into the complete origin and history of baseball from the time of the mythical Abner Doubleday up to 2000 which was when the film was produced. After all, nothing important has happened since then, right Sox fans?

My personal favorite way to celebrate baseball season is with A League of Their Own featuring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to play professional women's baseball for $75 a week. The best part? It's coming soon to your library.

Enjoy your baseball season, and when your team starts losing regularly (and they will, because you're a Chicago fan), channel the words of the immortal and hyper-quotable Yogi Berra: "Slump? I ain't in no slump... I just ain't hitting."

1 comment:

Linda K. said...

I love the crazy friendship between Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna in A League of Their Own. One of my favorite movies. I also like The Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. The goofier the team the better I like it. After all, if you're a Chicago fan, you have to rely on the goofiness factor or you'll begin to hate the game!

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