Freelance photographer Mlyn's lackluster black-and-white baseball snapshots do not portray energized close plays, home runs or managers' arguments with umpires but, instead, document pre-game atmospherewhen the players are warming up and kidding around and groundskeepers are hard at work. His subjects include empty stadiums, batting practices, locker-room card games, early-bird autograph-seekers and a rare view of the St. Louis Cardinals in Sunday prayer. Descriptions of pre-game rituals by Rubin, an English professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and president of Algonquin Books, ramble along such well-worn paths as the Steinbrenner/Martin hirings and firings, how to throw a screwball, etc., but baseball fans will want to take a look anyway. (June)
Mlyn's black-and-white photos join Rubin's text to reveal what is often the insider's view of vital preparations before big league baseball games. Mlyn recorded images at 16 parks, showing batting, fielding, and pitching practice; players chatting with fans; clubhouse relaxation and other activities. Rubin's text not only follows the photos but also covers a wide scope of baseball history. The book would have been more appealing had some of the shots been in color. Nevertheless, it will be attractive to knowledgeable fans and young adults, too. Morey Berger, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.