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On April 18, 1981, a ball game sprang eternal. For eight hours, the night seemed to suspend a town and two teams between their collective pasts and futures, between their collective sorrows and joys—the shivering fans; their wives at home; the umpires; the batboys approaching manhood; the ejected manager, peering through a hole in the backstop; the sportswriters and broadcasters; and the players themselves—two destined for the Hall of Fame (Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs), the few to play only briefly or forgettably ...
On April 18, 1981, a ball game sprang eternal. For eight hours, the night seemed to suspend a town and two teams between their collective pasts and futures, between their collective sorrows and joys—the shivering fans; their wives at home; the umpires; the batboys approaching manhood; the ejected manager, peering through a hole in the backstop; the sportswriters and broadcasters; and the players themselves—two destined for the Hall of Fame (Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs), the few to play only briefly or forgettably in the big leagues, and the many stuck in minor-league purgatory, duty bound and loyal forever to the game.
With Bottom of the 33rd, celebrated New York Times journalist Dan Barry delivers 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. 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.
Winner of the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing
New York Times columnist Barry (City Lights: Stories About New York, 2007, etc.) delivers an all-angle take on the longest, and surely the strangest, game in baseball history.
On a frigid evening in April 1981, 1,740 Pawtucket, R.I., Red Sox fans settled into their seats for a game with the Rochester Red Wings of the AAA International League. With the score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the teams played on. And on. On past 12:50 a.m., when the curfew provision, mysteriously missing from that year's edition of the rule book, would have suspended the contest; on past the 21st inning, when each team maddeningly scored a run; on past the 29th and record-tying inning; on past 4:00 a.m., the bottom of the 32nd, when the league president was finally reached and ordered the umpires to suspend the contest. Wittily and gracefully, Barry works out his Easter themes of hope and redemption, providing, of course, an account of the game, but most memorably capturing the atmosphere of the city and the stories of the people who shared this weird moment in baseball's long history: the players, two headed for the Hall of Fame, a few who would establish substantial major league careers, scrubs who would never make it, others only on their way to or back from the proverbial cup of coffee in the bigs; the dutiful umpires and the team managers, baseball lifers both; the hardy double-handful of fans who stayed the course, including a father and son bound by their promise never to leave a game; the clubhouse attendants, batboys and devoted player wives; the makeshift radio broadcasters and jaded newsmen sentenced to cover the game; the millionaire, blue-collar PawSox owner and the dismal team and decrepit stadium he inherited; the burned-out but still-defiant city of Pawtucket, where baseball would, indeed, eventually rise from the dead. When play resumed two months later, the entire baseball world descended upon the stadium, eager to participate in the historic game's conclusion, prefiguring the enthusiastic attention Barry's wonderful story richly inspires.
Destined to take its place among the classics of baseball literature.
Posted May 8, 2011
Pure serendipity is the only way I can explain how I came to be at Pawtucket's McCoy stadium a few weeks ago to see the PawSox, Boston's AAA team, take on the Syracuse Chiefs the farm team of the Washington Nationals. I had opened the morning paper and, only two hours away, lay a perfect game for my son and I to attend during his spring break. The weather was raw, windy, and generally inhospitable for viewing baseball -just like a game played in the same stadium 30 years ago. On April 18th, 1981, starting at about 8pm, after a delay with the lights, and ending on Easter morning, April 19th, a little after 4am, the game was still tied at 2-2 after 32 innings! Because of MLB's strike in 1981, there was a huge focus on the game's resumption on June 23rd with a sell-out crowd and over 150 journalists from many countries. The game ended after only 18 minutes with a walk-off single by Pawtucket's Dave Koza in the 33rd inning giving the Sox a 3-2 victory. In all, the game lasted over 8 hours and was the longest in Major or Minor league history. Because of its length, some statistical oddities surfaced including Dallas Williams' 0-13, Jim Umbarger's 10 innings of shutout relief pitching, Russ Laribee striking out 7 times, and hardscrabble New Englander, PawSox manager Joe Morgan having to watch the game from a hole in the wall after being ejected in the 22nd inning. The game even has its own Wikipedia Page! The game is merely a stage prop for Dan Barry's sensational book - Bottom of the 33rd - Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game. Beyond the game, Barry's narrative is more a human interest story about the people involved in the game, a couple of Hall-of-Famers-to-be (Cal Ripken, Jr and Wade Boggs) but mostly about ordinary people; players who will never make the big show, those who have already had their "cup of coffee", about the few rapid fans who stayed the course, the clubhouse attendants, the owners, and about McCoy stadium and and city of Pawtucket. Barry does wonderful research giving us the back story of fans, players, radio announcers and the personalities who came together in this wonderful confluence of circumstances that created the seemingly never-ending game-the umpires' ground rule handbook that had the pages omitted allowing the umpires to stop the game earlier, the league commissioner ignoring calls at home from the game umpires because he had been badgered at home by fans, and the howling wind which reduced home runs to fly balls. Bottom of the 33rd tells how the previously ramshackle McCoy stadium and the moribund Pawtucket team are saved by local businessman Ben Mondoor and how he built the PawSox into one of the premier minor league franchises in all of baseball. This is a wonderful book, part baseball, but mostly of the human condition, the good, the bad, and the ordinary. Like the game, you wish the book to go on and on and on.. Rating: Home Run (A baseball bookshelf classic in the Roger Kahn, Roger Angell, Lawrence Ritter style)
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Posted April 18, 2011
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Major League Baseball just opened up another season, so the perfect book to read this week is Dan Barry's Bottom of the 33rd- Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game.
The game took place on April 18, 1981, Holy Saturday, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Triple A League Pawtucket Red Sox hosted the Rochester Red Wings. The Sox had future superstar Wade Boggs on their team, the Red Wings had the incomparable Cal Ripken Jr. at third base.
But Barry wisely does not put those superstars at the center of his story. What makes this narrative interesting are the not-so-famous people. The Pawtucket owner, Ben Mondor, a wealthy businessman who grew up poor in Pawtucket and made it big, took the team at its lowest point and restored it to its former glory.
He prized loyalty above all, and when Budweiser refused to sell him beer because the former owners owed them money, he remembered that for a long time. Miller sold him beer, and even though Budweiser was the fan favorite, and Budweiser eventually begged him to buy their beer year after year, Mondor stuck with Miller because they were loyal to him.
Mondor put together a small but hardworking front office team, and they turned the bankrupt team into a success by "keeping prices low, making the stadium safe and family-friendly and emphasizing that the Pawtucket players on the field were the Boston Red Sox of tomorrow."
One of the most unforgettable characters is pitcher Win Remmerswaal. He is from the Netherlands, and "doesn't seem to accept basic social customs, such as adherence to the law or value of currency." His car license plate was a "piece of cardboard with a few meaningless numbers scribbled on it." At the end of one road trip, it was discovered that he was missing. He showed up several days later, explaining that he had never seen the nation's capital, so when they had a layover in Washington, he took a few days to sightsee. He is hilarious!
Triple A baseball is the last step before the major league team, so there is an interesting dynamic on those teams. There are the young players destined for future glory, like Boggs and Ripken. There are 'old guys'- the 25 and 26 year-olds- who have kicked around for awhile, and this is their last shot at making the big team. Some of them get called up to play in September on the parent club, only to be sent back to Triple A next spring to try again.
The agony of working to see your dream come true, knowing that there is a short time limit on it, is palpable in this book. First baseman Dave Koza has dragged his wife Ann from Florida to Pawtucket to Wyoming every year in pursuit of his dream. Ann finds some kind of factory work wherever they land, and she goes to every game. She is one of the 19 people who watched all 32 innings of the game, lasting until 4am on Easter morning when it was finally called. They are the heart of this marvelous book, and the end to their story is so moving.
The longest game, which is finally finished two months later in Pawtucket, is told in detail, alternating with the stories of the people who participated in it. I grew up in Auburn, NY, which has a Single A baseball team, and this book really resonated with me. I know my entire family will want to read it.
Barry gives the reader a close-up look at our national pasttime, and what that means for the cities where it is played. He tells the stories of the participants with honesty, humor, and heart. If you like
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Posted March 16, 2014
Posted March 15, 2014
Dash looked at herself in teh mirror. Youre so amazing she told herself. Then she herd teh doirbell ring. Dont you move one lightning bolt of your pretty cutie mark! She told her reflectiob. She came back to check if Dash was still there. Then both Dashes atw piza tofether. TEH ENDWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2014
Posted May 24, 2013
This is a fascinating book, exceptionally well written. Even the non baseball fan will love and enjoy it. The background stories of the players and the game are wonderful. And the history of the game is fantastic. It is the best baseball story, and all true, that I have read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2013
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Posted May 2, 2012
I WOULDN'T KNOW!! B&N NEVER sent me the book to my nook!!! (Order # 357053998) Despite numerous tries on my part via email and once via phone, B&N NEVER responded to my issue. On the phone, the woman said she was in the fraud unit, the connection was bad and she said my email address was going thru a foreign country. So I got nervous and hung up.
But this does NOT explain why you NEVER responded to every email query on my part (except for your automated response promising a real response within 24 -48 hours).
This was my first time to purchase a product for my nook (along with Under Heaven) and I am so LEERY and DISENCHANTED with nook and B&N that I want my money back for the nook now. And I'm telling everyone to BUY A KINDLE.
So this is now VERY weird that you are asking me to review the product. You better not have charged me for it - I bought the Hardcover in disgust with B&N nook.
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Posted April 13, 2012
Dan Barry is a terrific writer who covers every single angle of this once-in-a-lifetime game. While he gives plenty of space to Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr., he primarily focuses on the players who never make it to the "big leagues." Their back stories--what happened in their careers before and after Pawtucket--are the most fascinating, and, at times, heartbreaking.
This book is a must for every sport lover's bookshelf.
Posted October 31, 2011
This book is a must read for any baseball fan, particularly those of the Orioles and Red Sox, as this 1981 gme involved their respective AAA farm teams. 33 innings, the longest game in recorded baseball history, slightly over 8 hours long. However, this is just not about the game but about all the people involved, from the fans to the administration to the ballpark itself. This is just as much a human story as it is a sports story. The book is extremely readable and very hard to put down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2011
As one who loves the game and tthe history, Barry did an outstanding job with this account of the longest game ever played. The stories of the people who were not in uniform were great. You felt sorry for the clubhouse attendant who worked so hard to prepare a fine post.game meal for the Red.Wing players only to see it go to mush. You knew exactly how.the kid who fell asleep in the car felt. You understand the frustration of the umpire who is trying to contact the league president. Can't we PLEASE suspend this game? Add these to the stories of players like Dave Koza and you have a great read for any baseball fan. What really makes the recollections even more amazing is that there is very little video footage of this game, as there is usally very little interest in maintaining a record of an early season minor league game. Little did they know...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2011
If you love baseball you will love this book. It transcends baseball, with an almost feeling of being unreal. That back stories of those involved make it all the more real. The backround of the franchise and building of the ballpark are also quite enjoyable and add to the readWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 20, 2011
Great book,not chronicles the game but gives back story stories of the players,bat boys and execs from both teams.I imagine this was a tough project to hunt all the subjects down,especially the fans in attendance.Couldn't put this book down,finished it in 3 days.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2011
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Posted October 8, 2012
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Posted October 3, 2011
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Posted July 1, 2011
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