Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency

Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency

by Daniel A. Gilbert
     
 

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With its iconic stars and gleaming ballparks, baseball has been one of the most captivating forms of modern popular culture. In Expanding the Strike Zone, Daniel A. Gilbert examines the history and meaning of the sport's tumultuous changes since the mid-twentieth century, amid Major League Baseball's growing global influence. From the rise of ballplayer unionism to

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Overview

With its iconic stars and gleaming ballparks, baseball has been one of the most captivating forms of modern popular culture. In Expanding the Strike Zone, Daniel A. Gilbert examines the history and meaning of the sport's tumultuous changes since the mid-twentieth century, amid Major League Baseball's growing global influence. From the rise of ballplayer unionism to the emergence of new forms of scouting, broadcasting, and stadium development, Gilbert shows that the baseball world has been home to struggles over work and territory that resonate far beyond the playing field.

Readers encounter both legendary and unheralded figures in this sweeping history, which situates Major League Baseball as part of a larger culture industry. The book examines a labor history defined at once by the growing power of big league stars -- from Juan Marichal and Curt Flood to Fernando Valenzuela and Ichiro Suzuki -- and the collective struggles of players working to make a living throughout the baseball world. It also explores the territorial politics that have defined baseball's development as a form of transnational popular culture, from the impact of Dominican baseball academies to the organized campaign against stadium development by members of Seattle's Asian American community.

Based on a rich body of research along with new readings of popular journalism, fiction, and film, Expanding the Strike Zone highlights the ways in which baseball's players, owners, writers, and fans have shaped and reshaped the sport as a central element of popular culture from the postwar boom to the Great Recession.

University of Massachusetts Press

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Editorial Reviews

NPR It's Only a Game

As that last bit from the book suggests, Expanding the Strike Zone is perhaps not for fans looking for discussions of who should be in the Hall of Fame. Those inclined to be curious about the way various economic, social, and cultural developments have been apparent in baseball's increasingly complex world will find the book rewarding.

The Boston Globe

An admirable and convincing attempt to place pro athletes in the wider context of the international struggle for labor rights.

Grand Prairie Union News

Professional baseball is more than sport--it's entertainment and a business with a transnational reach. Gilbert's book thoroughly explores both topics and leaves one wonderfin at the end--will there ever be a real 'world' series?

Choice

Expanding the Strike Zone will appeal to scholars who think deeply about baseball's connections to deep cultural trends in American history. Recommended.

Journal of American History

The overriding theme of Daniel A. Gilbert's Expanding the Strike Zone is hinted at in his punning title: baseball is labor; it is work.... Gilbert focuses on politics, labor economics, hisotry, and ethnicity and does a great deal in this short book.

Perspectives on Work

Well-written... this distinctive, highly analytical industry study is likely to become the leading reference work in the field--and deservedly so.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558499973
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
08/31/2013
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

George Lipsitz

In this deft blend of labor history and cultural studies, Dan Gilbert shows how the history of major league baseball's labor relations policies provide a rich repository of evidence about the full magnitude of the enormous changes that have taken place in the nature of work, consumption, marketing and management in our lifetimes. Carefully researched, engagingly written, and brilliantly conceived, this book shows how the business of baseball is one of those places where the nature of work and reward is learned, legitimated, negotiated and arbitrated.

Daniel A. Nathan

An interesting, smart, and informative book. Daniel Gilbert effectively melds a transnational and multicultural approach to understanding broad and important themes in the late twentieth-century baseball world -- and by implication the larger world -- by focusing on events laden with contested cultural meaning.

Meet the Author

Daniel A. Gilbert is assistant professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

University of Massachusetts Press

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