BN.com Gift Guide

Sometimes You See It Coming [NOOK Book]

Overview

Based in part on the life of baseball legend Ty Cobb, this book belongs in the pantheon of great baseball novels.

John Barr is the kind of player who isn't supposed to exist anymore. An all-around superstar, he plays the game with a single-minded ferocity that makes his New York Mets team all but invincible. Yet Barr himself is a mystery with no past, no friends, no women, and no interests outside hitting a baseball as hard and as far as he can. Not even Ellie Jay, the jaded ...

See more details below
Sometimes You See It Coming

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

Based in part on the life of baseball legend Ty Cobb, this book belongs in the pantheon of great baseball novels.

John Barr is the kind of player who isn't supposed to exist anymore. An all-around superstar, he plays the game with a single-minded ferocity that makes his New York Mets team all but invincible. Yet Barr himself is a mystery with no past, no friends, no women, and no interests outside hitting a baseball as hard and as far as he can. Not even Ellie Jay, the jaded sportswriter who can out-think, out-drink, and out-write any man in the press box. She wants to think she admires Barr's skill on a ballfield, but suspects she might be in love with a man who isn't really there.

Barr leads the Mets to one championship after another. Then chaos arrives in the person of new manager Charli Stanzi, well-known psychopath. Under Stanzi's tutelage, the team simply falls apart. Then Barr himself inexplicably starts to unravel. For the first time in his life, his formidable skills fail him, and only Ellie Jay and another can help - if he will let them. Hanging in the balance are his sanity, the World Series, and true love.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This uneven first novel about major-league baseball utilizes the sport as both a metaphor for real life and an escape from it. Hero John Barr, ``the greatest if not the most beloved player in the game,'' is equal parts Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Roy Hobbs, a man with almost surreal natural ability, a deep secret and no friends. He plays for a New York Mets team composed of the sort of eccentrics who populate most serious baseball novels these days--a relief pitcher who attributes his success to the Cabala, and a half-Indian, half-Jewish, all-alcoholic hurler named Moses Yellowhorse being two of the more prominent examples. The book's point of view moves from that of Ricky Falls, the closest thing to a friend Barr has among his teammates, to those of other players and sportswriters and an awkwardly written third-person narration. Much of the material reads like half-digested reworkings of various as-told-to baseball autobios by stars of the late-1970s New York Yankees, including a crazy manager who bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Billy Martin. Baker displays flashes of genuine wit, as in his description of a slumping ballplayer who is ``draggin' himself around like his shoes had concrete laces,'' and he has an undeniable feel for the way men interact with one another. In spite of its shortcomings, the novel acquires momentum and builds to a genuinely satisfying, if predictable, climax. 50,000 first printing, ad/promo. (Feb.)
Library Journal
John Barr is the greatest ballplayer in history, winner of every possible award many times over, but nobody, not even his teammates, knows anything about this intensely private man. When the manager is busy messing up all the other players on the team, Barr is their only hope of repeating a world series win. So when Barr suddenly seems to forget how to play, a female sportswriter, along with one of his teammates, delves into his past to discover the trauma that has motivated him and now threatens to destroy him. The baseball action is knowledgeably handled, and the unbelievably perfect hero takes on depth and reality as we learn about his history. Recommended for general fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/92.-- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061736827
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • File size: 554 KB

Meet the Author

Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker is the bestselling author of the novels Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Sometimes You See It Coming. He is a columnist for American Heritage magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Harper's, and other periodicals. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Ellen Abrams, and their cat, Stella.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One

To see the talent is as much a gift as to have the talent.
-- Regie Otero

The Color Commentary

The only one who was there from the very beginning, the only one who is always there in the middle of everything, was The Old Swizzlehead, aka Rapid Ricky Falls, who was the closest thing John Barr ever had to a friend. And even his account must be taken with a healthy dose of incredulity -- not only because of Falls's renowned propensity for obfuscation, exaggeration, and outright deception -- but also for the simple fact that no one ever got that close to Barr, the greatest if not the most beloved player in the game.

He was grudgingly accorded the former title by the writers, the green flies at the show as the players liked to call them, who knew his honors and statistics. By the end, the flies and the fans could duly recite all the batting titles, the home-run crowns, the gold gloves, and the Most Valuable Player awards. They could list for you the long string of division championships, league pennants, and World Series titles he had won for the New York Mets since that day he had first walked onto the Shea Stadium field, fresh off two years in the minor leagues and before that God only knew where, and proceeded to tear off four straight line drive hits. And after that a thirty-one-game hitting streak, and after that thirteen years of unremittingly battering the small white ball around one ballpark or another.

He was the kind of instant phenom they all should have loved. Tall and lean, hawk-faced and loose-footed, looking every inch the ideal, baggy-uniformed ballplayer of the thirties that still bedeviled their psyches. He played hard, worked on his game, stayed alert, took extra batting practice. He was even duly modest and diffident about his tremendous talent, just like the old-time ballplayers were supposed to be. John Barr let his bat and his glove speak for him, and they were eloquent.

He could do everything on a ballfield; that was beyond dispute. In an era of designated hitters, platoon players, spot starters, short relievers, and middle-inning relievers, Barr could play the whole game. Better still, there was a certain quality of danger that attached to him. There have been great players who never had a great moment; men who went on year after year, running up formidable statistics: but were no more fearsome than anybody else in the few, crucial moments of their careers. They popped up or flied out in key at-bats, or did not even fail that spectacularly. They simply singled when they should have homered, cut the ball off from going into the gap when they should have made the diving, sliding catch. They played on no great teams, took part in no immortal moments, and passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all.

This was not the case with John Barr. His very presence at the plate seemed to jar things loose. It caused the opposing pitchers and fielders to proceed in jerky, tentative movements. His appearance at the big moment almost always guaranteed that something would happen, and usually something that entailed a ball whacked viciously into the furthest reaches of the stadium, and his opponents sent stumbling desperately after it.

And yet -- by the end he was still no more than a redoubtable shadow to the flies, the fans, even his own teammates. You could not say he was loved, except perhaps by Ricky Falls or Ellie Jay, Queen of Sportswriters, who loved him not so much for the raw talent but the dedication that she perceived. For Barr played wrapped up in himself, in the narrow devotion of hitting the ball. There were never many color stories on the man, no quotes that went beyond a few, monosyllabic words, no glowing or lurid accounts of him from former teammates. Nothing to say where he came from, other than the name of a small New England town with a funny name. No visible family, friends, women, or interest of any kind outside of a ballpark.

The only one who got more inside on him was The Old Swizzlehead, or again possibly Ellie Jay, who divined in him something that not even Falls could quite discern, after all his years with him. Something detached from the workaday problems of run-of-the-mill, superstar, millionaire athlete gods. Something truly not normal.

Yet it was Falls who saw him through his entire career, right from the first moment he set foot on a professional ballfield. Or so he claims. It is The Old Swizzlehead who can better describe the true essence of the great man than anyone else alive -- or so he says.

The Old Swizzlehead

He was the best.

I know how the flies like to throw that word around. These days somebody makes a good relay throw, he becomes the best player in the game ever. But John Barr was the best, for real.

You have to think about how unusual that is. Maybe Ellsworth Pippin, The Great White Father, is the best owner and general manager of all time. Maybe the Rev. Jimmy Bumpley is the best TV evangelist. Maybe even Dickhead Barry Busby is the best sportswriter. I don't know.

But I doubt it. And I know John Barr was the best.

Where I grew up, we used to shoot hoop on the outdoor courts on Amsterdam Avenue. We used to play day an' night, nonstop, an', we thought we were pretty bad. But we all knew the best player in the project was my cousin and homeboy, John Bell.

He could two-hand dunk behind his back, every time you gave him the ball within three feet of the basket. We knew he was the best player in the city, best player anywhere. Had to be.

One day we decided we was so good we would go down an' play in Riverside Park ...

Sometimes You See It Coming. Copyright © by Kevin Baker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)