Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in Americas Heartland

Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in Americas Heartland

by Stefan Fatsis
     
 

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At a time of despair about our national pastime, the Northern League of Professional Baseball is a beacon of hope - an independent league, unaffiliated with the majors, where the games are for the fans and not between the owners and players. In his memorable debut book, Stefan Fatsis takes you inside the Northern League, and in the process discovers how very much

Overview


At a time of despair about our national pastime, the Northern League of Professional Baseball is a beacon of hope - an independent league, unaffiliated with the majors, where the games are for the fans and not between the owners and players. In his memorable debut book, Stefan Fatsis takes you inside the Northern League, and in the process discovers how very much baseball still means to America.


Commentator Peter Gammons calls the Northern League "the past and future of grassroots baseball in America." Revived in 1993 by a group of minor league executives fed up with the politics of their sport, it has restored baseball to six communities in the upper Midwest and Canada, which have embraced their teams with a fervor any major league team would envy. More than that, the league has breathed new life into a game that, at the major league level, has lost its way and abandoned its fans. The Northern Leagues startling success has inspired a movement that could, in time, change the face of baseball, as other independent leagues are forming rapidly in its wake.


Wild and Outside tells the Northern Leagues story, from the events that created it through its tumultuous and triumphant second season. Fatsis writes with the authority of a trusted insider, having closely followed the league since its inception. The result is a book as rich in insights into baseballs problems as it is full of indelible portraits of the people who make the Northern League special; a book that blends the texture and history of grassroots baseball with the many dramas of the leagues 1994 season.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This saga of a six-team independent league in the North Central U.S. and Canada will delight diamond fans. Fatsis, a former AP reporter, here covers the 1994 season (the second) of the Northern League of Professional Baseball, begun by Miles Wolff, owner of the minor league Durham Bulls. The new league has teams in St. Paul, Duluth, Sioux Falls and Sioux City on this side of the border, plus Thunder Bay and Winnipeg in Canada. In its second year, the league drew almost a million fans, nearly 4000 a game. The team salary cap is $72,000, to insure that the people on the field will be motivated by their love of play. How the league will weather being raided by the majors remains to be seen, but Fatsis's affectionate story is an affirmation that the national pastime still has a strong hold on the heartland. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Wes Lukowsky
aseball's minor-league renaissance and the bitter, recently settled major-league strike fomented a rash of books this spring extolling the virtues of minor-league ball. This may be the best of the lot. Journalist Fatsis profiles the independent Northern League. Brainchild of onetime minor-league whiz-kid Miles Wolff, the Northern is made up of teams with no major-league affiliation. Typically, the big club contracts players, pays them, and assigns them to their minor-league affiliates. Not so in the Northern League, which relies on players overlooked or released by major-league organizations. (Occasionally, one of these rejects, such as Oil Can Boyd or Pedro Guerrero, even makes the Big Show.) What differentiates Fatsis' look at the minors from similar treatments is his objective presentation of his subject. He doesn't mythologize the Northern: sure the owners love baseball, but they are also business folk who want to turn a profit. The players aren't presented as fuzzy-focus field-of-dreamers, either, the book jacket to the contrary. Some just like to play; some want a shot at the bigs; a few are exorcising their baseball demons; and a few are the baseball equivalent of ski bums. And then there's Ed Nottle, a career minor leaguer and now Sioux City manager. He made the decision long ago that baseball was his life. He stuck with it and has few regrets. It's worth reading this fine book if only to get to know Nottle, someone whose "just do it" credo led to satisfaction if not wealth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802719515
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/28/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
3 MB

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Meet the Author

Stefan Fatsis is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. A 1985 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he previously worked for the Associated Press in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Athens, Greece and for the Miami Herald. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Stefan Fatsis is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. A 1985 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he previously worked for the Associated Press in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Athens, Greece and for the Miami Herald. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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