The Best Book I’ve Ever Read is…
March 12, 2013 7 Comments
I have been waiting all year to read this book again. Ever since I read it last April, I’ve often daydreamed about it.
During the hot summer days of 2012, trapped behind a cash register at my day job, I often escaped to the frigid midnight setting of this masterpiece by poet-like author Dan Barry.
During the windy days of fall, my imagination still would not let me forget the Easter Morning images of a crippled ballpark in Pawtucket, New Jersey that was destined for record-setting greatness.
Even as Carols played in the car driving with my wife to Christmas Eve Service, I anticipated the day I would once again crack open the modest book about little-known McCoy Stadium, pregnant with soon-to-be greats such as Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs, and nurturing has-beens and never-quite-was’s, just dreaming of the day they could grace the filed of a major league stadium, if not for just a moment in time.
Sarabeth and I make it a point to read books with each other. She doesn’t like baseball much – hates it, really. But after reading just a few pages of The Bottom of the 33rd to her, she agreed that Dan Barry is a very good author. And if there’s anything to know about Sarabeth, it’s that she does not say something unless she means it.
So Baseball haters, I’m telling you that this book is so good, that even you should give it a chance.
With the number of books I’ve read in my lifetime, I believe I can qualify as a book critic if I wanted to (just got to figure out how, I guess). And this often-tough critic gives this book a certified 100% approval rating. Why don’t you take a moment to read a couple of select paragraphs from the Prologue to see if it convinces you to get this book:
“Three thirty in the morning.
“Holy Saturday, the awkward Christian pause between the Sorrow and the Joy, has surrendered to the first hushed hours of Easter. The cold and dark cling to the rooftops in a Rhode Island place called Pawtucket. Triple-decker houses, packed with three, four, six sleeping families, loom over its empty, half-lit streets, while the river that cascades through its deserted downtown releases a steady, dreamy sigh. Yet somewhere in the almost sacred stillness, a white orb disturbs the peace, skipping along the night-damp grass, flitting through the night-crisp air, causing general unrest at three thirty in the morning on Sunday, Easter Sunday.”
“Someone not here tonight could pose quite legitimate questions to the players and fans, questions that would naturally start with why. Why did you keep playing? Why did you stay? At two o’clock in the morning, and then at three o’clock, why didn’t you just – leave? The official answer, that some umpire refused to call it a night, would be so lacking in the weight of common sense that it might twirl off like a deflating balloon before the sentence could be finished. But the truer answer might be as unsatisfying to the outsider as it is surprising to these inhabitants of this in-between place, where time’s boundaries have blurred.
“Why did you keep playing? Why did you stay?
“Because we are bound by duty. Because we aspire to greater things. Because we are loyal. Because, in our own secular way, we are celebrating communion, and resurrection, and possibility.”
Do not delay this Easter Season. Get The Bottom of the 33rd on Amazon here.
Disclaimer: This book contains frequent use of the F-word.