Archive for March, 2013

I read this book in 2012, and thus it’s not that fresh in memory. I did write plenty of notes which helped me to reconstruct this review. The book was about a minor league manager in the Cardinals organization and supposedly set in 2009.

If you have a problem with unsympathetic protagonists, this book isn’t for you–especially if you’re female. The entirety of the book is about the protagonist’s bad decisions and many of the ones he makes are not to the benefit of the women in his life.

The feel of the baseball really didn’t fit the realities of the sport as played in 2012. 2009 was only slightly different, but the problem with a lot of writers of contemporary fiction is that they want to make 2009 feel like 1949. The affiliated minor leagues aren’t exactly the best place to work if you’re looking for A+ facilities or good pay but there are things that the parent club won’t tolerate. One of those indeed is poor field playing conditions: the Washington Nationals had issues with one of their affiliates’ fields in 2010-11 and I know the Milwaukee Brewers complain about the state of their AAA affiliate’s stadium (the field in that case is not a problem; the players can still work fine, but the place doesn’t draw much of a crowd.) When so much of the book involves the protagonist complaining about stuff that I know the Cardinals management, for one, won’t tolerate if they know it’s going on my disbelief fails to be suspended. If suspended disbelief is so important to the success of science fiction and fantasy, imagine how important it is to mimetic fiction! The 1949 feel extends to depictions of the players. Due to my writing gig covering the minor leagues, I follow a lot of these players on Twitter and on their other blogging endeavors, and the attitudes and activities depicted don’t correspond to the sort of thing I know Midwest League players were doing in 2011-12. There’s also a lot of anti-stat nerd nonsense that isn’t just coming off as a character viewpoint, it’s coming off in the way Schuster depicted characters, particularly a player development executive that seems like a thinly veiled version of Jeff Luhnow (now the Houston Astros general manager.)

Anyway, if I can’t believe the baseball, how can I believe anything else about the book?

(first published in A Fool’s Errand #5 for Stipple-APA #276, 2013-03-02: slightly edited for this blog)


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books, reviewed

I’m bringing the book reviews back here as I’ve read quite a bit where the reviews of such wouldn’t fit under the Brew Crew Ball books section.

In the meantime, here are some books I’ve reviewed over at BCB in 2012-13:
Root for the Home Team, Tim Hagerty
Imperfect, Jim Abbott and Tim Brown
It’s Just a Game, Brian Carriveau

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