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“Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax “What a book—an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for  Let The Great World Spin From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times column“Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax “What a book—an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for  Let The Great World Spin From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry comes the beautifully recounted story of the longest game in baseball history—a tale celebrating not only the robust intensity of baseball, but the aspirational ideal epitomized by the hard-fighting players of the minor leagues. In the tradition of Moneyball, The Last Hero, and Wicked Good Year, Barry’s Bottom of the 33rdis a reaffirming story of the American Dream finding its greatest expression in timeless contests of the Great American Pastime....

Title : Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062014481
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 259 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game Reviews

  • Will Byrnes
    2018-11-23 00:33

    (See the link, at bottom, to a wonderful article Barry wrote for the NY Times)In the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame there is a particular line that comes into play here. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack. I don’t care if I never get back. That sentiment was put to the test on April 18, 1981, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, when the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played the longest game in professional baseball history. Given that the song is generally sung in the middle of the 7th inning, or after six and a half innings of play, the fans, had they been of a mind, could have sung the tune four more times before the game was finally concluded.Dan Barry, a sports columnist for the New York Times, a guy who had lived in Pawtucket for four years, uses this singular game as a structure around which to build his depiction of minor league baseball, more particularly Triple-A level baseball, using the example here to stand in for the whole.His approach is one that would give anyone with a generous dose of OCD a thrill. I did not keep track of the number of individuals who are mentioned and for whom Barry offers at least a little biographical info, but I expect it easily squirts past the defenders into triple digit territory. There is no index available for cheating and coming up with a credible number. Leave it that if a cat had wandered into the field during that game, Barry probably interviewed it, and I expect had he been able to identify the gulls that were in attendance, they would undoubtedly be pretty sick of him asking them about the game, and checking their eggs to find out if the unborn heard anything their feathered parental units might have mentioned about it. I do not mean this as a knock, but merely to offer a sense of Barry’s overall approach. It is reminiscent of an actual baseball field, a wide swath, covered in grass, only inches deep, but with particular parts that emerge, and form the more significant elements of his story, the mound, the bases. One or two deserve mention.In one of the true rarities in baseball, the owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox sounds like he was a pretty decent guy. We learn about him lending a helping hand when the help really was for someone else and not just a roundabout way of helping himself. The best element was Barry’s look at Dave Koza, a career minor-leaguer who was known for his home runs, but whose major league career only had warning track power, a Crash Davis sort. Barry looks at Koza (really, someone must have nicknamed him “Lost”, but we never come across that here.) His story carries all the hope-and-dream elements that drive so many of these young men. Dave was the fellow who would get the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 33rd. Barry gives us an illuminating look at the history of the stadium in which the game was played, tells us about the umpires, the ball boy, the intern, the security guard, the where-are-they-nows, the whole nine yards innings, or in this case thirty three. In a way it struck me as having something in common with rain delays, when hapless broadcasters (yes, he looks at those guys too) have to work extra hard to come up with material to cover the dead air between pitches. Barry certainly does work hard, and manages not only to fill in the blanks, I think he may have actually created some to give himself more time to fill. If you are a baseball fan, this is a fun book. It is nice to know that Rich Gedman, Wade Boggs, Bruce Hurst, Cal Ripkin Jr,. Bobby Ojeda, and a few other eventual pros took part in the game, and that a game of such duration was ultimately made possible by a cut-and-paste failure in the updating of the league rule book. It is nice to learn of Bobby O’s role in sparking behavior that had once gotten a batboy ejected from a game. It is fun to hear that Mike Hargrove’s extended at-bat preparations earned him the moniker “The Human Rain Delay.” If you are not a baseball fan, Bottom of the 33rd offers a look at a piece of American culture that is as true today as it was over thirty years ago. I can tell you from painful personal experience here in New York City that it is generally a bad idea to go to a ballgame in April. Hell, May and maybe even June, can feel like a wind-blown tundra in our stadiums. And farther north and east it must be even worse. It is no shock that only nineteen spectators made it through the entirety of the game. The book will take a lot less time to read than the game took to be played, and you will not be in danger of having bodily parts crystallize and drop off while you are completing it. Bottom of the 33rd may not be a grand slam, but it is at least a hustle-triple. And it is definitely a good idea to Root, root, root for the home team. =============================EXTRA STUFF2/24/15 - Barry wrote a heart-wrenching piece about the decision to move the Pawtucket team to Providence. Baseball writing at its best. A must-read for any real baseball fan. Brought tears to my eyes - A City Braces for Its Ballpark to Go the Way of Its Mills - Through Years of Change, Pawtucket, R.I., Always Had McCoy Stadium

  • Tim The Enchanter
    2018-11-28 23:36

    Posted toThe Literary Lawyer.caMy #2 Read of 2014Best Baseball Book I Have Ever Read - 5 Stars I am writing this review about 9 months after having read this. I have been putting off writing this review as I have been finding it difficult to express my feelings on the subject. For me, the game of baseball holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I have a chance to sit down and watch a game, it brings back feelings that I have had since childhood. Feelings of excitement, anticipation, potential and awe. My first heroes (that were not within my own family) were all out on the baseball diamond and graced the faces of my baseball card collection. Maybe Kelly Gruber is no one to you, but the former third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays was my hero! For me, this story distills these feelings and infuses them into the real life people in this real life story.In short, the book tells the story of the longest baseball game played. It was a 33 inning affair that occurred between two minor league baseball teams. The game was filled with players who would go on to successful careers and players who would go on to non baseball related jobs. The author does a superb job of detailing the game itself while at the same time providing insight and back story into the players playing the game and various persons connected with the game and in the stands. If you thought that authors such as Patrick Rothfuss and Anthony Ryan were skilled at detailing the creation of myth over thousands of pages, than you will be amazed at the authors ability to create legend within a mere 257 pages. The book also serves a case study in myth making. He takes a game that is a footnote to history and an unimportant game in the career of future hall of famers, Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs but by adding the emotion of the game, the history of the players and a wide array of other stories, he has created something bigger than the sum of its parts.This is my best effort at reviewing what may be the best piece of non-fiction I have ever read. My reaction to the book was quite emotional. It may hold interest to a passive fan but it will be absorbed and understood by everyone who knows that baseball is more than just a game.

  • Lyn
    2018-11-24 04:21

    In the cold night of a Rhode Island April, two minor league teams began a baseball game that would not be over for another 8 hours. Thus begins the journalistic novel by Dan Berry about the 1981 game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings both of the International League. Well researched and balanced, this entertaining account is more than just the story about the longest recorded game in baseball history, Berry has masterfully combined history, psychology and sociology to tell a modern day story of America itself. Tragic, comic, endearing, and all the while reported with a brutally honest theatrical irony, Berry has a gem of a baseball book and a good read in it’s own right. I gave it 4 stars because it was so well written, if you’re a baseball fan, consider that this should be a 5 star book, very good, I’ll think about this book often.

  • Lady♥Belleza★✰
    2018-12-14 06:24

    Baseball is my favorite sport, I am counting the days until it starts again. I’m not kidding, I have a countdown clock on my phone and every morning I look at it and get all excited about how many days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. It therefore should not be surprising that when I was at the library and walking past the non-fiction section my eyes were drawn to the baseball books.On September 22, 2012 the Yankees played the A’s, that game lasted 14 innings, 5 hours and 43 minutes. The longest game for the Yankees since 2006. I was there for that game. I stayed for every inning, watched every pitch, every hit. The longest major league baseball game was 25 innings, but that isn’t the longest professional ball game every played, that honor goes to a minor league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. This record still stands: 33 innings, 8 hours 25 minutes.There is a rule that a new inning cannot start after midnight, however the rule book the home plate umpire had did not have that paragraph in it so play continued until 4 in the morning, when the president of the league finally returned a phone call to the ball park. Play was halted at the 32nd inning. The next time the Red Wings were in town the game resumed. It took 1 inning and 18 minutes to finish the game. Two names you might recognize in this book are Wade Boggs, Pawtucket Red Sox and Cal Ripken, Jr., Rochester Red Wings.This book is more than just an account of a baseball game, we learn about life in the minor leagues, what players and managers and reporters had to put up with. We learn some of the history of the players, how their lives progressed after, who went to the major leagues and so on. Well written and interesting.Rating: Liked it ♥♡

  • James
    2018-12-11 06:33

    In the 30 years since Rochester's Red Wings and Pawtucket's Red Sox battled into the wee hours of a frigid Easter morning, the fascination with baseball's longest game hasn't waned. If anything, the marathon contest, which featured future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs, has ascended to legendary status, staking its claim among the sport's classic duels. What began as a routine Saturday night affair April 18, 1981, spilled into Sunday before eventually wrapping up two months later as a 3-2 Paw Sox win.Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium was packed on June 23 for the game's almost anti-climactic conclusion, when the Red Sox needed only one inning to decide matters. The true witnesses to history, however, barely numbered in double digits. When the two weary clubs were mercifully shooed off the field at 4:09 Easter morning, just 19 fans remained in the grandstand.Dan Barry wasn't among them. In fact, he was nowhere near Pawtucket for either the anonymous start or the spectacle of a conclusion, which drew media from as far away as England and Japan for a feel-good story in the early days of a strike that would shut down Major League Baseball for nearly two months. Which makes his gripping and lyrical retelling, Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game, all the more amazing, as he seems to have been everywhere all at once for the entire length of the game.He's there in the visitor's bullpen, where Red Wings reliever Steve Luebber trades scuffed baseballs to youngsters in the early innings for wood to fuel the bonfire that warms a squadron of relievers. He's in the parking lot watching the stepson of the scoreboard operator drain the battery of a Ford Pinto as he falls blissfully asleep in the back seat long before the game is half over. He's under the stands, peering through a hole with Red Sox manager Joe Morgan for the last 10 innings after having been ejected for arguing a call in the top of the 22nd. And, of course, he's on the field, where he accounts for every plate appearance in the bedeviling affair.The balls and strikes, base hits and fly balls are not what this story's about, however. Barry has gone both deeper and broader, rescuing the game's participants from a novelty of a box score, in which 219 at-bats were recorded. There's more to Rochester center fielder Dallas Williams than the 0-for-13 that followed him for the rest of his career. And as much as Jim Umbarger's 10 shutout innings of relief leap off the stat page, they reveal little about the man himself. Barry dug into every participant-on the field, in the front office, up in the press box, and down in the stands-to cull the true meaning of the sport.He captures the spirit of minor league baseball in the days before the corporate ownership groups dotted the landscape with miniature versions of big league cathedrals. These were shoestring operations, run largely by fresh-faced kids just out of school. Or younger. The clubhouses in Pawtucket were managed by a pack of neighborhood youths, who pushed the team's uniforms to a coin-operated Laundromat each morning in stolen shopping carts in the late 1970s, before new owner Ben Mondor took over and installed on-premises washers and dryers.While times have changed and minor league franchises are no longer run by the Little Rascals, today's generation of players can certainly relate to the mental grind their predecessors endured. Today's Triple-A rosters are populated with men just like Leubber, who in 1981 was fighting to return to the majors where he came within an out of a no-hitter for the Twins in 1976, and Dave Koza, the slugging first baseman who spent so long in Pawtucket he made it his long-time home after his career ended without a big league callup. For every Ripken there are a hundred more whose career will more closely resemble Bobby Bonner's brief big league stay.Barry caught up with everyone he could find, crafting their recollections of that fateful night into a romance illustrating the game's often heart-breaking allure. It's not an entirely original concept. Within the past couple years alone works like Perfect, Lew Paper's retelling of Don Larson's World Series masterpiece, and Jim Kaplan's The Greatest Game Ever Pitched, about the legendary 16-inning Warren Spahn-Juan Marichal bout in 1963, have tried to apply a bigger-picture perspective to a single game. But where those books felt contrived at times, Bottom of the 33rd weaves the game seamlessly into the stories of the men who were there in 1981.This International League classic is unlikely to ever be duplicated. The perfect storm that spawned it required a printing mishap, leaving the league's 12:50 a.m. curfew off the books; a hard-nosed, literalist interpretation of the rulebook by the head umpire; a league president who was so frequently hounded by inane phone calls that he didn't answer Pawtucket general manager Mike Tamburro's desperate plea for an end to the insanity; and a confounding wind knocking down a certain home-run blast off the bat of Sox outfielder Sam Bowen, which would have ended the game in the bottom of the 26th.In today's world of cell phones and internet, even a rule book glitch wouldn't spin this far out of control. But a generation ago, it happened. Dan Barry has captured it-and so much more-in this essential book for minor league baseball lovers.

  • Doreen Petersen
    2018-11-15 02:32

    What a great read for those interested in baseball!!! I do love my baseball and I am my father's daughter in that respect. If you love sports or more specifically baseball in particular, run, don't wait to get this book and read it!

  • Diane
    2018-11-19 02:20

    Major League Baseball just opened up another season, so the perfect book to read this week is Dan Barry's Bottom of the 33rd- Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game.The game took place on April 18, 1981, Holy Saturday, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Triple A League Pawtucket Red Sox hosted the Rochester Red Wings. The Sox had future superstar Wade Boggs on their team, the Red Wings had the incomparable Cal Ripken Jr. at third base.But Barry wisely does not put those superstars at the center of his story. What makes this narrative interesting are the not-so-famous people. The Pawtucket owner, Ben Mondor, a wealthy businessman who grew up poor in Pawtucket and made it big, took the team at its lowest point and restored it to its former glory.He prized loyalty above all, and when Budweiser refused to sell him beer because the former owners owed them money, he remembered that for a long time. Miller sold him beer, and even though Budweiser was the fan favorite, and Budweiser eventually begged him to buy their beer year after year, Mondor stuck with Miller because they were loyal to him.Mondor put together a small but hardworking front office team, and they turned the bankrupt team into a success by "keeping prices low, making the stadium safe and family-friendly and emphasizing that the Pawtucket players on the field were the Boston Red Sox of tomorrow."One of the most unforgettable characters is pitcher Win Remmerswaal. He is from the Netherlands, and "doesn't seem to accept basic social customs, such as adherence to the law or value of currency." His car license plate was a "piece of cardboard with a few meaningless numbers scribbled on it." At the end of one road trip, it was discovered that he was missing. He showed up several days later, explaining that he had never seen the nation's capital, so when they had a layover in Washington, he took a few days to sightsee. He is hilarious!Triple A baseball is the last step before the major league team, so there is an interesting dynamic on those teams. There are the young players destined for future glory, like Boggs and Ripken. There are 'old guys'- the 25 and 26 year-olds- who have kicked around for awhile, and this is their last shot at making the big team. Some of them get called up to play in September on the parent club, only to be sent back to Triple A next spring to try again.The agony of working to see your dream come true, knowing that there is a short time limit on it, is palpable in this book. First baseman Dave Koza has dragged his wife Ann from Florida to Pawtucket to Wyoming every year in pursuit of his dream. Ann finds some kind of factory work wherever they land, and she goes to every game. She is one of the 19 people who watched all 32 innings of the game, lasting until 4am on Easter morning when it was finally called. They are the heart of this marvelous book, and the end to their story is so moving.The longest game, which is finally finished two months later in Pawtucket, is told in detail, alternating with the stories of the people who participated in it. I grew up in Auburn, NY, which has a Single A baseball team, and this book really resonated with me. I know my entire family will want to read it.Barry gives the reader a close-up look at our national pasttime, and what that means for the cities where it is played. He tells the stories of the participants with honesty, humor, and heart. If you liked the movie, Bull Durham, this book is for you. It is a must-read for every baseball fan.

  • Steve
    2018-12-08 06:45

    In 1981, I was 16 and following the Columbus Clippers, then the Triple-A farm team for the New York Yankees. The Clippers were part of the International League, of which the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings were part, as well. I saw all these teams play several times a year, and saw several of the players (and managers) make it to the big leagues. If I remember right, the Columbus Clippers even ended up taking the Governor's Cup that year.In the beginning of the 1981 season, though, the teams from Pawtucket and Rochester played a game that ended up going 33(!) innings. I remember reading about it in the Columbus Dispatch, and I'm not sure I could have sat through a game that lasted over eight hours...The book was interesting, and it about so much more than simply this game for the record books. Each player was highlighted in some form or fashion, complete with background stories of how and where they grew up, and their trip(s) up to the Boston Red Sox or the Baltimore Orioles, if they made it at all. The attention to detail was incredible, and the game seemed to take a back seat to the players, the managers, and all of the supporting staff themselves.I'm not a huge baseball fan by any means, and usually don't watch many games until the season starts wrapping up and gets close to the playoffs. I would, however, recommend this book about the longest baseball game ever played to anyone interested in the history of the sport, and especially to anyone that wants to know how to write about an historical event (it's all about the people!).

  • Tom
    2018-12-10 00:36

    Ok, I admit that it's easy to romanticize baseball in the dead of winter,which is when I read this book. And it's more than touch ironic that I, who rarely watch games on tv now because they've become longer than most operas (and with less action, since the game is shriveling on endless strikeouts, walks and pitching changes), would find a book about the longest game in history so fascinating. But pass the Cracker Jacks, there it is. Barry is such a good writer that I couldn't wait to pick up this book every evening. Here's a stylish highlight: “How short, now, the longest game seems. How ephemeral. On a night and early morning set aside for prayer, reflection, and everlasting joy, a baseball game insisted on the suspension of ordinary time. It gathered together a few dozen hopefuls in a poorly lit coliseum and refused them release for more than eight hours, providing them little comfort from the harsh elements beyond the heat generated by the burning of wood. It forced those watching the game to contemplate cosmic issues that transcend the successive crises of balls and strikes. The interdependence we all share. The inadequacy of statistics to measure one’s worth. The existence of God. The dominion of nature over humankind, reflected by the howl of the night’s wind, whoooosh, rising to muffle the profane howl of the Rochester center fielder.”Now granted, digesting that much lyricism for an entire book would be like eating too many hot dogs drowning in mustard. But still, that's as good as anything the two benighted Roger's -- Kahn and Angell -- ever penned about life on the diamond. And Barry is just as good a storyteller as R1 and R2, as well, which is the real reason to read this book, because the story is not just about the game but about a rusty, snow-belt town, Pawtucket (or Puhtucket to locals)in midst of decades-long slump with nothing much to get excited about except a minor league team. It's not just about impending MLB stars like future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr., who played on opposing teams, but about anonymous career minor leaguers who never made it to the Show; it's about failure despite hard work and perseverance that borders on both the perverse and the admirable. But it's also about success defined in myriad ways, like the local teenage clubhouse attendants who get an education in business ingenuity and organizational skills that would trump anything a Harvard MBA could produce. Barry does a great job of weaving in running profiles of everyone associated with the game, near and far -- players, managers, owners, announcers, vendors, reporters, club-house jockeys, mothers, spouses, politicians, cops -- with a stirring and entertaining inning by inning account of the game that I never found dull or repetitive.I suppose the big question here is would non-fans enjoy this book? I think so. I am no longer a die-hard fan myself, though I still read the sports page every morning, and I've dropped plenty of other sports stories, fiction and non-fiction, because the writing was over-wrought or cliche-ridden. Barry does not suffer from either of those maladies. He conveys a sense of wonderment without lapsing into sentimentality. Though the game was exhausting for everyone involved, Barry's writing compels you to stick around until the end of this historic triple-header and a half.

  • Matt Simmons
    2018-12-08 03:30

    A very, very enjoyable book. The allegory is perhaps too thick--it's a book about redemption, and the game in question takes place from Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday and lasts 33 innings, 33 being the age of Christ--but it seems, in its own odd way, charming. The best sportswriting is always about being a bit too sentimental, a bit too melodramatic; it almost has to be. After all, what we're talking about is essentially a children's game, and we're using this game to illustrate and find out about things that are a part of greater experience of being a human being. This would suggest that it'd have to be a bit over-written. And it is. But, again, that's a part of the genre--and Barry wonderfully overwrites with the best of them.The thing I love most about Barry's approach to the book is how he treats the game itself: Barry doesn't spend time trying to explain exactly what happened. We often lose our place in the game--what inning are we in, exactly? And that's more than okay; in fact, it's very good. For Barry's approach is to use this game as a canvas on which he can paint the lives of human beings, the life of a city, the life of a ballpark itself. At times, the book almost feels like a poor man's The Naked and the Dead, with moments of the action punctuated by moments of life, by anecdotes of individual parts of the game, player and spectator and city and ballpark, much in the same way Mailer interrupts war to tell the stories of the soldiers in his magnificent novel. But to the parts themselves: There's a young Wade Boggs and Cal Ripkin, Jr. There's the city of Pawtucket, and its strange ballpark, and its larger-than-life politicians. There's the wife convinced her husband's cheating on her, not playing baseball at this god-forsaken hour. There's the father and son who make a pact never to leave early on the night of this game. And then there's Dave Koza, a man who should be remembered as one of the great minor legends of the game, like Ralph Branca or Moonlight Graham. Koza's the hero, and a wonderfully American hero he is.That, then, is ultimately the end of this book. It's a truism to talk about baseball and America; but cliché has some truth in it, no matter. If you meet a foreigner who wants to understand America, give them the Constitution, the Declaration, the Federalist Papers, Washington's farewell address, Jefferson's letters, Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack, Douglass' Autobiography, Lincoln and Kennedy's inaugural speeches, and Patton's speech to the Third Army. And then, after all that, explain baseball to them, take them to a game, and during the seventh-inning stretch, give them this book. This is America in a nutshell. And what a beautiful thing it is.

  • Daniel Currie
    2018-12-12 00:17

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thanx!It sounds like an interesting premise and it is, but the execution...It is all about the longest game in organized baseball history. But the game itself was not that interesting. Only a few runs scored. There are some future Hall of Famers in the game, but they didn't play an integral part. Since there isn't that much of the game to write about (maybe 10% is about the actual game) it has to rely on the people and their backstories. It was obviously written knowing this is what the book would be about, not the game itself. But do we really want to know the backstory of the batboy, the owner, the coaches, the broadcaster, every player, their wives, the chairman of the league and (I am not kidding) the fans? I'm sorry, but their stories are what this book is built on and they simply aren't THAT interesting. You could take this slice of life of virtually any setting and expand upon it like this, but the bottom line is 'Is it interesting'? Your opinion may differ, but in this case I'd have to say no.

  • Samuel Winchester
    2018-11-19 03:39

    On April 18th, 1981, the Rochester Red Wings and Pawtucket Red Sox began what would become the longest game ever played in professional baseball. In a 33 inning epic contest featuring two future Hall of Famers, and many more has-beens, each side would refuse to yield, finishing the game, Dan Barry argues, because they were "duty bound" and "loyal" to it.It was for similar reasons that I finished this book.Dan Barry uses the game to tell the fascinating stories of a select few men and boys who are forever bound to each other through this one small moment of baseball history. As the life story of each player unfolds, we feel the emotion of their triumphs and frustrations. From the players and umpires on the field, to the youthful batboys in each dugout, and extending even to the dozen or so fans who bravely watch the game into the wee hours of Easter Sunday, Barry's impressive research leaves no detail behind.Unfortunately, the wealth of information and facts seems more piled together than organized. While the book is divided up by innings (1-9, 10-21, 22-32, 33) there is little discernible order within that structure. As a new players comes to bat, Barry forces us to leave the game for several pages so he can tell us all about this man, only to drop us right back into the game once we've forgotten where we were. Overall, I found the stories thrilling and well told, but the poor organization of all those details created a confusing read - an impression cemented by the fact that several stories are told more than once. It's sad, really, that such a potentially great book could be undone by a confusing and poor structure, but that is exactly what happens here. Like a strapping power hitter who can't figure out the curveball, Bottom of the 33rd has all the potential in the world, but will never make it out of AAA.

  • Co2
    2018-11-26 05:40

    Many news reporters love to write about baseball, it has a lot of spaces which they can fill with some creativity. Not something you can do with news stories. Barry lives up to the challenge. He's first a great reporter and next has the story telling abilities to pull this off.It’s hard for me to describe this book, my fault, not Barry's. The book takes people who have the longest game in the history of professional baseball in common and weaves their stories together. It's a daunting assignment, the people are disparate; failing ballplayers, players on the way to the Hall of Fame, a local guy who forages for ticket stubs, a local kid who's worked his way up to be the clubhouse manager, wives, kids, owners, umpires and on. That's a lot of people to put into 350 pages let alone in context. The story succeeds in telling the stories over 30 years. Its more a story about the characters not the game. And it works.A brilliant book.A great baseball book, an amazing story.

  • Gerry
    2018-11-22 05:31

    A great book about one very, very, long game. I am hesitant to put anything about the story within as it has many twists, turns, and an ending I wasn't quite expecting. In the end this book will make any person reflect and you will be happy that you read the story. If you like baseball or sports in general then you will find that this story will make you laugh outloud along the way. Oddly enough I feel to be a better person because I read this story. The characters are many, the event worthy of a special tribute at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Enjoy the book - I sure did!

  • Thom
    2018-11-30 07:25

    This rambling history covers more about the players, staff and spectators of the longest game in baseball history than about the game itself. Each of the stories is interesting, though some needed a smidge more. For me, this was a three star book that never slowed rounding second and slid into third just under the tag - safe. Because I'm a Sox fan and have been to a game at McCoy, add half a star and sacrifice the runner home.

  • Mike Kennedy
    2018-11-19 23:47

    Combination of audio version on the road and e-version of this book. It recalls the longest game in professional baseball history. The game happen the Saturday before Easter and was finally suspended Easter morning around 4:00am. It picked up a couple months later, and after 33 innings there was finally a winner. There were plenty of interesting characters in this game from Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr and Wade Boggs to players who never got the call like Dave Koza who got the winning hit. The announcers, owners, managers, and even bat boys get side stories. Dan Berry, the author, does a great job breaking from the action in the game to talk about all the people involved in the game. He finds a number of interesting stories in a wide variety of places that makes this story a very interesting read. Overall any baseball fan should enjoy this book.

  • arterialturns
    2018-12-13 03:40

    How does one write a baseball book about the longest game in professional baseball history without making it boring? How does one make a book about said game without alienating non-baseball fans? This is how: by weaving poignant, touching stories of literally nearly everyone involved in the game. Here is the tale of the clubhouse kid who started as a pre-teen hustling players' laundry down the street to his career as a local police officer. Here is the tale of the unique, self-made wealthy owner who values loyalty and elevates a downtrodden town's downtrodden ballpark and team to notoriety in the world of AAA baseball. Here is the tale of the first baseman and his path from prodigiously talented school age athlete in Wyoming to respected minor league hopeful in Rhode Island to beloved father and grandfather in recovery. This isn't truly a story about a game (and if it were it would be awful); it's one of the best examples of how every one of us has a story, oft untold and frequently fascinating. It's a tale of passion for the game, interpersonal relationships, perseverance, small towns, and-yes-big dreams. Totally worth a read.

  • HBalikov
    2018-12-06 00:34

    April 18-19, 1981 - The longest game ever played; played almost all night long; played in the cold April of New England while many were finishing Saturday Passover or getting ready for Easter Sunday.There are familiar names like Boggs and Ripken. There are names that can be mistaken such as Joe Morgan. There are a host of unknowns that never made it.Barry gives us the background to the baseball field, the players and (for me as interesting) the support team including everyone from the ball boy to the statistician. In terms of big names, the game in question features Cal Ripken against Wade Boggs (both future members of the MLB Hall of Fame). Boggs is also a member of the “most superstitious” hall of fame. According to several sources, he ate chicken before every game, woke up at the same time every day, took exactly 117 ground balls in pre-game practice, took batting practice at 5:17 pm, and ran sprints at 7:17 pm, to increase his chances of "going 7-for-7". His route to and from his position in the field beat a path to the home dugout. He drew the Hebrew word "Chai", meaning "life", in the batter’s box before each at-bat, though he is not Jewish. He asked Fenway Park public address announcer not to say his uniform number when he introduced him because Boggs once broke out of a slump on a day when this guy forgot to announce his number. Cal Ripkin, Jr. was as dedicated to becoming one of the best. His long hours of batting practice were accepted as something he got from his father, at that time third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles. He was known as “the man of a thousand batting stances,” never settling on one that he would use for very long. It took him a number of years to make it to the “big show,” which makes his consecutive game record all the more impressive. Baseball is a game of study and reflection. So, maybe the longest game on record is the platform for leisurely reflection on the game called, “America’s pastime.”You realize from the title that the game goes 33 innings. What Barry does, is to make you feel what it means to play or watch 33 innings. Arguably, the duration is toughest on a catcher. The catcher has to squat almost immobile in the cold wind, except to fire the ball back to the pitcher. Pawtucket’s starting catcher was pulled after 9 innings. After twenty something innings the Rochester coach has been asking his starting catcher, Dave Huppert (a good field, no hit journeyman) if he is “tired and in need of a break. But will the exhausted and hungry Huppert ever acknowledge to his manager that yeah, he’s kind of beat and wouldn’t mind coming out of the game?“Never“Because who knows? At some point this season, or next, one last spot may need to be filled on the major-league team’s roster. Or maybe, God forbid, Rick Dempsey gets injured, and the choice for a replacement comes down to Huppert and some other minor leaguer. Let’s say they’re both catchers, with good hands and weak bats. It’s a toss-up, the powers that be are looking for reasons to pick one over the other, and someone says, ‘Remember when Huppert asked out of a game that time?’ No need for anyone to say quitter, or loser. The silence would say it for them, as the power that be move on to the next order of business…”Barry’s enthusiasm for the side stories of this game is infectious. We learn about the stadium, the new owner, the old owners, the politics of Pawtucket, the “mob” and “business club” influences. We are taken on excursions through many personal stories whose only viable link is that those people were, in some capacity, in that ballpark on that night.Maybe Barry’s book is only for the true baseball fan. But for those, it is a reading pleasure.In the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle the next morning, the game story began, "Not since the time they had to shoot the drunken camel at the city zoo has there been this much excitement in Pawtucket.” And that’s the way it was.

  • Alisa
    2018-11-28 23:20

    Outstanding book. It is an unrivaled moment in baseball history, the longest game ever played, by an author who captured the essence of the event, the game, the place, and everyone involved in this unique moment in time. Great books transform you into the scene and involves you in such a way that makes you feel like you are there. The author adeptly weaves in the back stories of the people involved in the game - everybody including the spectators, players for both teams, their families, the bat boy, radio announcers, statisticians, et al - with the telling of the story of the game that is seamless and almost effortless in its flow. If you have ever been to a baseball game or watched a baseball game whether it is little league or major league, you know in your heart these are precisely the emotions and conversations and experiences that go on every day. Page turner start to finish. Kind of like the game itself, reading it was like being suspended in time and while I didn't want it to end it does, of course, and getting there was entirely glorious. I won this book on a goodreads giveaway. It was the game winning grand slam on my scorecard, and now I am putting it rotation for my friends to enjoy.

  • Charly
    2018-11-15 04:45

    This was an absolutely wonderful approach to a wonderful story. Barry found a way to really humanize the tale of the longest game and made it about the players in the game and not the game. His approach of stepping aside from the narrative of the game to tell how a given player got to that point in the game and where he would go from there, was wonderful.To have been at Mc Coy in the pre-Ben Mondor era, and having purchased this book at the current jewel of a AAA stadium that Mc Coy has become shows the blessing to baseball that Mondor was. Also, it allowed me to really feel the wind blowing in on that night, as it did at many an early season game then and now. My wife and I came within a whisker of going to this game as a Saturday night out with another couple. I lost the vote and didn't know until the next morning what we missed or I guess avoided. To know some of the people quoted in the book makes a very real portrayal even more real.A wonderful read for anyone and a must read for a baseball fan. For a Rhode island or New England fan and I guess a Rochester fan an absolute must read.

  • Jay
    2018-11-16 01:20

    Dan Barry mines the longest baseball game for interesting things to talk about. He is like a color commentator for this game, describing the people in the stands, the ball players, the owner, all their wives and kids, the batboy, and on. He mentions the teams burned old bats to keep warm quite during the game a few times (maybe 5 times -- that's too repetitive). It was a lot like watching an 8 hour game would have been on TV, you start realizing you are hearing the same things over again. This all makes it a little boring. But this is minor league baseball, and stories of the characters in minor league baseball can contain interest, especially when comparing to the majors and knowing that not everyone will make it to that promised land. He picks a doozy of a game to write about, with future hall of famers and long-time major leaguers in the game, and where the hero of the game never makes it up to the majors. This story, and the story of baseball in a minor league market, are the best parts of this book. But it probably could have been covered in 1/4 less space.

  • Diane
    2018-11-17 07:24

    The title of this book refers to the longest baseball game, played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. But, the book is really about playing baseball in the minor leagues and the hopes and dreams of the minor league players to make it to the majors. In between the eternal innings, we follow the history of various players, the batboy, the coaches, the owner of the team and the ball park itself. Wayne Boggs and Cal Ripkin, Jr. are players in this longest game, and they went on to long, well-known careers, but they are not the stars of this book. A great history of baseball for those of us who love the game.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-06 23:29

    One of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year.It's September, and it's getting closer and closer to playoff baseball. Although I love all sports, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than playoff baseball. This book was a perfect read for this time of year.Yes, it's a book about baseball, specifically, the 33 inning game played by two minor league teams that is still the longest official game on record. But this book is so much more than just a story of that game. Baseball fans, as well those who just casually watch the game, can find a lot to love about this book.The author, Dan Berry, clearly did a great deal of loving research in writing this book. He is a very talented writer, great pacing, easy to read.Readers will get an inside view to the challenges of a minor league ballplayer. Other individuals who are important to the success of the players are featured also, from the team owner, managers, family, fans, bat boy, even the person who prepared the meal for the team to eat at the end of the game. We get a glimpse into the lives of many of the people who were part of this historic game, in addition to the players. Even the stadium plays a part in this book!Most people know how challenging it is for players, even the most talented players, to make it to the big leauges. But, reading this book, you can feel just how consuming it can be for those lucky enough to make it to the minor leagues. I laughed while reading this book, I learned some new things, and I even teared up a couple of times. A very human book about our nation's pastime.Highly recommended.

  • Nathan
    2018-11-23 07:28

    A contender for best sports book I've ever read. A practically perfectly-written story about not only baseball, but a small town, hopes and dreams, the razor's edge between the minors and the Major Leagues, and brushes with greatness. The book uses the longest game in history as a storytelling device, and through impeccable research and writing, fleshes out an incredible cast of characters, from the bat boy to Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. It's never melodramatic, never sports cliche, the "non-baseball baseball book" the author set out to write. Highly recommended for anyone, especially if you have a soft spot for baseball.

  • Chuck Herrera
    2018-12-02 00:44

    Nice story about the longest professional baseball game ever played - 33 innings! AAA contest between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings. "Using the game as a focal point, Barry examines the lives and future careers of many of the players, including the then unknown Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Barry also profiles the Red Sox team owner, the fans and workers, and even the stadium and the depressed industrial town of Pawtucket, R.I. The game gives Barry ample opportunity to explore the world that surrounds it."True baseball fans will love this book.

  • Kevin
    2018-12-01 07:24

    What a great idea for a book. To follow the progress of one seemingly meaningless minor league ball game that turns into the game for the ages...but examine it 30 years after it was played.I really enjoyed this story. The author did a great job of interviewing the key players. I especially liked the way he would introduce a character and then go on to explain what happened to the person over the course of the next 30 years. And what an interesting cast of characters it was.I'd highly recommend this book for any baseball fans.

  • Jay Kennedy
    2018-12-02 05:40

    A story I'd never heard about a piece of baseball that goes unnoticed a lot , the " just about to glory" but " one day away from obscurity " minor leagues. Set perfectly and well told , I could have been anyone of the patrons that night, I see myself in it as a ball fan, and the truths slapped me in the face. Great read👍

  • Courtney Llewellyn
    2018-11-20 23:36

    I was absolutely enamored with the story told in this book. Barry does for baseball language what a beautifully executed 4-6-3 double play does for a close baseball game. I highly recommend this book to any and all baseball nerds out there.

  • Michael
    2018-11-27 06:23

    More like 2.5. I love baseball and the Red Sox so this intriqued me, especially learning that a few of my favorite players were on the teams involved. The story just seemed to drag on though, similarly I am thinking to the game itself that night/morning.

  • Kristin R
    2018-11-18 05:23

    This tells the story of the longest game in baseball history - 33 innings. The game lasts more than 8 hours. The author also includes history of the stadium, owners, background stories of different players. This is a great book for a true lover of baseball.