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by Scott Lasser
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688177638, Paperback)In his first novel, Scott Lasser takes on that time-honored topic, arms and the man--pitching arms, that is. But Battle Creek is no overblown baseball epic. Instead, the author focuses on a minor-league team--one whose propensity to lose in the final round of the nationals makes its sponsorship by a funeral home somehow appropriate. Can veteran coach Gil Davison turn things around? He's determined to do so, even if it means a touch of dugout downsizing:
He has made up his mind that this will be his last season. He wants to go out on top. In previous years he kept some people on board out of loyalty, or because he liked them, or because he liked their wives or girlfriends, or just to avoid having to fire them, but this year he won't do it. This year a player has to produce, or he's gone.Gil, who's been diverting money from his father's checking account to keep the team in cleats, is the center of the novel. But Lasser introduces us to the rest of the roster, too. There's sexual athlete and power pitcher Ben Mercer, who succumbs to baseball's equivalent of the Dark Side and starts throwing spitballs. (Mercer, by the way, is a stockbroker when he's not on the mound, which may make for a certain harmonic convergence between him and his bond-trading creator.) There's also a young hitter, Luke James, whose promising career gets truncated by a well-placed bean ball. Throughout, Lasser has a fine, glancing touch with "the dance of infield practice and the pop of the ball in the catcher's mitt, the flicker of signals from the catcher with a man on second, and the lean of a ballplayer as he rounds third base." But aside from the generational head-butting between Gil and his father, the author's explorations of the wild and wooly world of American masculinity have something tentative to them. Aiming, perhaps, for the back fence, he has an unfortunate tendency to check his swing. --James Marcus
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:53 -0400)
For thirty years the Michigan amateur baseball team of Koch and Sons made it to the finals, only to lose at the last moment. For aging coach Gil Davison the upcoming championship is his swan song, will fortune favor him this time?
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