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The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia:…

The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia: Baseball Stuff You Never Needed to…

by Robert Schnakenberg

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Five hundred A-to-Z entries detail baseball movies, trivia and miscellany, songs, toys, games and landmark events and on-field incidents, as well as ballpark food, baseball fashions, ballpark promotions gone awry, unusual team mascots and much more.



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The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia: Baseball Stuff You Never Needed To Know and Can Certainly Live WIthout
On my second attempt to seek understanding of my childhood obsession with major league baseball I checked out Robert Schankeberg’s The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia. Much of the same ground that was covered in Big Hair and Plastic Grass (the book that was part of my first attempt to understand my chldhood obsession) was covered here as well, and it was covered in a similar quick, snarky, Generation ADD style (ie, a venerable parade of random, multi-tasking soundbite-like attempts to appear expertine by using large, obscure words and hipster-wannabee pop culture references). Schnakenerg at least owns up to his snarkyness from the get-go, as the subtitle suggests. He also lays the information out in an easy to read manner, with plenty of illustration eye candy, including a replication of the Topps “mutton chop sideburns” Carl Yazstremski baseball card that was once famously referenced in a The Simpsons episode. Many of the illustrations included within the pages of The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia illustrates the book’s basic assumption that major league baseball is a common part of the pop culture entertainment industry (which make the “Underground” part of the book’s title seem rather out of place). In that overall context, Schankeberg’s book devotes a large amount of “column space” on whacky fans, popular supervendors, team mascots, odd players (one-armed players and midgets and a female umpire), plus freakish behavior and tabloid scandals (sex, steroids, racism and gambling). All of which made me quickly realize that I wouldn’t be finding any definitive answers to my questions regarding my childhood obsession, but I kept reading none the less because a) Schnakenerg’s book was halfway entertaining and b) I was on the toilet and wasn’t able to reach anything else except for The Sav-On Health Self-Care Advisor—a quick-reference guide for all that ales you—that is perpetually resting in the combination magazine rack/toilet paper roll dispenser that is within arms reach of my bathroom shitter.

So overall, The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia was mildly entertaining and good for a diversion while taking the Browns to the Superbowl, but as the book’s subtitle suggest, it is one that you “can certainly live without”. Therefore this reviewer deems it worthy of 2 Wagemannheads.
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  EdVonBlue | Aug 12, 2010 |
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