This smart and funny fan s guide to baseball explains the ins and outs of pitching, hitting, running, and fielding, while offering insider trivia and anecdotes that will appeal to anyone whether you're a major league couch potato, life-long season ticket-holder, or a beginner.Read more...
This smart and funny fan s guide to baseball explains the ins and outs of pitching, hitting, running, and fielding, while offering insider trivia and anecdotes that will appeal to anyone whether you're a major league couch potato, life-long season ticket-holder, or a beginner.
What is the difference between a slider and a curveball?
At which stadium did The Wave first make an appearance?
How do some hitters use iPods to improve their skills?
Which positions are never played by lefties?
Why do some players urinate on their hands?
Combining the narrative voice and attitude of Michael Lewis with the compulsive brilliance of Schott s Miscellany, Watching Baseball Smarter will increase your understanding and enjoyment of the sport no matter what your level of expertise.Features an glossary of baseball slang, an appendix of important baseball stats, and an appendix of uniform numbers."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 35.
- Review Date: 2007-12-31
- Reviewer: Staff
Professional fan” Hample (How to Snag Major League Baseballs), who falls squarely in the “deeply serious geek” category, has put together an invaluable resource for armchair fans. A former college shortstop, four-time attendee of Bucky Dent's Baseball School and an obsessive baseball collector, Hample covers basics such as what to watch for in pitchers, catchers, hitters, fielders and base runners; he also provides answers to such nagging questions as why spectators stretch in the seventh inning and why most ballplayers grab their crotches. He explains the difference between a change-up and a split-finger fastball, breaks down a box score and offers an extensive glossary of baseball slang that defines both a “courtesy trot” and a “dying quail.” Other sections address free agency and fair balls, umpires and uniform numbers, stadiums and superstitions. Trivia abounds, including the names of the 10 switch hitters honored in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a record of inside the park home runs. Hample hits the equivalent of a reference book home run with his witty and loose style—taking a friendly for-a-fan-by-a-fan approach that doesn't hide his enormous depth of knowledge. Hample also schools amateur players and coaches with well-illustrated examples of some complex pitching, hitting and base-running scenarios. (Apr.)
Touching all the bases
Zack Hample is already famous for collecting nearly 3,000 baseballsall of which he caught or found at major league games. But Hample is also a writer covering the minor leagues, a blogger, a former college shortstop and a baseball instructor. Watching Baseball Smarter is a marvelously compact omnibus in which Hample neatly breaks down positions, game play, rules, strategies and slang, while also explaining the workings of team management and the way pro baseball functions at every level. And even though he's having fun throughout, Hample is extraordinarily comprehensive in his approach. Topics that come under discussion include awards, uniform numbers, chewing tobacco, the origin of the seventh-inning stretch, statistical history, how to read a box score, how to keep a scoresheet, the umpire's job and even what goes on at a conference on the mound. To his credit, Hample covers a lot of stuff that will serve as welcome refresher for longtime fans, and, needless to say, his book is perfect for those who are new to the game and want to get up to speed quickly. This handy reference ought to be kept near the armchair while enjoying any Saturday afternoon baseball telecast.