Bill’s Analysis/Book Review: Deadball
- Updated: February 14, 2012
In this novel, Stinson depicts a man who doesn’t just have an interest in the history of America’s pastime, but he seems to have some kind of spiritual connection to it. This man is Byron Bennett who had a stint in the minor leagues as a player. However, he was never playing baseball for the fame or the fortune; he was playing it because there was something extra that spoke to him. To Bennett, baseball was almost like a religion to him. When he was around the game, whether he was playing or not, things just felt right.
Like many religious theorists do, Bennett was interested in learning extensively about the history of the game that he felt so close to. Bennett also had the feeling that the best way he could connect to the roots of the game he felt this closeness with would be to go back to some of the places that housed the game in its early stages.
During his trip, Bennett visits the spots where parks used to be, or where some remnants of these parks still exist today. These parks include well known venues such as League Park in Cleveland, Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Union Park in Baltimore and Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
Coinsures of baseball history know that these places are in various stages of ruin. For example, Tiger Stadium is practically the same as it was when the Tigers were actually playing there except for the normal day to day upkeep of course. Whereas League Park in Cleveland is a virtual shell of its old self and one wouldn’t know they were near an old ball park unless they were actively trying to find it.
As he travels to these parks, he starts to have visions of baseball happenings from many years past. Not only is he seeing the players from those time periods, but he is seeing the spectators, ticket takers and vendors as well. At this point, Bennett struggles with himself regarding whether what he is seeing is real or fake and what he is supposed to take from these visions.
He decides to tell people he knows, including his kid, ex-wife, former teammates and friends, what he is seeing and none of them believe him, which just seems to doubt himself even more. Despite this fact, throughout the entire book, the reader can always tell that Bennett always has some sense, although at sometimes it is smaller than others, that there is a significant meaning behind what he is experiencing.
Deadball keeps the reader guessing about what its main character is going to think, find or see next on his theological journey through baseball lore. This novel is unlike any other baseball book in that it does a good job of combining past truths such as the history of well-known ballparks from beginning of the 20th century with fictional occurrences such as the story of Bennett’s life and the visions which have come to him.
This book is guaranteed to open baseball fans minds to things they aren’t used to experiencing when they pick up a book about their favorite sport. It has most of what many look for in a baseball book, history, success and suspense.
Stinson’s work is only available in paperback and can be purchased for $15.00. The book is 331 pages long.
Overall Rating: 3.25/5