A wide-ranging sampler of records, stats, stars, highlights, lowlights, sidelights, and general baseball talk.
Modeled on Gramling’s Football Fanbook (2017), the topical chapters each offer assortments of quick-fix descriptions or anecdotes interspersed with plenty of diagrams, spot art, and color photos of players in action. The target audience is hard to define, as readers are expected to know already about steroids, racism, the Dead Ball era, and the significance of an asterisk on a record such as the number of home runs in a season or career. Bafflingly, though, they’re assumed not to know what a “check swing” (sic) is, nor how to practice batting and catching alone at home. Still, along with major league team-by-team “Tidbits” and instructions for keeping score, there are instructions for shelling sunflower seeds with one’s teeth (the last demonstrated by a girl with brown skin and black braids). Likewise, a section pairing stars of the past and present offers intriguing comparisons; souvenir-ball and autograph seekers will find sensible advice; and hot-dog lovers will slaver over lovingly detailed descriptions of the toppings on, for instance, the classic “Dodger Dog” or the “Cracker Jack and Mac Dog” available at Pirates games.
Immersive, though the pitch is definitely at browsing dippers and flippers. (Nonfiction. 10-13)