THROWBACK by Lee Judge


A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played
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With the help of veteran sports journalist Judge, former major league baseball All-Star catcher Kendall presents an in-depth guide to what really goes on during a professional baseball game.

The sport of baseball, “America’s Pastime” though it may be, is often knocked as a boring, slow-moving game, even by some of its fans. Kendall, who spent 15 years behind the plate in the big leagues, attempts to dispel that notion by pointing out how many different things are really happening, even when the untrained eye sees 10 players standing still. Ever wonder what’s really being talked about when players and coaches meet on the pitcher’s mound? Or between the batter, catcher and umpire? What about all those mysterious hand signals? Kendall explains all of this and more, with sections devoted to each position on the field and detailed explanations of the many calculations a player must make in any of the thousands of situations in which he may find himself during the course of nine innings. The signals get their own appendix, and the author also includes a glossary of terms. As the title implies, the author considers himself an adherent to “old-school” baseball, praising those players who work to be the best and disdainfully pointing out when something is done just to look cool—e.g., a catcher removing his mask not to help him see the ball but to give the TV cameras a clear shot of his face. Despite his seriousness about the game, Kendall is not without a sense of humor, illuminating his examples with anecdotes from his long career, told in a straightforward, no-nonsense voice that feels authentic.

A valuable education for baseball fans looking to increase their knowledge of and appreciation for the sport.

Pub Date: May 13th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-03183-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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