A lively, enlightening trip through the baseball rule book.
The baseball rule book is a complicated tome. Even professional umpires often struggle with its minutia, and it seems that on a weekly basis, a controversy over one of the sport’s more arcane rules emerges in the context of a major league baseball game. Meltzer (The Thinker's Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words, 2005, etc.) takes readers on an almost page-by-page journey through the Official Rules of Baseball in a book that will have as its most likely audience serious fans of the national pastime. The author uses a quiz-style format, asking questions about rules based on real-life examples from games and then providing answers and further examples. Oftentimes, the answers create more questions, which Meltzer ably addresses. In effect, he shows that the rules of baseball represent a living, human document. The author addresses not only the rules on the field, which are the domain of the umpires, but also those that govern the scoring of the game. The official scorer in any given contest is responsible for determining the official record of the game; that person’s job is as challenging as that of the umpires. Meltzer writes clearly and chooses his examples well. Most readers will dip into the book occasionally rather than reading it straight through, and many fans will want to keep their dog-eared copy nearby as they watch games.
Baseball fans care deeply about tradition, records and history. This book will help them grasp why the rules are so central to the game’s past, present and future.