Cheater’s Guide reviewed in the New York Times
Jim Bouton, of Ball Four fame, reviews the Cheater’s Guide to Baseball. It’s kind of a good review, and it’s also not really a review of the book, which he wants to get off his lawn. The whole thing’s a little baffling.
Like in the Billy Martin chapter, because Martin said that he’d play Hitler and Hirohito, I put together a baseball team of the worst people in history.
Why he has Mussolini on the mound, as opposed to Genghis Khan (SS), say, or Pol Pot (C), may be a good subject for blogging, another hobby of Zumstegâ€™s.
Zing! Blogging = not serious. Also, I did discuss how I assigned player/positions later, but whatever. Or the betting games, or… anyway.
Not only do you get the complete history of â€” and instructions for â€” bat corking, you get a step-by-step recipe for how to tamper with an aluminum bat: (1) Buy an industrial aluminum forge plant. (2) Hire new workers, as needed. (3) Retool plant. (4) Take existing bat to plant. (5) Melt bat down. Etc.
By this time you realize the book is less an examination of cheating and more a glimpse into the mind of a particular kind of sports addict. The kind who, when heâ€™s not at a ballgame with his buddies, sits in front of the TV with the remote, checking the scores to see how much money heâ€™s won or lost.
And I’m not sure why it’s so personal – I’ve met Bouton briefly at one of his Seattle book events, and he seemed like a good guy. I don’t remember ever slashing his tires.
In any event, if you’ve read it, you can speak as well about the difference between book-as-reviewed and the actual book as I can.
It’s really a huge thing to get reviewed – it means that the editors saw the book as good and interesting enough to assign, even if it didn’t get to someone who would have got the jokes, or seen past the jokes to the interesting serious content.