Author: Dan Barry
Title: Bottom of the 33rd
Narrator: Dan Barry
Publication Info: [New York] : Harper Audio, 2011.
I’ve long been aware that Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium hosted the longest professional baseball game in history, a 33-inning affair between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. I knew that the game featured two future Hall of Famers, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Barry’s book fills me on a lot that I didn’t know. For example, the game was played well into Easter morning and the weather was so miserably cold that the players burned broken bats in barrels to keep warm. The game was allowed to play so long due to a misprint in the International League rule book that left out the paragraph about curfews. Thus a rather stubborn umpire continued the game until receiving word from the league president at 4:09 am. I also didn’t know that when the game was completed in June of that year, it received international attention boosted by the fact that Major League baseball players were on strike at that time.
Barry tells a compelling story of the game, building tension in the relentless procession of pitches, hits, and outs. He draws on recordings of the Red Wings’ radio broadcast and interviews with players, managers, coaches, media, players’ wives, umpires, spectators, and even the bat boy who were present for the game. If the book were about only the game it would fall apart quickly, but Barry weaves in the lives and careers of many of the participants before and after that game. It makes for a lively bit of sportswriting at it’s best.
Recommended books: The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W. P. Kinsella, Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in America’s Heartland by Stefan Fatsis, and Stolen Season: A Journey Through America and Baseball’s Minor Leagues by David Lamb.
This weeks track is “A Place Called Space” by The Juan Maclean, stage name for electronic musician John Maclean
This song may be have some of the bassiest bass notes I’ve ever heard and is reminiscent of Big Audio Dynamite mixed with 1980s Doctor Who soundtracks, with some klassik rawk guitar riffs on top.
What are you grooving to this week? Let me know in the comments.
- Belchertown, MA
- Bozrah, CT
- Effingham, NH
- Groton, CT
- Hooksett, NH
- Isle au Haut, ME
- Mashpee, MA
- Ogunquit, ME
- Seekonk, MA
- Tewksbury, MA
- Thetford, VT
- Tiverton, RI
- Wethersfield, CT
- Winooski, VT
- Woonsocket, RI
Previously: Words That Are Fun To Say
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Title: The Lowland
Publication Info: Knopf (2013)
Lahiri’s novel, like many of her works, deals with Indian expatriates assimilating to life in the United States and coming to terms with their past in India. The Lowland tells the story of two brothers Subhash and Udayan. While Subash leaves for America to study in Rhode Island, Udayan is drawn to the Maoist Naxalite movement. The Lowland is also about a woman named Gauri who is connected to both brothers.
A big spoiler here, but after Udayan is killed by the police, Subhash marries the pregnant Gauri and takes her to Rhode Island to help her escape living with her oppressive in-laws. The marriage built on expediency cannot sustain and the desires of Subhash and Gauri to pursue their own goals and carry on in their lives with the memory of Udayan drive the conflict of the narrative. It is in many ways a quiet story with a lot of the passions tempered under placid exteriors and one that offers a sympathetic but not nonjudgmental look at each of the characters.
This week’s song “Don’t Wait,” is by Rhode Island-born Stockholm-raised sing Mapei (and who can resist a Rhode Island/Sweden connection). I learned of the song through NPR’s All Song’s Considered. Mapei describes her music as “21st-century gospel or doo-wop.”
Today I took my toddler son Peter on a day trip to Providence, RI. The main appeal of the outing was for Peter to finally get a chance to ride the double-decker commuter rail trains but I’ve been wanting to explore Providence for some time. Despite living a combined 27-years in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts I’ve not given much attention to Rhode Island. I’ve driven through Providence past the giant termite, I went to a basketball camp at Providence College 20 years ago when I was in high school, I’ve been to a couple of Providence Bruins games, and … and that’s about it.
The Providence railroad station is centrally located right next to the Rhode Island State House. For the smallest state, Rhode Island really has an enormous capitol complete with gleaming white marble, neoclassical facades, and a looming hilltop presence. I didn’t have any destination in mind, just wanted to get out and explore. Peter & I strolled through Waterplace Park an attractive urban development of recent vintage which apparently replaced railroad tracks that once covered the river. Then we visited City Hall Park where Peter chased after many, many pigeons.
While I would be content to study the attractive architecture of Providence, Peter wanted a playground and not being able to find one, we made our way to the Providence Children’s Museum. The museum is located in the Jewelery District which actually looked like a district of unoccupied industrial buildings which was a little creepy. The area around the museum was friendly and the museum itself was great – smaller but also less intimidating than the Boston Children’s Museum. On our way back to the railroad station we walked through another part of downtown. It feels someone how more urban than Boston and very different architecturally. I will have to return to explore more when my attention is not so focused on a toddler.