Sunday, August 9, 2009

Review:"Take Me Out to the Ballgame"-a combination political, baseball and thriller of a book by Gary Morgenstein

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is a book that combines sports, politics in a page-turning thriller.

If that sounds impossible, read the review then get the book. Because it's a well-written story that you'll not put down until you figure out what Cal is up to.


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Review “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Gary Morgenstein

Amazon Link for this book HERE.

I was contacted by the author to do a review of this book, just for fair and balanced coverage here. I have no problem reviewing books at an author’s request just so long as it is understood that I will always give an honest review, even if a bad one.

This book, as one might ascertain by its title, is about baseball. But one does not have to be a baseball fan or even all that knowledgable about baseball, to enjoy this book. However, the book will be particularly appreciated by baseball fans.

Another caveat here, Morgenstein tends to tell his story via the dialogue of the characters. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I found that it took some concentration to follow the plot line this way. It takes some talent to tell a story this way and my hat’s off to Morgenstein for using this device to move the plot along as well as giving us more insight into the characters than narrative might allow. Morgenstein provides narrative via sports columns written, in italics throughout the book, by one of the characters in the story.

Harry Witowsky is owner of the Buffalo Matadors, a desultory baseball team until a new gang of PR folks move in and change the dynamic. Witowsky oversees the transformation of his very mediocre baseball team and in due course imagines himself running for high political office.

Eddie Olds is a crusty old-time sports writer that finds himself pulled into the transformation of the Matadors way more than he would have liked.

Cal, Mickey and Nino are a couple of average fans only Cal’s a bit more into baseball, particularly his beloved Buffalo Matadors, than might be wise or mentally healthy.

The plot follows the story of a baseball team and its struggles to ascend to victories as well as PR gimmickry that will bring in new fans and revive the existing ones. The Buffalo Matadors’ ascendancy into a player for the championship tends to take on a life of its own. At some point the fans, the sports writer, the owners, and various politicians, aided and abetted by a PR baseball guru with little morals, takes on a nasty turn that is overlooked for the thrill of the win.

One fan named Cal is put on overload by it all until the reader is no longer reading a story of a lackluster baseball team achieving a new glory but is pulled into a page-turning thriller as Cal conspires to do anything to help his team win. Anything. Including murder.

Morgenstein creates these characters with that great dialogue and he leads the reading into the story without guile. While I enjoyed the interplay of the characters, that great dialogue and the political sub-plots of the book, I found the story of a sick and determined Cal to be so compelling that I would wake up in the morning happy that I could read on to find out what happens to Cal and Harry Witowsky for that matter.

This is an entertaining, well-written and page-turner of a book that I highly recommend. Morgenstein would be well served to get this book out in front of baseball fans across the fruited plains because the tale is how it could happen, yes it could.

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