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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

20/06/2016

Baseball is the perfect summer sport.   The pace of the sport lends itself to relaxed summer afternoons at the ballpark.  In the spirit of the season, here are a few of my favorite baseball movies and books. 

R.A. Dickey is one of the most fascinating players in Major League Baseball.  One start, he can pitch a near no-hitter and then the next, give up five home runs.  Not surprising considering he is one of the few pitchers to primarily use the knuckleball. This slow-moving pitch, when done well, is almost impossible to hit.   If not thrown properly, it is a recipe for a home-run.

Dickey chronicles his successes and failures in the book, Wherever I Wind Up.  Prior to learning the knuckleball pitch, Dickey’s career was marked by more valleys than peaks.   He tells a few hilarious and touching stories of surviving in the minor leagues.  Upon embracing his role as a knuckleball pitcher,  Dickey’s career started to improve earning himself a Cy Young (award for best pitcher) in 2012.

 The book is much more than just a baseball biography in that Dickey shares the burden a life in baseball has placed on his family with constant travel and instability.  He is also not afraid to talk about his own weaknesses and fears.  Dickey’s biography will appeal to baseball fans and non-fans alike who just love a good human-interest story.

Of course, you can check out Where I Wind Up from the Ottawa Public Library in a variety of formats. 

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/682613026_wherever_i_wind_up

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/735198026_wherever_i_wind_up

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/766693026_wherever_i_wind_up

A nice companion piece to Dickey’s book is the documentary film, Knuckleball! The film follows knuckleball pitchers Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey during the 2011 season.  The viewer quickly learns there is a sense of fraternity amongst knuckleball pitchers as they are very few in number.  Dickey and Wakefield share the mechanics of the pitch but also reveal their personal stories making the documentary interesting for everyone. 

You can either borrow the DVD here

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/712836026_knuckleball

or stream the documentary here.

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/712836026_knuckleball

My last recommendation is the excellent 2013 film, 42 The Jackie Robinson Story.  In 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in the major leagues.  Up until that point, players were segregated to different leagues based on their skin color.  The film shows the systemic racism of the time and Robinson’s commitment to non-violence.   Robinson’s groundbreaking role in baseball also helped to contribute to the larger civil rights movement in the United States.

You can borrow the DVD here. 

https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/727690026_42?active_tab=bib_info

 

These are just a few of my recommendations.  The Ottawa Public Library has many other titles centered around baseball.  Of course, the best way to enjoy baseball is to attend a game.  We are fortunate to have a professional baseball team in Ottawa.   The Ottawa Champions play in the Can-Am League.  For more information, check out their website www.ottawachampions.com.

See you at the ballpark!