The Cheater's Guide to Baseball

Derek Zumsteg, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (265p) ISBN 978-0-618-55113-2
Baseball blogger Zumsteg (ussmariner.com) argues that cheating-within reason-is not only not a bad thing, it actually makes baseball a more nuanced game. Using a wealth of anecdotal evidence and some statistical analysis, he argues that baseball has evolved hand-in-hand with the aid of its scoundrels, scamps, and shifty characters-and that doctoring the ball or stealing signs necessitates teams, umpires and even fans adopt more complex strategy. Zumsteg draws the line at gambling, game fixing and steroid use, showing little sympathy for the Black Sox and even less for Pete Rose. While baseball aficionados will be familiar with many of Zumsteg's stories, his wit will keep most casual fans entertained. Whether he's describing what might happen in a car crash with Pete Rose (""I admitted that I hit your car ... Can't we stop this witch-hunt and get on with our lives?"") or laying blame for the steroid era on everyone from the commissioner to the fans, Zumsteg dispenses with the sanctimoniousness of most current sports writing. Although his prose style and humor are sometimes better suited to the Web (a few lengthy asides come across as amateurish), Zumsteg still creates a funny, honest look at the history of baseball's black arts.
Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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