Ebook review: Loonies in the Dugout by Terry Nelson

Today’s Ebook is another one outside of my ‘comfort zone’. What do I know about baseball? Nothing is the answer. Does that really matter for this reading experience? No, not really. There is a strong baseball theme throughout this story but that is not the point. The point is to follow the lives of a few characters over the course of a year as they attempt to determine how to live their lives.

Publication date: Aug 8, 2013
About the author: “A loony writer viewing the looniess of the human race…Besides loving movies, I also love baseball, so I began a Seattle Mariners blog, http://ballsandstrikes.mlblogs.com/, the writing of which I find more enjoyable than writing film reviews, though watching movies is frequently more entertaining than watching the Mariners.”
From the dust cover: “How does a man, possibly a bit crazy, maybe just a country hick, but certainly loony, end up a star on vaudeville in 1911 while with the New York Giants?

That is what baseball fans and historians have been wondering.

Loonies in the Dugout takes a fictional look at what happened through the eyes of rookie Chet Koski who is not doing well on the field, or off the field, as he courts chorus girl, Eveleen Sullivan. He wonders about the nature of luck, coincidence, God, and the female loon.

Chet witnesses the pranks, jokes, and teasing the unsuspecting Charlie undergoes during a time when political correctness did not exist.

Chet will become friends with Bat Masterson, George M. Cohan, and Damon Runyon as he tries to sort out his life and make sure Charlie has his apple pie.

The book is baseball fiction, but also a satirical look at fame and celebrity.”

My Ebook review: the story follows the Giants through a season of baseball as a backdrop; in the foreground we follow the main characters Charlie and Chet. We see the world through the eyes of Chet. Charlie is a hapless character who is strung along, teased and generally used as a stooge. His addiction to apple pie is a recurring theme throughout the Ebook. Chet is, himself, a bit part player in the team and is rightly placed just above the bat-boy in the ranking system.
Essentially, this is the story of young people with a lot of time on their hands and few, if any, responsibilities. Based in the great metropolis, they clearly have a large number of opportunities to find diversions and this is what they do. This is part slapstick, part satire and a little bit of inspection of fame and the exploits of sports stars, and the vagaries of sports writers.
Like any sport themed book, there is a plot that is captivating to sports lovers. For some reason we simply have to know what happens next; we need to know that they win in the end, or that they go down in “Cool Runnings” glory. Beyond this there are some interesting characters and some farcical situations. I enjoyed the silliness and I learned quite a lot about baseball. It does not need to be taken too seriously and if read in that spirit is an amusing diversion.

A sequel has also been published.

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