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Sports / Recreation

Away Game

Away Game

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Searching for soccer's next superstars, an audacious program called Football Dreams held tryouts for millions of 13-year-old boys across Africa. In The Away Game, Sebastian Abbot follows several of the boys as they chase their dreams in a dizzying world of rich Arab sheikhs, money-hungry agents, and soccer-mad European fans.

Away Game

Away Game

$26.95
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Over the past decade, an audacious program called Football Dreams has held tryouts for millions of 13-year-old boys across Africa looking for soccer's next superstars. Led by the Spanish scout who helped launch Lionel Messi's career at Barcelona and funded by the desert kingdom of Qatar, the program has chosen a handful of boys each year to train to become professionals--a process over a thousand times more selective than getting into Harvard.

In The Away Game, reporter Sebastian Abbot follows a small group of the boys as they are discovered on dirt fields across Africa, join the glittering academy in Doha where they train, and compete for the chance to gain fame and fortune at Europe's top clubs. We meet Diawandou, a skilled Senegalese defender whose composure makes him a natural leader on the field; Hamza, a midfielder from Ghana with great talent but a mercurial personality to match; Ibrahima, a towering striker who scores goals by the bucketload; Serigne Mbaye, who glides by players effortlessly but happens to be deaf; and Bernard, often the smallest kid on the field but a sublime playmaker who invites constant comparison to Messi.

Abbot masterfully weaves together the dramatic story of the boys' journey with an exploration of the art and science of trying to spot talent at such a young age. As in so many other sports, data analytics in soccer have expanded in the wake of Moneyball, with scouts employing more sophisticated metrics like expected goals and tracking data to judge players. But, as The Away Game chronicles, soccer genius depends more on intangible qualities like game intelligence than on easily quantifiable ones.

Richly reported and deeply moving, The Away Game is set against the geopolitical backdrop of Qatar's rise from an impoverished patch of desert to an immensely rich nation determined to buy a place on the international stage. It is an unforgettable story of the joy and pain these talented African boys experience as they chase their dreams in a dizzying world of rich Arab sheikhs, money-hungry agents, and soccer-mad European fans.

Babe Ruth's Called Shot

Babe Ruth's Called Shot

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The anticipation of another showdown with the Bambino transformed Wrigley Field. Temporary bleachers held the overflow of the 50,000-strong crowd that bright September day. Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the Cubs and Yankees stood locked at 4-4. An angry mob, rocking the ballpark with pent-up fury, aimed itself squarely at him. He had never experienced anything like it. But above the almost deafening noise, the slugger could hear the tide of barbs pouring at him from the Cubs' dugout. They called him a busher, a fat slob, and other names not fit to print at the time. He took the first pitch for a strike, stepped out of the box, and collected himself. Cubs pitcher Charlie Root threw two balls, and Ruth watched a fastball cut the corner to set the count at 2 and 2. On the on-deck circle, Lou Gehrig heard Ruth call out to Root: "I'm going to knock the next one down your goddamn throat." Ruth took a deep breath, raised his arm, and held out two fingers toward centerfield. As Root wound up, the crowd roared in expectation. It was a change-up curve, low and away, but it came in flat and without bite. The ball compressed on impact with Ruth's bat and began its long journey into history, whizzing past the centerfield flag pole. No one had ever gone that far at Wrigley--not even Cubs hitter Hack Wilson. Estimates put its distance at nearly 500 feet. Ruth practically sprinted around the bases. Video cameras of the day raced to catch up with him, his teammates cracking that they hadn't seen him run that fast in a long time. Then he flashed four fingers at the Cubs infielders and their dugout: The series was going to be over in four games. In that moment, the legend of the Called Shot was born, but the debate over what Ruth had actually done on the afternoon of October 1, 1932, had just begun.
Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

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I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can. -- Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth is without a doubt the most famous character ever produced by the sport of baseball. A legendary player, world-famous for his hitting prowess, he transcended the sport to enter the mainstream of American life as an authentic folk hero.
In this extraordinary biography, noted sportswriter Robert W. Creamer reveals the complex man behind the sports legend. From Ruth's early days in a Baltimore orphanage, to the glory days with the Yankees, to his later years, Creamer has drawn a classic portrait of an American original.

Back from the Dead

Back from the Dead

$27.00
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This inspiring memoir from sports and cultural icon Bill Walton recounts his devastating injuries and amazing recoveries, set in the context of his UCLA triumphs under John Wooden, his storied NBA career, and his affinity for music and the Grateful Dead.

In February 2008, Bill Walton suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse--the culmination of a lifetime of injuries--that left him unable to move. He spent three years on the floor of his house, eating his meals there and crawling to the bathroom, where he could barely hoist himself up onto the toilet. The excruciating pain and slow recovery tested Walton to the fullest. But with extraordinary patience, fortitude, determination, and sacrifice--and pioneering surgery--he recovered, and now shares his life story in this remarkable and unique memoir.

Walton grew up in San Diego in the 1950s and 1960s and was deeply influenced by the political and cultural upheavals of that period. Although he strongly identified with the cool people, particularly in music and politics, his greatest role model outside his family was super-straight UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, a thoughtful, rigorous mentor who seemed immune to the turmoil of the times. Although there was always tension and conflict between them, the two men would speak nearly every day for forty-three years, until Wooden's death at age ninety-nine.

Despite a lifelong stuttering affliction, Walton chose a career in broadcasting after his playing days ended. He eventually won an Emmy Award and other accolades for broadcasting and was recognized as a leading media pundit.

John Wooden once said that no greatness ever came without sacrifice. Nothing better illustrates this saying than the real story of Walton's life. In his own words, Back from the Dead shares this dramatic story, including his basketball and broadcasting careers, his many setbacks and rebounds, and his ultimate triumph as the toughest of champions.

Backstop: History of the Catcher and Sabermetric Ranking of 50 All-Time Greats

Backstop: History of the Catcher and Sabermetric Ranking of 50 All-Time Greats

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It's often said that catcher is the most important, most demanding defensive position in baseball. This view explains why so many light-hitting catchers have enjoyed long--and by all accounts successful--major league careers. Yet arguments over the all-time greats invariably privilege offensive standouts, and even among these players batting statistics are more likely than fielding numbers to affect ranking. So what, historically, have been the expectations for major league catchers, and who stands as the greatest in a more balanced view of offensive and defensive contributions? In Part I of this book, the history of catching and catchers is discussed in detail, with attention to the most celebrated players of each era. In Part II, the author employs sabermetric formulas to rank the 50 greatest catchers since 1920, when changes to the rules, the parks, and the ball dramatically changed the way baseball was played. Also included is a chapter on catchers of the 19th century, deadball era, and Negro Leagues, whose career statistics are either incomplete, inaccurate, or produced under markedly different playing conditions and rules.
Ball

Ball

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Anthropologist John Fox sets off on a worldwide adventure to thefarthest reaches of the globe and the deepest recesses of our ancientpast to answer a question inspired by his sports-loving son:

Why do we play ball?

From Mexican jungles to the small-town gridirons of Ohio, frommedieval villages and royal courts to modern soccer pitches andbaseball parks, The Ball explores the little-known origins ofour favorite sports across the centuries, and traces how a simpleinvention like the ball has come to stake an unrivaled claim on ourpassions, our money, and our lives. Equal parts history and travelogue, The Ball removes us from the scandals and commercialism of today'ssports world to uncover the true reasons we play ball, helping us reclaimour universal connection to the games we love.

Ball Four

Ball Four

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50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
New York Public Library Book of the Century Selection
Time Magazine "100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books" Selection
New Foreword from Jim Bouton's Wife, Paula Bouton

When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it hit the sports world like a lightning bolt. Commissioners, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and social leper. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Following his death, Bouton's landmark book has remained popular, and his legacy lives on through its many readers, including those who don't ordinarily follow baseball.

The 50th Anniversary of his historic book includes a touching and personal new forward by his wife, Paula Bouton.

Ball Four

Ball Four

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Twentieth-anniversary edition of a baseball classic, with a new epilogue by Jim Bouton.

When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don't ordinarily follow baseball.

Ball Four: The Final Pitch

Ball Four: The Final Pitch

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Ball Four is a baseball classic, a number one bestseller when it was published; it still is in demand throughout the U.S. Now in a new updated hardcover edition, Ball Four will reach a whole new generation of avid baseball fans. In fact, Ball Four has been selected by the NY Public Library as one of the Books of the Century. And David Halberstam writes: a book deep in the American Vein, so deep in fact that is by no means a sports book. Bouton has written a baseball book about the reality of the game. Thirty years after its publication, it remains as wonderful to read as ever.

Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer

Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer

$25.00
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The definitive book about soccer, from the author of The Games: A Global History of the Olympics.

There may be no cultural practice more global than soccer. Rites of birth and marriage are infinitely diverse, but the rules of soccer are universal. No world religion can match its geographical scope. The single greatest simultaneous human collective experience is the World Cup final.

In this extraordinary tour de force, David Goldblatt tells the full story of soccer's rise from chaotic folk ritual to the world's most popular sport-now poised to fully establish itself in the USA. Already celebrated internationally, The Ball Is Round illuminates soccer's role in the political and social histories of modern societies, but never loses sight of the beauty, joy, and excitement of the game itself.

Ball Parks

Ball Parks

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A lavishly illustrated production including two-page photo spreads of all of the 30 current major-league parks and the 3 new parks opening in 2004. Also contains photos and information on 16 old parks, many of which no longer exist. Complete histories and fascinating anecdotes about each park are also included. A perfect gift for any baseball lover, for any season!
Ballpark

Ballpark

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An exhilarating, splendidly illustrated, entirely new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks where the game was and is staged, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic.

From the earliest corrals of the mid-1800s (Union Grounds in Brooklyn was a saloon in the open air), to the much mourned parks of the early 1900s (Detroit's Tiger Stadium, Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans), to the stadiums we fill today, Paul Goldberger makes clear the inextricable bond between the American city and America's favorite pastime. In the changing locations and architecture of our ballparks, Goldberger reveals the manifestations of a changing society: the earliest ballparks evoked the Victorian age in their accommodations--bleachers for the riffraff, grandstands for the middle-class; the concrete donuts of the 1950s and '60s made plain television's grip on the public's attention; and more recent ballparks, like Baltimore's Camden Yards, signal a new way forward for stadium design and for baseball's role in urban development. Throughout, Goldberger shows us the way in which baseball's history is concurrent with our cultural history: the rise of urban parks and public transportation; the development of new building materials and engineering and design skills. And how the site details and the requirements of the game--the diamond, the outfields, the walls, the grandstands--shaped our most beloved ballparks.

A fascinating, exuberant ode to the Edens at the heart of our cities--where dreams are as limitless as the outfields.

Ballparks Then and Now

Ballparks Then and Now

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Ballparks Then and Now is a fascinating exploration of ballparks across America. Packed with archival and modern photography, this book documents the development of America's national pastime by looking at the fields of dreams on which it is played.

The ballpark experience has changed dramatically from baseball's early days on grassy lots with wooden grandstands and free admission. The Union Grounds in Brooklyn, New York, is considered by many to be the first ballpark ever built, when William Cammeyer converted the Union Skating Pond in 1862.

Ballparks Then and Now traces the evolution of stadiums used by all the MLB teams today. Organized alphabetically they range from Anaheim and Atlanta to Toronto and Washington. Ballparks grew in size and grandeur from wooden bleachers and stands that often perished in ferocious fires (Boston, Cincinnati) to the concrete cookie-cutter ballparks of the 1960s and 1970s (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh). These multi-sport stadiums have now been replaced by modern retro designs (Yankees, Mets) that give each park its own unique feel. Batting far into the 9th are the carefully updated historic ballparks (Redsox, Cubs) nested in the heart of their communities.

Ballparks Then and Now

Ballparks Then and Now

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See how much America's favorite pastime has changed -- and how much it's stayed the same -- in Ballparks Then and Now. Crammed with history and facts, this unique city-by-city tour of America's hallowed playing fields pairs archival images with modern photos of baseball's beloved landmarks like Union Grounds, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and the Negro League's Greenlee Field. Witness the ballpark renaissance of the 1990s and the dawning of multimillion-dollar corporate naming rights. With comprehensive data about each park (opening date, capacity, great moments), Ballparks Then and Now is the perfect keepsake for fans to enjoy whether they're sitting in the bleachers or a luxury box.
Ballparks Then and Now

Ballparks Then and Now

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Baseball has changed dramatically since its early days. Today, the average ticket costs upwards of $20 and fans can feast on sushi from their luxurious air-conditioned seats. See how much America's favorite pastime has changed, and how much it's stayed the same in Ballparks Then & Now.
  • Crammed with history and facts, this unique city-by-city tour of America's hallowed playing fields pairs archival images with modern photos of baseball's beloved landmarks like Union Grounds, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and the Negro League's Greenlee Field.
  • Includes all of the excitement of the 2006 season, including the winners of the 2006 World Series and all of the changes to ballparks around the U.S.
  • Celebrate glorious wooden palaces like Boston's Grand Pavilion and Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, constructed after baseball went professional in 1871.
  • Witness the ballpark renaissance of the 1990's and the dawning of multi-million dollar corporate naming rights.
  • With comprehensive data about each park (opening date, capacity, great moments), this new compact edition of best-selling Ballparks Then and Now is the perfect take-along size for fans to enjoy whether they're sitting in the bleachers or luxury box.
  • Ballparks: A Journey Through the Fields of the Past, Present, and Future

    Ballparks: A Journey Through the Fields of the Past, Present, and Future

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    If you love baseball and the venerable stadiums its played in, you need this definitive history and guide to Major League ballparks of the past, present, and future.

    With a tear-out checklist to mark ballparks you've visited and those on your bucket list, Ballparks takes you inside the intriguing histories of every park in the Major Leagues, with hundreds of photos, stories, and stats about:

  • Storied parks like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Dodger Stadium
  • Fan favorites AT&T Park, Camden Yards, PNC Park, Safeco Field, and so much more
  • Forgotten treasures like Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, and all five parks of the Detroit Tigers
  • New stadiums like the Atlanta Braves' SunTrust Park, the Minneapolis Twins' Target Field, and New York's Yankee Stadium and Citifield
  • More than 40 other major league parks that tell the story of the national pastime through the lens of the fields the players call home
  • No baseball fan's collection is complete without this up-to-date tome.

    Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story

    Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story

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    This up-to-minute book follows the story of Barbaro, the Triple Crown contender whose unlikely fight back from almost certain death from a shattered leg and ensuing complications captured the hearts of a nation who responded with a stunning display of love.

    In 132 years of derby races, only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 1978. Barbaro was a favorite to be the twelfth until May 20, 2006, at the Preakness Stakes, when his jockey, Edgar Prado pulled him up a couple of hundred yards from the starting gate. Subsequent examination revealed that he had virtually exploded bones in his right rear leg so badly that under normal conditions he would have been euthanized right on the track. But his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, chose another path, one filled with anxiety and tears--but also courageous determination to save his life.

    This touching, soaring book--filled with insights from Barbaro's trainers, breeders, caretakers, and owners--follows Barbaro from foal to colt to champion to perfect patient. But In the end it is not just a story of a down-but-not-out champion, but of human beings at their very best.