View your shopping cart.

Banner Message

Please note that online availability does not reflect stock in store!

Please contact us via email or phone for immediate stock information.

Sports / Recreation

As They See 'em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires

As They See 'em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires

$26.00
More Info
Millions of American baseball fans know, with absolute certainty, that umpires are simply overpaid galoots who are doing an easy job badly. Millions of American baseball fans are wrong.

"As They See 'Em" is an insider's look at the largely unknown world of professional umpires, the small group of men (and the very occasional woman) who make sure America's favorite pastime is conducted in a manner that is clean, crisp, and true. Bruce Weber, a "New York Times" reporter, not only interviewed dozens of professional umpires but entered their world, trained to become an umpire, and then spent a season working games from Little League to big league spring training.

"As They See 'Em" is Weber's entertaining account of this experience as well as a lively exploration of what amounts to an eccentric secret society, with its own customs, its own rituals, its own colorful vocabulary. (Know what a "whacker" is? A "pole bender"? "Rat cheese"? Think you could "strap it on" or "take the stick"?) He explains the arcane set of rules by which umps work and details the exasperating, tortuous path that allows only a select few to graduate from the minor leagues to the majors. He describes what it's like to work in a ballpark where not only the fans but the players, the managers and coaches, the announcers, the team owners, and even the league presidents, resent them -- and vice versa. And he asks, quite sensibly, why anyone would do a job that offers the chance to earn only blame and never credit.

Weber reveals how umps are tutored to work behind the plate, what they learn to watch for on the bases, and how proper positioning for every imaginable situation on the field is drilled into them. He describes how they're counseled to respond -- or not -- to managers who are screaming at them from inches away with purposeful inanity, and tells us exactly which "magic" words result in an automatic ejection. Writing with deep knowledge of and affection for baseball, he delves into such questions as: Why isn't every strike created equal? Is the ump part of the game or outside of it? Why doesn't a tie go to the runner? And what do umps and managers say to each other during an argument, really?

In addition to professional umpires, Weber spoke to current and former players including Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Tom Glavine, Barry Zito, Paul Lo Duca, Kenny Lofton, Ron Darling, and Robin Yount, as well as former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, and many others in the professional game. He attended the 2006 and 2007 World Series, interviewing the umpire crews who called those games and who spoke candidly about the pressure of being scrutinized by millions -- maybe billions! -- of fans around the world, all of them armed with television's slo-mo, hi-def instant replay. As fans know, in 2008, a rash of miscalled home run balls led baseball, for the first time, to use replay to help big league umps make their decisions.Weber discusses these events and the umpires' surprising reaction to them.

Packed with fascinating reportage that reveals the game as never before and answers the kinds of questions that fans, exasperated by the cliches of conventional sports commentary, pose to themselves around the television set, Bruce Weber's "As They See 'Em" is a towering grand slam.

Ashley Book of Knots: Every Practical Knot--What It Looks Like, Who Uses It, Where It Comes From, and How to Tie It

Ashley Book of Knots: Every Practical Knot--What It Looks Like, Who Uses It, Where It Comes From, and How to Tie It

$85.00
More Info
The definitive book on knots--including approximately 3,900 different kinds of knots, from simple hitches to "Marlingspike Seamanship, this book and a piece of cord will open a new and challenging world of practical adventure to readers of all ages.

The Ashley Book of Knots includes almost everything there is to know about knots, each precisely named and classified (with some new knots officially listed for the first time in the original 1944 publication). Mr. Ashley describes when each knot initially appeared, something about their history, and what each knot is best used for.

Including an easy-to-use index of knots, Mr. Ashley gives explicit directions on how to tie each knot. Devoting eleven years to writing his masterpiece, he describes each step simply and clearly and penned some 7,000 illustrative drawings alongside the text. This classic resource is based on forty years of looking for, trying out, and thinking up new knots. Mr. Ashley's drawings abound in humor and the text is full of colorful anecdotes. The Ashley Book of Knots will make a unique and permanent addition to any library.

Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives

Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives

$16.99
More Info
Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program -- poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America -- managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country -- a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground. It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.

At Home with Muhammad Ali

$18.99
More Info
Audacity of Hoop

Audacity of Hoop

$40.00
More Info

While basketball didn't take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did. In The Audacity of Hoop, celebrated sportswriter Alexander Wolff examines Barack Obama, the person and president, by the light of basketball. This game helped Obama explore his identity, keep a cool head, impress his future wife, and define himself as a candidate.

Wolff chronicles Obama's love of the game from age 10, on the campaign trail--where it eventually took on talismanic meaning--and throughout his two terms in office. More than 125 photographs illustrate Obama dribbling, shooting free throws, playing pickup games, cooling off with George Clooney, challenging his special assistant Reggie Love for a rebound, and taking basketball to political meetings. There is also an assessment of Obama's influence on the NBA, including a dawning political consciousness in the league's locker rooms.

Sidebars reveal the evolution of the president's playing style, "Baracketology"--a not-entirely-scientific art of filling out the commander in chief's NCAA tournament bracket--and a timeline charts Obama's personal and professional highlights.

Equal parts biographical sketch, political narrative, and cultural history, The Audacity of Hoop shows how the game became a touchstone in Obama's exercise of the power of the presidency.

Away Game

Away Game

$16.95
More Info

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
More Info

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

$25.95
More Info
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

$15.00
More Info
"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
More Info
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.

Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season

Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season

$19.00
More Info
#1 New York Times bestselling author John Feinstein returns to his first love--college basketball--with a fascinating and compelling journey through a landscape of unsung, unpublicized and often unknown heroes of Division-1 college hoops.

John Feinstein pulls back the curtain on college basketball's lesser-known Cinderella stories--the smaller programs who no one expects to win, who have no chance of attracting the most coveted high school recruits. To tell this story, Feinstein follows a handful of players, coaches, and schools who dream, not of winning the NCAA tournament, but of making it past their first or second round games. Every once in a while, one of these coaches or players is plucked from obscurity to lead a major team or to play professionally, cementing their status in these fiercely passionate fan bases as a legend. These are the gifted players who aren't handled with kid gloves--they're hardworking, gritty teammates who practice and party with everyone else.

With his trademark humor and invaluable connections, John Feinstein reveals the big time programs you've never heard of, the bracket busters you didn't expect to cheer for, and the coaches who inspire them to take their teams to the next level.

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

$29.95
More Info
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.
Backyard Adventurer: International Edition

Backyard Adventurer: International Edition

$19.99
More Info

After years of adventuring around the globe - running, kayaking, hitchhiking, exploring - Beau Miles came back to his block in country Victoria. Staying put for the first time in years, Beau developed a new kind of lifestyle as the Backyard Adventurer. Whether it was walking 90km to work with no provisions, building a canoe paddle out of scavenged scrap or running a disused railway line through properties, blackberry thickets and past inquiring police officers, Beau has been finding ways to satisfy his adventurous spirit close to home.

This book is about conscious experimentation with adventure, making meaning and inspiration out of tins of beans, bits of rubbish and elbow grease. Beau's Backyard exploits are funny, authentic, insightful and being copied all over the world by everyday people.

YouTuber, new dad, and self-described oddball who needs to shower more, Beau is what happens when you cross Bear Grylls with Bush Tucker Man. With a PhD in Outdoor Education, a string of successful short films under his belt and a boundless passion for discovery, Beau is the real deal.


(International edition)

Ball

Ball

$14.99
More Info

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

$23.95
More Info
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

$15.95
More Info
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

$24.95
More Info

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 in the Air

Ball in the Air

$19.99
More Info
After a lifetime of writing about the professional sport, Michael Bamberger, "the poet laureate of golf" (GOLF magazine), delivers an exhilarating love letter to the amateur game as it's played--and lived--by the rest of us.

Over Michael Bamberger's celebrated writing career, he has written a handful of books and hundreds of Sports Illustrated stories about professional golf and those who play it--that is, the .001 percent. Now, Bamberger trains his eye on the rest of us. In his most personal book yet, Bamberger takes the lid off a game that is both quasi-religious and a nonstop party, posing an age-old question that is answered over its pages: Why does the game cast such a spell on us?

Here is the story of modern golf that is not on TV. This is our story, we who pay to play, who can't wait to get another crack at the game, even when golf doesn't love us back. And just as every round is an adventure, every life in golf is, too. The golfers Michael Bamberger introduces will leave you inspired and moved. You'll meet Sam Reeves, a golf-loving US Army soldier who becomes captivated by a fellow soldier, Cliff Harrington, a gifted Black golfer who's cruelly robbed of the chance to show the world all he can do. You'll meet Ryan French, who plays on a college golf team out of Animal House. You'll get to know Pratima Sherpa, who grew up in a maintenance shed at the Royal Nepal Golf Club in Kathmandu and took up the game with a stick whittled by her father.

The Ball in the Air is reported with Bamberger's you-are-there intimacy and captures the sweep of time. Pratima finds her way from Nepal to a university golf team in Southern California. Ryan and his father caddie in minor-league events while sleeping in tents, a preamble to Ryan's becoming the godfather of the popular Monday Qualifier Twitter feed. Sam Reeves, born in rural Georgia during the Depression, becomes a cotton king, the oldest amateur to make the cut at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and the ultimate man for all seasons.

And there are Bamberger sightings, too, as he finds his own path in the game. You'll make joyful side trips with the author, who's spent more than forty years exploring golfers and golf, a way of life that captivates him down to his bones. You'll visit the golf course at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and compete with Bamberger and other purists at the National Hickory Championship in rural Pennsylvania. At St. Andrews, you'll get up close and personal with Lee Trevino, one of the few professionals in these pages, because Trevino, when you really get to the core of the man, is one of us. He can't get enough of it.

The Ball in the Air is Bamberger's valentine to golf. The modern world, obsessed with fame and fortune, has infiltrated professional golf--but it hasn't infiltrated golf. Bamberger is here to highlight the distinction and to celebrate the game and all who play it.