I must confess, when originally offered the opportunity to read an advance copy of Bottom Of The Thirty Third, I had some misgivings. I am a baseball fan for sure, but even a baseball fan can get itchy now and then when a low scoring game heads into the 10th, 11th, then 12th inning, and neither team seems to want the win. "33 innings," I thought, that's a lot of low scoring innings to profile. But then I paused. "Unless..." I began to think. Unless there was a particular variety of baseball magic in the air that evening. Unless the author somehow manages to capture the grace and humanity inherent to the game of baseball. Unless the untainted nitty gritty dignity of the minor leagues, and a love of the game that may or may not get a given player a shot at the major leagues, unless that comes shining through. Unless the few die hard fans freezing cold in the Easter morning chill, the scorekeeper, the announcers no one has ever heard of- unless they have a story to tell as well. Author Dan Barry has given us all that and more. A portrait of an endless game for the ages, a cross roads of humanity- some bound for glory (Boggs, Ripken and more), others obscurity- and a cross roads of American civilization played out in the former mill town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. On the one hand, it is a simple formula- take us through a few snippets of the game, then offer background profiles of the city or a given player or fan or coach, each in turn. Yet the simplicity is deceiving- this is the stuff that Pulitzers are made of. A warm, insightful revelation of a particular and memorable slice of Americana. — Jon Fine
“Bottom of the 33rd is chaw-chewing, sunflower-spitting, pine tar proof that too much baseball is never enough.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax
“What a book—an exquisite exercise in story-telling, democracy and myth-making.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let The Great World Spin
From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry comes the beautifully recounted story of the longest game in baseball history—a tale celebrating not only the robust intensity of baseball, but the aspirational ideal epitomized by the hard-fighting players of the minor leagues. In the tradition of Moneyball, The Last Hero, and Wicked Good Year, Barry’s Bottom of the 33rd is a reaffirming story of the American Dream finding its greatest expression in timeless contests of the Great American Pastime.
Dan Barry is a reporter and columnist for the New York Times. In 1994 he was part of an investigative team at the Providence Journal that won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on Rhode Island’s justice system. He is the author of a memoir, a collection of his About New York columns, and Bottom of the 33rd, for which he won the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Maplewood, New Jersey.