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Spring Training


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About the Author

William Zinsser started his career with the New York Herald Tribune and has been a freelance writer since 1959. A teacher and former general editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club, he is the author of sixteen books, including the classic On Writing Well.


This light, amiable look at the spring training camp of the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., in 1988, captures the spirit of this annual American renewal. Zinsser ( On Writing Well ) is impressed by general manager Syd Thrift, who undertook to rebuild the team but was fired after the season ended. He also looks with sympathy at manager Jim Leyland, consultant Bill Virdon, former manager and nonagenarian Hall-of-Famer Edd Roush, among others. But the book is primarily a view of the spring training phenomenon, of the smaller, more intimate playing field, of the senior citizen spectators and even the umpires who, like the players, head south to hone their skills. Baseball fans will find pleasant reading here. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)

A song of baseball's sweetest season. - Boston Globe; ""Will take you to the endangered soul of baseball."" - George Vecsey, New York Times; ""Written with the same grace and intelligence Willie Mays brought to the game."" - Booklist

Zinsser artfully shares the discoveries he made from immersing himself in last spring's Pittsburgh Pirates' training camp in Bradenton, Florida. What he notices most is the camp's instructional qualities--how the youthful Pirates' organization sees the preseason as a classroom, a place for experimenting and drill work. Profiles of players, scouts, umpires, and a renegade general manager are lively and fascinating. Zinsser's own craft, especially his moving interview with elderly Hall of Famer Edd Roush, contributes to the power of the book. With few exceptions, Zinsser observes that baseball spring training in Florida is a ritualistic, joyful experience. Highly recommended for all readers.-- Thomas J. Reigstad, SUNY Coll., Buffalo

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