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The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!

by Lee Gutkind
A fascinating and revealing look inside the lives of umpires, from the godfather of creative nonfiction
In 1974, Lee Gutkind walked into Shea Stadium, then home of the New York Mets, with an unusual proposal. He wanted to chronicle one of the least celebrated cadres in professional baseball: the umpires. Gutkind spent one exhilarating season traveling with the officiating crew he found that day—Doug Harvey, Nick Colosi, Harry Wendelstedt, and Art Williams, the first African American umpire in National League history. Gutkind’s narrative reveals much about the peculiarities of the men charged with the “thankless and impossible task of invoking order”—their work ethic, fallibility, and perhaps most strikingly, their pride.
As resonant today as when it was first published, The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand! is an engrossing story of the men who work on one of the nation’s biggest stages, their victories and their failures, and their inner worlds that are rarely—if ever—explored.

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