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Monday, November 18, 2013


RULES OF THE GAME—Baseball since its 19th century inception has been called America’s game because it is a metaphor for life in general.  Comparing baseball to life is certainly not original but there’s a new book available that makes baseball stats, rules and situations entertaining, informative and best of all: funny while being accurate.

Baseball umpire Jim Tosches, who has a wonderful command of the essay, has self-published “The Rules Abide,” a thinking fan’s guide to baseball rules, [].

This Boston area transplant, who is professionally umpiring in San Diego, has translated his fascination with the history of the game and the familiar and unfamiliar rules that govern baseball.

Author Jim Tosches
Silly as it sounds this rule book is a love story, a romance rekindled to be shared by millions of fans around the world.   Tosches’s essay style of writing lifts this book from a “trade text” to literature.  [Editor’s note: Big time publishers should grab this book.  It will make the NY Times best seller list with the right marketing].
This umpire’s affection for the game is obvious.  He uses humor to make points about baseball and life without cornball or preaching.  It’s enlightened writing that after reading it will grow your appreciation for the game by knowing how the rules really work.

Even the most ardent fan will read something new from Tosches work (it’s available on and he uses real major league game situations as examples of how certain rules work.   As an example, here is an example of Tosches at his best weaving Major League history and pop culture into the conversation.  Reminiscing about a favorite childhood pitcher, "memories from a shoebox filled with baseball cards," he describes to pitching motion of Cuban right hander Louis Tiant"...

“...Louie’s delivery was downright sublime. Artistic in form, genius in design as he spun and contorted to create a smokescreen of body parts out from which a baseball would appear. He seemed to have some circus-freak ability to rotate his head, torso and hips at different speeds as if they were not all attached to the same spine. Raising hands high above his head, he would turn his back completely to the hitter, bob his head with a look to the heavens and then uncoil with a leg kick worthy of a mixed martial arts KO and a side-arm, over-the-top or anything-in-between release.  If you can imagine the old cartoon character The Tasmanian Devil as a pitcher, then you can imagine Luis Tiant’s form, - like some defense mechanism evolved over eons in the jungle, designed to mesmerize and kill prey...”

Tosches also connects the dots between the machinations of the game and the passion for playing it.  Before detailing the regulations affecting the batter in the box, he teases with the following observation about a scene in "Bull Durham":

“...The scene conveys the heartbreak of a broken dream, the fate of a man named “Crash.” Fictional as the story is, the thought of being a major leaguer is a very real dream for every kid who loves to play baseball. While the balance of a pro career might be teetering on the outcome of so many at-bats over a long season in the minors, amateur baseball is parceled out in short and fleeting seasons. The games are fewer and the at-bats ever more precious, each one an opportunity to do something good for the team, impress a coach, boost one’s self-confidence or perhaps give the gift of parental pride to a mom or dad in the bleachers. If none of those will work, the right thing to do always is to pay it forward and extend the inning so the next guy in line can get his extra chance too. Whatever the outcome, these numbered opportunities command the batter to approach every at-bat as though it were his last because you just never know, it might be. Combined with the pitcher’s equal and opposite obligations and sense of duty, we have a timeless and cardinal confrontation at the game’s core...”

Available thru

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