A baseball player, a fisherman – young man looking for answers.
Perhaps no pursuits stir the passions of dreamers and poets like baseball and
fly fishing. For Nick Grimes, a small town kid with big dreams, these two pastimes and sports are more than pursuits of the soul, they are means to an end. Or so he thinks.
We first see Grimes as a talented pitcher and a cocksure young man with his sights firmly set on a Major League baseball career. With his blazing fastball he uses to zip past hitters, his destiny as a big league ballplayer seems inevitable. He’s barely out of high school when he signs a professional contract to pitch for the Detroit Tigers organization. But when the minor leagues prove to be tougher than what he bargained for, he finds himself out of baseball and learning life’s hard lessons.
Whether fishing for trout in the mountains of Pennsylvania or learning about love, Grimes is a young man chasing happiness, his place in the world. He’s a man who must live life on his own terms, but does he know what he really wants?
Rejecting conventional jobs, Grimes embarks on a different life, that of a fishing guide. But he’ll find happiness to be an elusive creature, and the people he meets along his remarkable life journey will teach him some of its most valuable lessons.
There’s the woman writer with her own dreams, her own ambitions, who captures Grimes’ heart. His father, who gave up his own dreams to remain a factory worker, and a pitching coach who sees something special in Grimes, urge him to take second chances. But perhaps the most unforgettable character is Sir, Jon, a mysterious fly fisherman leading a Thoreau-like existence in the mountains, who offers him life’s most important lesson. His brief encounters with Sir Jon are wake-up calls for the young man, and will provide readers with some of the most unforgettable moments of this remarkable story.
Nick Grimes will learn all about love and sex, death, despair and dashed dreams, but perhaps most of all, hope and rejuvenation.
With echoes of A River Runs Through It and The Rookie, this short novel by Mike Reuther goes beyond the coming-of-age story and will have have readers cheering, perhaps shedding a tear or two. Baseball Dreams, Fishing Magic is the story of a young man chasing the American dream on baseball fields, on trout streams, in bar rooms. More than just another baseball book, it’s a fishing tale, a love story – a romance of the soul.
A baseball player, a fisherman – young man looking for answers.
Usually, recollections of one’s first Major League Baseball game start with: “I remember the grass. It was so green, spread out like a dream across the vast landscape of the ballpark.” Or something like that.
I’ll always remember the lost drunk in the stands at Shea Stadium, the dazed look in his face, and the laughter of people who watched him wander and stumble around. It was an intrusion on the game, a reminder of how cruel, unfeeling people can be. I just wanted to get lost in the game. And I did.
There was Willie Mays, a boyhood hero, at the end of the line, hamming it up for the spectators in center field before the game. Willie was 41, spending the first of his final two seasons of his career with the Mets – more than a year before he’d fall down in center field in that World Series game trying to catch a fly ball. He wouldn’t play this day. Nor would Mets stars Cleon Jones, Rusty Staub and Bud Harrelson. Instead, I saw a junior varsity squad of Teddy Martinez, Dave Marshall, Lute Barnes and Brett Strom, a rookie right-hander forced to face down the might bats of the Big Red Machine – Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose.
Sure, I remember the big crowd at Shea that Saturday afternoon in August and how the Mets lost 5-0. Bench hit a home run. Of course he did. It was 1972, he was perhaps baseball’s most celebrated player that year. He swatted 40 homers in ’72 and went on to grab the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award.
I remember the little things too: The ball rolling through Marshall’s legs in right field, Bench striking out and getting hit by a pitch, Morgan ranging far to his right for a ground ball, Reds third baseman Denis Menke deftly snaring yet another hard-hit groundball, the buzz of the crowd, the colors, the brilliant sunshine of an August day, the long bus ride into New York from central Pennsylvania.
I was fifteen when I saw my first Major League Baseball game.
Only the drug pushers and scoundrels appear to thrive in Centre Town, Pa., home to the Class A baseball team Mets and childhood home of Cozzy Crager, the world-weary protagonist of “Return to Dead City.”
Crager and Centre Town are a perfect fit. Batting booze and his worst nightmares of years spent on the Albuquerque police force, he’s back in this decaying, crime-ridden town for the first time since he was a young man. Crager is barely settled into his gig as a detective when he gets an anonymous call of a murder.
Lance Miller, the Mets’ slugging star with the shadowy past, has been found dead in a downtown hotel. Lance’s time with the team had been brief, his relationship with teammates, lovers and others somewhat vague and mysterious.
And so, Crager begins the task of following leads and ferreting out information, a job that takes him from the back alleys of the city to the halls of academia. Crager works alone and without as much as a stipend. Soon, he wonders why. For he will have his hands full.
In “Return to Dead City,” Crager has come home without feeling exactly at home. For as Crager is to learn,Centre Town is a town where nothing has changed, but everything has changed.
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Homer Newbody lived to play baseball.
A nobody from nowhere given little chance to ever play Major League Baseball, he was taught not only how to pitch, but to respect the game, by a uncle who dies before ever seeing Homer play professionally,
When he gets his chance to pitch for the New York Yankees after long years in the minors, Homer seems to have everything he wants.
He has little idea of what forces he will come up against when he makes it known that he is willing to play for nothing. In a baseball era dripping with big money, steroids, scandals and overall cynicism, many wonder if Homer is for real.
A New York Progress sportswriter named Leslie Shamback, for one, isn’t sure what to make of this small town guy with the simple values. But when she delves a little deeper into his past she finds more than she bargained for, including possibly love.
Homer’s troubles are hardly relegated to Leslie and the rest of the jaded New York media. Much of the baseball fraternity does not take kindly to Homer. Of his teammates, Tom “The Tracer” Traber, a highly paid veteran pitcher, makes it clear that Homer has no business blowing his horn about ballplayers owing their hearts and their souls to a game. To Tracer, baseball is a business a player has every God-given right to make as much money from as he can.
Homer is well-loved and embraced by a great segment of a baseball-loving America too, including a fan base, Homer’s Old Town Nine. This group, which gains a national following, shows up regularly in ballparks wearing crossed out dollars signs on their baseball jerseys.
Homer was thrust into the spotlight after tossing two consecutive no-hitters in this first two Major League starts. While not seeking the spotlight, his down-home persona is a refreshing escape in a sport awash with problems.
As the team fights for a division title, Homer finds himself coping with the pressure of winning not only at the Major League level, but in New York, the baseball capital. But Homer plugs on, despite the press; a scandal of sorts from his past; scraps with teammates and opponents; romance and heartbreak; a search for a wayward father; his arrest in the idyllic village of Cooperstown, N.Y., the home of baseball’s Hall of Fame; and finally, a near-career-ending injury. At the end of the season he’s faced with his biggest foe of all: his own mortality.