Guide to Baseball Short Stories: B

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Nicely done fiction about spectator experience.

Brisk and bearable despite its deliberately insufferable style.

This Depression-era story veers between local color and allegory and doesn't know quite what to make of either.

Depends for its effect on how well you know the 2004 ALCS, but it's an interesting and well-executed story idea with considerable resonance.

A weird magical-realist story.

These stories are way beyond melodrama, reaching near-insufferable heights of corniness. They are adult stories, but notable for their contrast to the mannered, underplayed adult fiction of Beaumont's contemporary Ring Lardner. One story, "The Crab," is reprinted in Staudohar and Silverman. Another, "His Honor, the Umps," has the exact same plot device as "The Crab": an overbearing baseball man alienates a devoted wife, then wins her back when their child is born. Probably the most interesting of Beaumont's stories for present-day readers is "Tin Can Tommy" (repr. Strecker), in which a ballplayer spooked by an unconscious aversion to tin cans works out his problem therapeutically.

Time travel is never that easy, though, is it?

Atmospheric and well-written story of the supernatural.

Overlong and somewhat labored comedy SF story. Compare Effinger for a more solemn take on mind control and baseball.

Appealing first-love story, realistic in its look at 15-year-old sexuality.

Well-done story that plays with Mexican stereotypes in a sympathetic and parodic way.

Criticism: Shelffo

An interesting picture of racial tensions in a supposedly idyllic Middle America, this story makes effective use of a child observer.

Brisk and well-focused baseball mystery, ordinary for its genre.

Ordinary baseball mystery, indicative of some strike-era attitudes toward big-money free agency, which enters the plot at several points.

The title and some of the dialogue recall Richard Wilbur's "Game of Catch."

Inventive use of language and wry masculine self-deprecation characterize this above-average short story.

A Collier's "short short," complete with illustration on a single page.

One gets the feeling with Broun, here as in The Sun Field, that he was interested in baseball mainly as a backdrop for arch observations on American notions of social class.

Part of the kick is provided by the rookie working on the ace's girlfriend, a society dame who is determined to get the ace to give up baseball and live on her dough. The rookie hero of the story is compared at one point to "Flint Rhem in his palmier days" (27); perhaps Rhem was more of a household name in the 1930s than one might think.

Serviceable faux-Hemingway prose characterizes this masculine meditation.