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Bruce Weber , Charley Steiner


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Revue de presse

“The best baseball book I’ve read in a long time…So little is known about umpires, yet they live amongst us like one of those primitive societies that keep getting discovered in the jungles of Africa. The light Weber shines on them is illuminating, for their sake and for ours.” (Michael Silverman The Boston Herald)

“Thorough research, crackerjack reporting, pinpoint control.” (Kirkus) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

MILLIONS OF AMERICAN BASEBALL FANS KNOW, WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that umpires are simply overpaid galoots who are doing an easy job badly. Millions of American baseball fans are wrong.

As They See ’Em is an insider’s look at the largely unknown world of professional umpires, the small group of men (and the very occasional woman) who make sure America’s favorite pastime is conducted in a manner that is clean, crisp, and true. Bruce Weber, a New York Times reporter, not only interviewed dozens of professional umpires but entered their world, trained to become an umpire, then spent a season working games from Little League to big league spring training. As They See ’Em is Weber’s entertaining account of this experience as well as a lively exploration of what amounts to an eccentric secret society, with its own customs, its own rituals, its own colorful vocabulary. Writing with deep knowledge of and affection for baseball, he delves into such questions as: Why isn’t every strike created equal? Is the ump part of the game or outside of it? Why doesn’t a tie go to the runner? And what do umps and managers say to each other during an argument, really?

Packed with fascinating reportage that reveals the game as never before and answers the kinds of questions that fans, exasperated by the clichés of conventional sports commentary, pose to themselves around the television set, Bruce Weber’s As They See ’Em is a towering grand slam. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  68 commentaires
68 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Pleasant Surprise 18 mars 2009
Par James Buberger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
For starters, I have personally never before issued a five-star rating to a non-fiction work, saving those for the Grishams and Browns of the literary world (pedestrian, I realize). I could not, however, pass up the opportunity to do so on this occasion.

As a typical fan, there is only so much that I care to know about the umpires' side of the baseball equation (just as Weber depicts in the book). Thus, it was with a bit of hesitation that I ordered this volume.

I had to take a deep breath when, early on, Weber delved into the history of umpiring and even the origin of the word. I was thinking "boy, this is not going to go well." I am happy to report that, due to Weber's research and writing style, I not only survived the history lesson but thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

Weber grabbed me right from the opening pages, taking a mundane topic (the umpire's cap), and turning it into an enjoyable narrative delivered in an amusing and colorful way. Already, I loved this guy's humor and repeated self-flagellation.

Throughout the book, Weber shares stories of all levels of umpires and the job itself. While it is clear that he respects the job that umpires do and, in most cases, the umpires themselves, this is not a gushing, starry-eyed love story. The reader is treated to warts and all.

Especially interesting to me, having never thought about it or been aware of it, is the consistently contentious relationship between the umpires and management, be it in the majors or throughout the minor league system. As a diehard fan, I cannot imagine myself ever feeling sympathetic towards the umps, but I am so glad that I now know more about how they got to where they are, and some of the things that they have to deal with it that most of us don't see. Much to my chagrin, I do now have more appreciation for those who survived "chasing the dream" (schooling and the minors) and are now in the bigs. While the job looks easy from the stands and the couch, I now know that I could not and would not have survived the life.

Weber also does a fine job illustrating how umpires go about their responsibilities on the field, posing great questions that made me stop and think about all the games I've attended. Frankly, I was shocked at the number of variables mentioned that I had never before picked up on.

Having read this book, I am looking forward to the start of the season even more, and plan to pay significantly more attention to what the umpires do and how they go about their business.

Oh, want to be humbled? Weber points out some inconsistencies in the rulebook and some rules that I have to believe most fans are entirely unaware of. In fact, on two occasions my eyes opened so wide that I put the book down and checked the rules myself, so as to ensure that Weber had not taken a few too many foul balls to the temple during his time at umpiring school.

I had not heard of Weber before reading this book, but he has me hooked. His writing style makes for such an enjoyable read. It was not so much that I could not put it down, but it was so enjoyable to read that before I knew it hours and chapters had passed.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Safe! 11 avril 2009
Par Gary M. Olson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I have followed baseball closely for over five decades, yet, paradoxically, have never particularly thought about the umpires. They are just there, more or less invisible until they make a controversial call. Yes, I've enjoyed the varied styles of plate umpires and how they call strikes. But it's never crossed my mind how incredibly difficult and technical their jobs are.

Weber does a magnificent job of explicating the details of the umpire's job. I guess I understood the principle that being in the right position to make a call is crucial, but I've never worked through the details of how the right position is determined, and how the umpiring crew (anywhere from 2 to 6, depending on the level of the teams and the time of year) coordinates all of this. It comes across in Weber's account as almost like a dance as the umpires rotate into position to cover the various contingencies based on the game circumstance (runners, number of outs) and, crucially, where the ball is hit. In the era of slow-mo instant replay, it's all the more incredible to me how often the umpires get their calls right. Yes, there are famous gaffes (e.g., Denkinger's call in game 6 of the 85 World Series between the Cardinals and Royals). But under a kind of scrutiny that I don't think any of the rest of us could endure, they are mostly right, even in the toughest of situations.

I also had not understood very well the path from minor league to major league umpiring. It's a long and frustrating path, and there are only a tiny number who make it. Attending umpire school is almost mandatory (and Weber goes to school, and gives us a great account). It takes on the order of a decade in the minor leagues to even get a chance, and even then, few are chosen. While currently the pay for major league umpires is pretty good (six figures, with $400,000 range for the most senior), the pay and benefits in the minor leagues are incredibly poor. Yet hundreds of eager candidates endure the low pay, the poor food and lodging, the amazingly long drives, to pursue the chance. As a baseball fan, I'm glad there are such dedicated folks.

The antagonism between baseball's management and the umpires was a surprise to me. I would have thought that the umpires would have been seen by management as their agents, and therefore be highly respected. On the contrary. Some executives see umpires as being the equivalent of bases, needed to play the game but nothing deserving of respect. Weber goes into considerable detail about the 1999 labor disaster for umpires, when a wave of resignations as a labor action backfired, and a number of highly qualified umpires lost their jobs (some eventually got them back), and a legacy of resentment and ill-feelings resulted.

And of course the fans. "Kill the ump" is a long-standing fan chant, and as Weber shows, has actually led to death threats against umps who have made controversial calls. While I don't recall ever using this chant myself, I do know that I've ragged on umps when I've been frustrated with their calls. But as a result of reading Weber's book, I have a new found respect for them, and will be much more appreciative of them in the future.

All in all, this book was a real page-turner for me. Weber's narrative skills and access to behind-the-scenes action make for a fascinating read. I highly recommend it, even for non-baseball fans who might be interested in the complex organizational issues of a major sport.

By the way, for you Kindle fans, this book has no photos, so buying a Kindle version will work just fine.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Weber Hit It On the Head 3 juin 2009
Par lisleump - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As an amateur umpire interested in the history and inner workings of professional umpiring I have read everything written about and by umpires. Weber's book is more than just a bunch of old umpires telling war stories. He delves into the inner sanctum of the profession. Extremely well researched book. He has talked to all of the living people he needed to talk to other than Bud Selig, who doesn't have time for umpires. I attended the same umpire school as Weber several years prior, and was also the oldest student in class. His description of the day to day activities of umpire school are right on. He takes you on the "long road" from the minor leagues to the majors and documents the hardships of that road with a professional writers expertise. More importantly, he tells the story of the men who are the best in the world at what they do, how under appreciated they are and what a thankless job they have. This book is a MUST reading for anyone considering a career in umpiring as well as the fan who hasn't given much thought to the men in blue (or I guess black today).
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Why would you want to be an Umpire? 4 juillet 2009
Par Norm Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Everything you ever wanted, needed or thought you needed to know about umpiring is in this book.

Bruce Weber takes you into this bazaar world and through the mask gives you a look at a job that nobody should want.

You go to school to learn how to walk on a field where nobody likes you, cares for you and even has the right to insult you and everything about your family.

You have no home. You travel sometimes in terrible conditions just to put on that uniform and equipment walk out on the field and get treated worse than Rodney Dangerfield. And you get to do this night after night.

It takes years to make it if at all. The wages are at poverty level until you reach the top, and that can take years and years.

Half way through the book I was depressed. I thought car sales, insurance, even pool cleaning would be better than this.

I encontered these creatures in my prior life and they are an odd group.

I remember a summer night in 1965 when the announcer for the Austin Braves left his microphone on between innings and attacked a previous call made by a young Bruce Froemming. Froemming immediately ran everybody in the press box and locked it up. Who would have thought that Bruce Froemmin all 5'6'' or so would go on to become the most senior of umpires. He was in control. He walked on that field like the sheriff in an old western town.

I love the stories of the Earl Weavers and others and would have like more of that than the technical side of the game. But overall I enjoyed learning more about these people that come from somewhere and decide to take on this awesome responsibility. I just question why?
18 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A walk not a hit 25 avril 2009
Par Alan Weiss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is an erratically interesting view into the toils of those who love umpiring, including the hard work, lousy meals, and long odds of ever gaining one of the very few major league jobs. The variety of arcane rules, magnitude of abuse, and apathy of the owners could make for fascinating reading.

Unfortunately, Mr. Weber's writing style is more like a knuckleball than a fast ball. He tells you the same things over and over, has no inflection changes between minor and major points (he beats everything to death), and his actual interactions with major league umpires are severely limited, since either they don't choose to talk or the author is a rather poor investigative reporter.

There aren't many good books on this subject, so it's worth the trek if you're interested in the topic. But every once in a while I was inclined to yell at the author: "Play ball!!"
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