Watching Baseball Smarter – A Professional Fan Guide for Beginners, Semi – Experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks by Zack Hample reveals many game details that most people either do not know or at least don’t really understand.
Hample discusses the basics of the game, pitching and catching, baserunning, fielding, unique stadiums, umpire calls, scoring statistics, awards, player habits and baseball slang.
There’s history: For instance, the first World Series was played in 1903 as a best of nine contest. The Boston Americans (Red Sox) beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three.
And there’s technical details. The book depicts classic throws like the split-finger fastball. This throw is done with the index and middle fingers spread apart so that the pitch travels almost as fast as a fastball and drops as it reaches the plate. Hample describes how the batter executes the weight shift. Most of the power is generated by shifting the weight onto the back leg and leaning back. Then he steps forward to attack the ball.
Hample’s description of baserunning includes some very important fine points. For instance, the hook slide depicts how the runner eludes the fielder by sliding past the base and then reaching back with the foot to touch the base.
Hample does a good job of explaining important unwritten game rules. Samples include not trotting too slowly around the bases, not acting too excited after striking out a hitter and not hiding in the dugout if others run onto the field for a brawl. The author has an excellent section that explains classic baseball slang terms; such as the atom ball, crew chief, deek, leave the building, pea and yardwork.
Overall, this is an excellent guide for everyone.