Blockade Billy = 54 down, 46 to go

21 Jun

Recommendation
Blockade Billy
Stephen King
144 pages

I haven’t read a Stephen King novel in years, and I’m not quite sure what made me hit the download button on this one – especially since it is a story involving baseball, admittedly not a sport in which I’m particularly engaged.

The book took place in a time when the trappings of today’s version of the sport were absent – big-money contracts, admittance of steroid usage, high-profile romances. Stephen King adds his signature dark spin to a period when baseball was more about the game than the drama.

Billy Blakely is called up from the farm system to serve a stint as a temporary pitcher with the New Jersey Titans. His teammates overlook his eccentricities in favor of his ability to aggressively guard the plate and hit the ball. Of course, it turns out that he’s not actually Billy Blakely, but a guy who wanted to play baseball so desperately that he killed the actual Blakely family to make his dream come true.

The story is told through the eyes of the third-base coach, and on the day team management learns the truth, he shares the final game in detail, including: “By the time night fell, we knew were fucked for the season, because our first twenty-two games were almost surely going to be erased from our record books, along with any official acknowledgment of Blockade Billy Blakely.”

King is known for his passionate love of baseball. That is evident in the exquisite detail in this book…even if some of it was lost on this non-baseball fan.

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