The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!: The Game as Umpires See it

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Southern Illinois University Press, 1975 - Sports & Recreation - 209 pages
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To provide this unique—if controversial—look at major league baseball as umpires see it, Lee Gutkind spent the 1974 season traveling with the umpiring crew of Doug Harvey (crew chief), Nick Colosi, Harry Wendelstedt, and Art Williams, the first black umpire in the National League. The result is an honest, realistic, insightful study of the private and professional world of major league umpires: their prejudices and petty biases, their unbending pride in their performance, their inside perspectives on the game, and their bitter criticism of the abuse often directed at their profession and at their conduct. As relevant today as it was in 1974, this illustrated chronicle shows how little has changed in the lives and duties of umpires in the last quarter century.

Guided by his passionate love for the game as he wrote The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!, Gutkind attempted to present the umpires in a positive but realistic light: "I portrayed them as real people, honorable, hard-working and dedicated, but with warts and flaws like the rest of us. But they didn't want to be compared with real people; they wanted to be umpires—on a plateau above most everyone else." Since the publication of this book in 1975, neither Harvey nor Wendelstedt have communicated with Gutkind, with Wendelstedt even denying that Gutkind traveled with the crew.

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The Best Seat in Baseball, but You Have to Stand!: The Game As Umpires See It (Writing Baseball)

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Gutkind offers the perspectives of several major league umpires who offer their likes and dislikes of the profession, the players, and the game. This also candidly touches on baseball's color line in ... Read full review

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About the author (1975)

Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction, has performed as a clown, scrubbed with heart and liver transplant surgeons, wandered the country on a motorcycle, and experienced psychotherapy with a distressed family—all as research for eight books and numerous profiles and essays. He is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

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