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“Deadball” – By David B. Stinson: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel Review

Friday May 18th, 2012

“DEADBALL” –  A Metaphysical Baseball Novel BY DAVID B. STINSON

(Huntington Park Publications:  2011)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  On the quest to uncover original and fascinating baseball books here on MLB reports, today we present yet another treasure that we have uncovered. “Deadball”, by author David B. Stinson. A “recovering lawyer” as he describes himself, Stinson’s Deadball is his first venture into the literally world. 

Here is the official Deadball release:

Set in 1999, Deadball is the story of Byron Bennett, a former minor-league player who has a deep and spiritual connection to the game of baseball and its history. He sees things in a way others cannot and believes in things others would not. He thinks the old men working the menial jobs in the diners, dives, and graveyards he frequents are not what they seem. They try to fit in, go unnoticed, but Byron suspects they are not your typical second-career working stiffs.

Spurred by the impending demise of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Byron becomes obsessed with learning as much as he can about Baltimore’s other former professional ballpark sites – in particular, Union Park, home of the 1890’s National League Baltimore Orioles.

Part pilgrimage and part road trip, Deadball visits vanished ballparks like Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, Cleveland’s League Park, Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, and New York’s Polo Grounds.

Deadball evokes many of the well-known and not-so-well known Charm City institutions located in and around the Harwood section of Baltimore, including Union Park, old Oriole Park, Memorial Stadium, New Cathedral Cemetery, Greenmount Cemetery, the Stone Tavern, Ron’s Billiards, Byrdland Carryout, Royal Books, and the Babe Ruth Museum.

Deadball will appeal to baseball fans and history buffs, but it also will appeal to anyone who knows what it means to be driven by a passion that others can neither appreciate nor understand.

When I first found out about Deadball, my first question to myself was: what the heck is metaphysics? What is truly the rationale behind metaphysics and how will this relate to baseball? To start that journey, I trusted our good friends over at Wikipedia for a definition:

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:

  1. “What is there?”
  2. “What is it like?”

A person who studies metaphysics is called a metaphysicist or a metaphysician. The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other. Another central branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the totality of all phenomena within the universe.

Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. The term science itself meant “knowledge” of, originating from epistemology. The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy. By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called “science” to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.

Do I still have you? Good. If you made it this far- clearly you have a strong curiosity nature to you…and possess an extreme love of baseball. I’m glad to hear. It was worth the trip. Don’t let the metaphysics talk fool you. Yes, the book has a deep inquisitive and philosophical side to it. But when reading the book, you don’t think along those lines. A good book is based on the strength of the author as a storyteller. To be able to take a reader and have them step into the shoes of the lead character. To see their world. To see their story…through “those” eyes. The lead in this tale is Byron Bennett. I have to say, I got completely lost in Bennett’s world. There were times that I felt like I wanted to fire up a Doors cd, turn on lava lamp and become zen with Deadball. The book captured my attention and got me thinking. Part of the strong points that I always look for in a baseball book.  Read the rest of this entry

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