This Excerpt was taken from the foreward: THIS BOOK IS ABOUT BASEBALL GAMES AND PLAYERS AND seasons that I watched from the spring of 1977 to the late summer of 1981, and also about the substrata of the sport---money, celebrity, power, traditions, and social change---that lie beneath its green and ordered fields. Most of the autumn chapters include a summary of the campaigns just past, but readers are advised not to take these as history. Many deserving ball teams and outstanding players have been slighted in these pages, because I did not see them play over an extended span of games, and other clubs and stars reappear so frequently as to suggest some bias at work. I admit to the charge. I am still a baseball fan as well as a baseball writer, and old fans like to retrace their steps; I like to be in Scottsdale and St. Petersburg in March, in Fenway Park in July (September there hurts too much), at Shea whenever the Mets appear to be breathing, and in Yankee Stadium or Chavez Ravine or walking over he bridge across the Allegheny to Three Rivers Stadium in October. I take sides during most games and through every summer, and although this disqualifies me as a Gibbon, it has probably kept me cheerful. As Bill Veeck always says, it's meant to be fun. Some readers may hear a somber, almost funereal murmur in this book's title. This is not intended, for although big-league baseball is long past its innocent youth and well into what appears to be a disordered and self-destructive sort of middle age, it is a flushed and vigorous reprobate, with astounding recuperative powers. I suggest two lighter alternative readings---"Late" as in the late news: the baseball news of recent years; or, perhaps better, the later, most absorbing innings of a good game, when we in the stands begin to understand its particular pace and patterns, and even to pick up some glimmering of its resolution.
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