Book Review: Meandering Through the Minors
Baseball is a long, long season. It marches from the rainy, sometimes snowy days of April long into the Fall. By the time the World Series is finished, it is not uncommon for the calendar to read November.
For most fans the season begins with a flurry of interest. No matter how bad your team was last year, or even how bad they will be this year, they are still in the hunt in April. Its easy to follow baseball in April. Nobody is injured and you know all the names on the jerseys.
By the dog days of summer, its harder to be a fan. Sometimes you are unfamiliar with the players, your team is listing near the bottom of their division, and most likely you have conceded to be a seller at the trade deadline.
In a number of ways, Garry Griffith’s Meandering through the Minor Leagues is a perfect mirror to the major league season. His vignettes (presented in reverse chronological order) of the Minors are like character studies of small town america. Meandering is an incredible anthology of sketches. Some of the best work is in the first few chapters. Like the season, Garry jumps out of the gate like a writter riding the energy of a month of sequestered Spring Training. His stories from Normal, IL are his best.
As the book moves on, it becomes the territory of diehard fans. Like those who religiously listen to broadcast and check boxscores in the heat of August, the middle of Meandering through the Minor Leagues can be a bit daunting. The nature of the book as a collection of other writtings leads to some repitition and some sections that approach boring.
Thankfully there are the September call-ups. As the book rounds third base, it picks up speed. Some of the final essays get back to the tone the book had in its opening chapters. While not all of these final essays are directly about baseball, the tone is the same and they are interesting additions to the memoirs.
Overall, this book is a good read. For diehard fans of the sport, they will love the anecdotes and character sketches the populate its pages. The casual fan may get lost in the middle. Nevertheless, this book should be required reading for any avid baseball fan and is a must read for anyone who holds season tickets to a minor league team.