From his perspective as a journalist and a true fan, Bob Costas, NBC's award-winning broadcaster, shares his unflinching views on the forces that are diminishing the appeal of major league baseball and proposes realistic changes that can be made to protect and promote the game's best interests.
In this cogent--and provocative--book, Costas examines the growing financial disparities that have resulted in nearly two-thirds of the teams in major league baseball having virtually no chance of contending for the World Series. He argues that those who run baseball have missed the crucial difference between mere change and real progress. And he presents a withering critique of the positions of both the owners and players while providing insights on the wild-card system, the designated-hitter rule, and interleague play. Costas answers each problem he cites with an often innovative, always achievable strategy for restoring genuine competition and rescuing fans from the forces that have diluted the sheer joy of the game.
Balanced by Costas's unbridled appreciation for what he calls the "moments of authenticity" that can still make baseball inspiring, Fair Ball offers a vision of our national pastime as it can be, a game that retains its traditional appeal while initiating thoughtful changes that will allow it to thrive into the next century.
This isn't a commentator's diatribe against the sport, but rather a fan's case for baseball. What do I want? I think the same thing that most baseball fans want: To see the game prove worthy of our devotion.
Bob Costas loves baseball. And he's worried about the state of the game--superstar players abandoning the teams that helped them rise to greatness, the awkward interleague play system, the pennant-race-weakening wild cards, and the payroll disparity that effectively eliminates two-thirds of the teams in the league from having any chance to win the World Series--even before opening day. Costas addresses these problems and offers provocative solutions in Fair Ball.
Costas makes it clear from the outset that he's not a romantic, baseball-should-be-played-in-flannel traditionalist; indeed, some of his ideas--comprehensive revenue sharing and salary caps and floors--will be seen as radical by many team owners and players. Others are more standard--no more wild card, and farewell to the DH--but all are thoughtful and cogently argued.
Throughout Fair Ball Costas's affection for the national pastime softens his occasionally strident tone. Ultimately, all baseball fans want the same thing; Costas's ideas, if adopted, would go a long way toward returning the game to full health. --Sunny Delaney