If you’re an obsessive fan of Breaking Bad — and is any fan of Breaking Bad not an obsessive one? — this little book is a quick treat, consisting of summaries with commentary of each respective season, along with character analyses and more random pieces, like a top ten list of best lines from the show. San Juan doesn’t just recap what’s happening, but comments on the character dynamics, background drama motivating characters that viewers are aware of when they watch the show, but haven’t necessarily articulated for themselves. The author’s picks demonstrate how powerful this show could be — not needing long, epic speeches but using its bench of phenomenal acting talent to create explosive scenes with just a line or two and genuine talent. (“Perhaps your best course of action would be…. to tread lightly .”) This is of great interest to BB fans. Love the cover!
Baseball in Alabama is not a history of how America’s game came to the Heart of Dixie, but is instead a collection of profiles and stories from ballplayers who came from Alabama, some of who returned home to create foundations and the like to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. Although football is the sport most commonly associated with Alabama, thanks to UA’s Crimson Tide and Auburn University, many of the MLB’s greatest players have come from this state, including Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Satch Paige. Many of the stories are drawn from interviews with the players themselves, and those dating to the fifties and sixties illustrate the personal frustrations and indignities of black ballplayers, who frequently couldn’t eat in the same restaurants as their teammates. Some of the features are more general, like a tribute to Rickwood Field in Birmingham. If you’re a serious baseball reader who has an Alabama connection, this will be of interest.
The list of hall of famers from Mobile amazes. Five of the game’s all-time greats (Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith and Billy Williams) call Mobile—a city with a population slightly under 200,000, the third largest in Alabama—their hometown. Put this in the context of thirteen states not having a native son enshrined in Cooperstown, and it astounds.
The pugilistic crowd provided highlights for the players, including hijinks fueled by alcohol. “The foul pole connected the lower deck and the upper deck. We look down there, and there’s a guy climbing the foul pole from the lower deck trying to get to the upper deck. Obviously, he had too much to drink. Somewhere, about halfway, he had a sobering moment and just froze. Wouldn’t climb up and wasn’t going down. Stuck. Had to call the fire department. Stop the game. The fire department got him down. It can be a crazy place.”
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