Those who aren't up on their game needn't feel embarrassed. Baseball For Dummies can bring even the most horsehide-impaired up to speed. (But there's plenty to entertain veteran fans as well.) Joe Morgan, a Hall of Fame second baseman, now an analyst for ESPN games, teams up with Richard Lally for this volume of everything you would want to know about baseball (but were too chagrined to ask). Want detailed instructions on how to play the game yourself? It's here. So is a study of each major league stadium, with suggestions on where to sit to maximize your chances of catching a foul ball.
For many aficionados, statistics are the lifeblood of their enjoyment, so the authors have included a section on how to calculate those batting percentages and earned run averages.
And lest anyone forget that the pro game is not just played in the U.
S. and Canada, Baseball For Dummies reminds us that there's a great big baseball world out there, and includes discussion on the sport as it's played in Asia, Australia, and South America.
Morgan and Lally aren't shy about offering expert opinion as they select their ten greatest players, past, present, and future; they also choose the records they believe are least likely to be broken and the events that transformed the game. Readers may find these lists subjective, but such arguments are part of the fun, part of what being a fan is all about. The appendix offers a glossary of baseball terms, a plethora of records (always welcome by trivia buffs), and a list of contacts for information on just about every aspect of the game, from T-ball to senior leagues, from professional leagues to team Web sites.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.