Game Time
by Roger Angell

In his introduction to Angellís newest collection, novelist Richard Ford notes his wifeís claim that the only good thing about the end of baseball season is the appearance of a Roger Angell essay that can make it all come alive again.  Roger Angell is a writer and fiction editor for the New Yorker, and his essays have become required reading for serious baseball fans of all sorts. I discovered Angell almost as soon as I became a fan, and still have the tattered paperback copies of Late Innings and The Summer Game that started my love of his work. Angell is back again with another collection of work from his 40 years as a fan, and Game Time is here as another regular season begins and another Replay card set is published.

It is unclear whether Angell is either writing less or becoming more critical, but Game Time is another collection that recycles material from earlier books. Similar to 1991ís Once More Around The Park,  this new work recovers pieces from earlier works along with scattered new pieces. For example, ďDistanceĒ, Angellís marvelous and moving account of a retired Bob Gibson living near Omaha, appears in this book, making it the third book I have containing the piece. The fact that the book contains recycled material is clearly stated, but I canít help but wonder how, over 40 years of baseball writing, more new material could not be found.

This book is a fine choice for newcomers to the Angell world-an absolutely fine introduction to Angellís style and take on baseball events. However, those who are well versed in Angellís work may want to give this one a pass, knowing that most of the material can be found in the authorís previous work. Similar to Replay Baseball, Angell has given me more pleasure than I have any right to, but owning yet another version of what I already have, similar to having a card set in duplicate, leaves me slightly empty knowing that I own something for completenessí sake rather than its actual value. --Mike Webb

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