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Brad King (left) interviewing Florence Freedom manager Dennis Pelfrey in the dugout before a game.

Baseball is intertwined in the American zeitgeist in a way unlike any other game. What’s alluring is that everyone’s stories, while individual by nature, have a common thread. And weaved together, the tell a narrative about who we are.

Each story shares commonalities. But they all came together in one very specific way: The game formed the spine of their adult lives and they would eventually pass that game down to their sons and daughters.

But why? Why drove fathers to build batting cages in their backyards? What pushed moms to sit for hours on the hot aluminum dugout benches tracking scores? What makes the game so hard to give up, and so important to pass along?

So many find themselves carrying an emotional connection to the game that exists outside their conscious thought.

In that struggle to explain why baseball matters, their stories reveal deep, meaningful relationships with their parents, their siblings, their friends, and their own children. Sometimes those relationships are built on love. Sometimes on something much more painful. Whatever the deep-seated reasons, baseball was a benchmark for their lives and their connections with the people around them.

Catch is an oral history, a book of stories collected as I travel across the country interviewing people who have one thing in common: a love of baseball. Told in the style of Studs Terkel’s seminal works, Catch will capture stories from the people who never made it to the major leagues and explore how the game shaped their relationships and changed the way they lived.

Stories I’ve written about Catch:

 

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