Pan Lit Games: Baseball

July 23, 2015

Baseball is a team sport and everybody wants a team to work well together, right? That means more double and triple plays, more catching the opposite team trying to steal bases, and more grand slams (and probably a few more refreshments for the ballpark crowd, amirite?). There’s no curse of the Bambino with these titles: they all feature a winning cast of characters that will draw the reader in. But how well do they work together to get the win?

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Baseball is a team sport and everybody wants a team to work well together, right? That means more double and triple plays, more catching the opposite team trying to steal bases, and more grand slams (and probably a few more refreshments for the ballpark crowd, amirite?). There’s no curse of the Bambino with these titles: they all feature a winning cast of characters that will draw the reader in. But how well do they work together to get the win?

Godforsaken

Our first team is captained by Abigail Peacock from This Godforsaken Place by Cinda Gault (Brindle & Glass): a young woman in 1880s Ontario who steps up to the plate when former team captain, her father, falls ill. She gets a triple play for her teaching, nursing, and shooting skills but wants more than to settle down into an expected marriage. Abigail sets out across the Canadian and American West on a quest to fulfill the desires of a dying outlaw. She fills her bench with three other characters, including famous female gunslinger, Annie Oakley. Will she be able to bring her team together to get some players on base?

Our next team is the Kogan family from The Capacity for Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow (Wolsak & Wynn). Emily is a strategic player who keeps her eye on the numbers as a mathematician measuring the influence of interpersonal relationships. This team struggles to work together to get the strikes they need as family secrets abound. However, a surprise pitch hitter, one Harpo Marx, helps this family get some runs and unlocks the secrets Emily has been searching for.

Savage by Nathaniel G. Moore (Anvil Press) features another family team in this coming of age tale of young Nate. He recruits a ringer early on in the form of pro wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage, at the height of his career. However, an unpredictable player (Nate’s father), an often-absent player (his sister), and a hero that quickly wanes in popularity, means that Nate’s team doesn’t bring in a whole lot of runs. Instead Nate’s team implodes and he’s left dealing with poverty, doomed teenage love, and a hero that once offered a source of escape, but now holds him to a sad past.

Anatomy

Our next team features a player popular with the fans from back in the day, Edouard Beaupre in The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre by Sarah Kathryn York (Coteau Books). A strongman and wrestler from Saskatchewan who topped out at over 8 feet tall, Edouard drew a crowd wherever he went. His appearance even got him some lucrative sponsorships from Barnum and Baileys circus. However, his outward appearance affected how his teammates perceived him and he wasn’t taken seriously as a player. It wasn’t until years after his death that a Montreal doctor studying his cadaver is able to uncover the real story of Edouard’s life, on and off the field.

If there was an All-Star team in the bunch it would be the “characters” in Blind Items by Dina Del Bucchia (Insomniac Press), a collection of paparazzi poems. With heavy hitters like James Franco, the Olsen twins, and Sarah Silverman on their team, how can they not get a few grand slams? Except the players spend so much time getting caught in compromising positions off the field that they're not really paying attention to what’s happening on the field.

When the tournament comes to an end, it looks like The Capacity for Infinite Happiness is the winner. Harpo Marx helps them jump ahead with a strong lead by the seventh inning stretch and continue their hot streak all the way to the ninth, when all the secrets are revealed.

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Catch up on all our PanLit Games match-ups and see an extended list of contenders on our PanLit Games Pinterest board.


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