More Than a Pastime

An Oral History of Baseball Fans


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About the Book

Basing his claims on more than 130 in-depth interviews with baseball fans from ages 10 to 80, the author arrives at some extraordinary conclusions about the prismatic richness of the fan’s experience of baseball and its importance in his or her life. The responses, 40 of which are reproduced in this oral history, suggest three major hypotheses: that how the youthful fan regards the game is a resonant expression of his personality, his family and social situation, and his fundamental needs; that baseball, far more than a pastime or idle entertainment, serves a number of extremely important emotional and developmental functions; and that one of baseball’s less frequently heralded virtues is its extraordinary richness, its capacity to turn a different face to almost every fan and to satisfy that remarkably wide range of personalities, backgrounds, and needs.

About the Author(s)

William Freedman, professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Haifa, currently teaches part time and serves on the board of governors of The Sakhnin College for Teacher Education in Sakhnin, Israel. He has published numerous books and essays of literary criticism and three books of poetry.

Bibliographic Details

William Freedman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9381-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

Introduction     3

1 Moral Landscape, Mentor, Proof     37

2 Striving for Excellence and Perfection     69

3 Empowerment     87

4 The Contained Aesthetic Object, the Mirroring Work of Art     110

5 Not Just Fathers and Sons     127

6 A Sense of Belonging     145

7 Identification     172

8 Formation of Identity and Character     198

9 Rescue, Fun, and All the Rest: A Concluding Miscellany     216

Epilogue     233

Bibliography     243

Index     249

Book Reviews & Awards

“unique…excellent”—Choice; “must read…this book is filled with gems…readers at times will find themselves, as this reviewer did, shouting, ‘Yes! Exactly!’”—Nine; “the fans are wise beyond imagining and Freedman distills that wisdom with a loving care for the game”—Sports Collectors Digest.