"It is a tale of dreams, history, and heartache," writes Katya Cengal. "This is where it all begins, and, for many, where it ends." Bluegrass Baseball is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes into four teams--three from the minors and one playing in an independent league--battling for fans and for their future amid the Kentucky baseball circuit during the 2010 season.
Each ball club encounters injuries and accomplishments, sacrifices and uncertainty. Only 5% to 10% of ballplayers are drafted to the majors, but such odds don't daunt those fresh out of high school, athletes from poor countries in search of a better life or men past their prime trying to keep the game in their blood. Managers, unable to make the grade in the majors, lead lives just as demanding, unglamorous and lacking in glory as their players. Relationships are tested as wives put their own lives on hold so husbands can chase their big league dreams. And from a business perspective, financial success comes from attendance and advertising--creative ways to draw fans--not directly from the teams' records.
With depth and sensitivity, Cengal details the grind faced by owners, players, trainers, groundskeepers, ushers, broadcasters, mascots and even local families who take in ball players as boarders in their homes. Life in the minors is devoid of chartered planes, fame and fortune, but these vivid, personal stories of ordinary people with a dedicated passion and drive for the game will serve as inspiration for all. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines