“If ever you loved baseball ... you surely would like to know what happened to Casey after he struck out in the bottom of the ninth ....” So begins Frank Deford’s short story which, like the best short stories, gets right to the point. Fictional baseball stories, with their eccentric characters, make their points in very engaging ways. Ring Lardner popularized the genre, and James Thurber, Stuart Dybek and Michael Chabon each added their own richness to the canon. Characters like The Rube, Alibi Ike and Hector Quesadilla keep the pages sizzling. This four-week study group will read two short stories per week from the anthology Baseball’s Best Short Stories
by Paul D. Staudohar (Chicago Review Press, 2012). The discussions will ponder the profound question of why fictional baseball stories — with their legends, humor and nostalgia — endure. Join the boys of summer to find out.