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By Nick Taylor

Baseball and Books - What's the Connection?

Uploaded: Sep 30, 2014

I'm strange. Years ago this used to bother me, but ever since I got serious about writing, I stopped worrying about my incongruities. I'm oddly shaped. I don't prefer blondes. I like to read fiction.

Something between sixty and eighty percent of the American fiction market is female. That puts me in a small and homogeneous minority. Many different kinds of women read fiction, and they read all kinds of fiction. Men read all kinds of fiction, too, but the men who do are remarkably similar. Among other traits, men in my cohort tend to be baseball fans.

Baseball is still the national pastime, but only in name. Football makes more money and has more fans, even with one-eighth the number of games and a direct link to brain damage. I think we can all agree--baseball fans included--that basketball is more exciting. And hockey, let's face it, is a lot weirder and more visceral. More literary, you might say.

So why do readers prefer baseball?

It's not a rhetorical question. I really don't understand. It might have to do with tradition. But boxing is older. Boxing has literary cred, too. Hemingway, Mailer--these guys loved boxing and wrote brilliantly about it. Why don't you hear bearded, beflanneled hipsters talking boxing instead of the rise of sabermetrics and the ethics of PEDs?

Maybe it's the pace of the game. Baseball is slow. Gives you time to think. But so does golf. Seriously, golf? Where are the great novels about golf? Where is golf's The Natural? Would anyone publish The Art of Divot Replacement? Would anyone read it? No!

I'm serious. Help me understand.