Love, Madness, and Baseball

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When Nicholas Dawidoff was a boy in nineteen-seventies' New Haven, Connecticut, Red Sox radio broadcasts from a distant Fenway Park filled his room at night.

As he writes in his new memoir, "men like Williams and Yazstremski ... were knights errant, giant killers, young men of magical valor roaming through the American League.” They were also roaming through his imagination and standing in for the mentally ill father he saw only occasionally.

The Red Sox of the 1970s were the team of near misses and lost chances, the team that couldn’t win. That suited Dawidoff just fine. “I had come to believe," he writes, "that nothing worthwhile comes without great suffering.” So it was with his favorite baseball team, and so it was with his childhood.

This hour: A tale of love, madness, and baseball, with Nicholas Dawidoff.

You can join the conversation. Is it only a game, or is baseball an allegory for wins and losses of every day life? Why is it that we root for the underdog on the playing field, but not in life?Guest:

Joining us from New York is Nicholas Dawidoff. His new book, a memoir, is "The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness and Baseball."
His previous books include "The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg," "In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music," and "The Fly Swatter: How My Grandfather Made his Way in the World."

You can read an excerpt from "The Crowd Sounds Happy" at

This program aired on August 14, 2008.


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