Guide to Baseball Short Stories: K

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Clever blend of metafiction and meta-sportswriting. The last vignette – a tale of a 62-pitch at-bat – is perhaps the best.

An occasional piece which is occasionally funny.

Castro has pitched in several other fictions (see Shepard) but this is his sole appearance against another world leader so far.

Vivid, relentlessly ugly story.

Deliberate pastiche of old pulp conventions, with R-rated profanity and violence to let us know we're not in the Saturday Evening Post anymore. Read more about "Blockade Billy" at lection.

As usual, Stephen King wouldn't know subtle if it hit him with a brick, but this is a well-crafted classic ghost story reminiscent of The Twilight Zone.

Straightforward story, mostly taken up with exposition.

Based loosely on Klinkowitz's own experience as a minor-league executive. This is an unusual and very appealing format for baseball fiction and works very well as an organic unit. Individual stories most notable on their own include: "Bus Trip"; "Release," a study of organizational politics; and "Road Work," a fine inside-baseball story of strategy and tactics. A fascinating essay on the origins of this collection, called "Structuring Short Season," appears in Klinkowitz's Owning a Piece of the Minors (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999).

Sequel: Basepaths. The story "Ball Two" is reprinted in Bowering.

Original and sharply drawn.

"A Screwball Novelet," one of a couple of wacky humorous tales that appeared alongside more solemn items in Ten Story Sports.