A fascinating and revealing look inside the lives of umpires, from the godfather of creative nonfiction In 1974, Lee Gutkind walked into Shea Stadium, then home of the New York Mets, with an unusual proposal. He wanted to chronicle one of the least celebrated cadres in professional baseball: the umpires. Gutkind spent one exhilarating season traveling with the officiating crew he found that day—Doug Harvey, Nick Colosi, Harry Wendelstedt, and Art Williams, the first African American umpire in National League history. Gutkind’s narrative reveals much about the peculiarities of the men charged with the “thankless and impossible task of invoking order”—their work ethic, fallibility, and perhaps most strikingly, their pride.
As resonant today as when it was first published, The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!is an engrossing story of the men who work on one of the nation’s biggest stages, their victories and their failures, and their inner worlds that are rarely—if ever—explored.
Lee Gutkind has been recognized by Vanity Fair as “the godfather behind creative nonfiction.” A prolific writer, he has authored and edited over twenty-five books, and is the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish only narrative nonfiction. Gutkind has received grants, honors, and awards from numerous organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation. A man of many talents, Gutkind has been a motorcyclist, medical insider, sports expert, sailor, and college professor. He is currently distinguished writer in residence in the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University and a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.read more