Weekend Reading: ‘As They See ‘Em’ (First Chapter)

New York Times theater critic and reporter Bruce Weber (not the basketball coach) went to umpire school to write a book. That book,  ‘As They See ‘Em’ is out now.

Read the first chapter here.

Or save yourself twenty minutes and read this very short paragraph from the end of that first chapter:

In umpire nation, Applebee’s and Chili’s are high-end establishments, steak is a gourmet meal, and, for some reason, lite beer is preferable to regular beer. It’s a place where the playing of the national anthem before a ball game is serious business, where women are discomforting, Jews are a novelty, homosexuals are unwanted, and liberals tend to keep their opinions to themselves.

Umpires, it turns out, are a lot like other  middle-aged, middle-America, blue-collar white guys.

It’s easy to suspect that Bruce Weber has not spent a great deal of time between the coasts. It’s also easy to suspect that this will be a book in which a coast-dwelling, fairly wealthy writer romanticizes a profession he sees as ‘honest’ or ‘gritty,’ but then realizes 2/3 of the way through that the lifestyle is a lot harder than it looks and really not for him. Just guessing.

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