Play Ball! Author Mike Squatrito describes himself as “the greatest knuckleball pitcher never to pitch in the Major Leagues.” Cheeky! But he backs up this self-assured claim with stats. Playing for the Rhode Island Brewers, a team of men who all share a love of America’s pastime, Squatrito details the wins (and occasional heartbreaking losses) of the team from 2005 to 2018.
But this isn’t just a baseball memoir. Squatrito recounts the innumerable exploits of grown men who work hard and play harder. Each of the men has a nickname, and Squatrito includes a handy reference guide at the beginning of the book to keep the reader apprised of just who is who.
“The consumption of beer is almost as dear to most Brewers players’ hearts as the game of baseball itself.” That truth is portrayed throughout the book, as cases of Bud Light are consumed with a frequency that is sometimes mind-boggling. There is even a “constitution,” written by a couple of the team members, where those who commit infractions are fined not with monetary reimbursement but in the form of “cold calorie-reduced alcoholic beverages,” usually a 12- or 30-pack, bags of Doritos, or boxes of pizza. Describing his teammates as “well-lubricated animals” seems appropriate after reading about the boys’ escapades in strip clubs, getting thrown off an airplane, or even being stopped by law enforcement for questionable driving.
Squatrito delights in telling stories, and is good at it. He recalls details of games played years ago (or perhaps he kept notes), and brings the reader along for one championship playoff game after another. The book is a comfortable, well-paced read. Men – who love baseball – would enjoy this book the most, I believe. At times the stories seem somewhat redundant (there’s beer, and pizza, and chicken wings, and going to Hooters), but Squatrito tells it all with a true fondness for his fellow teammates.
You can pick up a copy of Love Winning from Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/22zsfcww) or from your favorite independent bookstore. Learn more about the author by visiting his website https://www.mikesquatrito.com/