Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  723 ratings  ·  43 reviews
It's Costas unplugged! This provocative, no-holds-barred assessment of the troubled state of Major League Baseball includes the author's innovative strategies for restoring the thrill of genuine competition and rescuing fans from the forces that have diluted the sheer joy of the game. Unabridged on 5 CDs.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 18th 2000 by Random House Audio (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,045)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mar 18, 2012 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dad, Les
Shelves: sports, baseball
Bob Costas gets to the meat of a huge problem for baseball. Or rather a series of problems. Baseball is losing its appeal, and its sense of history, and as it loses those it becomes irrelevant. I am a baseball fan because my parents were baseball fans, and because my dad would play catch with me nearly every spring and summer day after work. (I think I only broke two windows. We would go to games once in a while, and he played on a league team for his work, and I would go to those games...

Costas' book is mostly an analysis of the economic and structural organization of MLB, what's wrong with it and how it might be fixed.

The focus is on the economic disparity that seems to have increased after the strike of '94-'95, and with it, a loss of competitive balance among the league's teams.

I found myself convinced by nearly every one of Costas' arguments, largely because the statistics make his indictments nearly undeniable: for example, for the six years after the strike, 10 of the 12...more
Mark Ahrens
Bob Costas is one of America's best-known baseball, and for that matter, sports broadcasters. He has called numerous World Series, All Star, and League Championship games His book, Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball offers up thought-provoking and holistic solutions to help restore and maintain competitive balance in Major League Baseball. The 2001 book has some parts which are dated, but many of Fair Play's points remain relevant today.

MLB players, the Players' Union, and baseball's owners a...more
Kyle Kerns
While this is not quite a novel that will go down as one of the greats, it is definitely interesting in a time when sports is such a major part of our society. Even those people who are not major fans recognize that baseball, “America’s pastime” has changed over the last few years and is no longer the sport that many grandfathers and fathers remember from their youths. This book gives a good, well-presented, argument on how baseball needs to change if it wants to stay “America’s pastime.” As a p...more
Mike Jensen
If you consider baseball to be an administrative/business model mess but still love the game, this is the book for you. Though some of his ideas are now dated, Costas puts forward a new business model that would right the policies that are slowing strangling the game. A couple of these ideas were adopted already, most will probably never be adopted even though they should, and a few may be adopted in the future. I don’t agree with everything in this book, but Costas’s ideas are worth considering...more
Tom Gase
I didn't like this book for two reasons. One was that it was a little outdated being written after the 1999 baseball season. Was interesting to see that a lot of what Costas said might or should happen did, especially with the two 15 team leagues and with Houston switching to the AL West, which didn't happen until 2013. The other reason I didn't like this book was because it was too much dedicated to the business side of baseball, which I just can't get into as a reader. It's like reading about...more
Classic Costas. Well thought out, ideas clearly presented, creative. I love his cases for MLB realignment, different scheduling, and revenue sharing.
Admittedly, reading a book that is over a decade (and two labor negotiations) old on changes to a sport is kind of dumb. That being said, I still didn't like the book.

He basically just talks in depth about two topics, the economics of the game (basically 100 pages to say that he wants the contracts to be like the NBA) and no wild card. He spends a paragraph each at the end of the book on about 5 other topics. This book was only about 175 pages, so he definitely could have actually spent time on...more
Kevin Kirkhoff
Bob Costas is a fan of baseball. He appears numerous times in Ken Burns' "Baseball" series. He knows baseball. This book is his attempt to show what is right about our national pastime, what is wrong, and where it went wrong. It also gives good solid arguements on how to fix it.

According to Costas, baseball's problems started in 1993 when the owner's shook up the leagues to try to generate popularity. This only made it worse. Baseball was turning into hockey, football, and basketball. The bulk o...more
"The same pull could be felt September 8, 1998, when Mark McGwire homered his way into baseball history, with Roger Maris' family in the stands, and his competitor and compatriot Sammy Sosa out in the field. Or in the superb Game 5 battle between the Braves and Mets in the National League Championship Series in 1999. That pull, unique in each particular, but ultimately familiar, is what baseball is all about. And it is for moments like this that we keep returning to the game, why we still - desp...more
Costas analyzed the state of baseball and pointed out some of the worst problems. Almost none of his suggestions have been implemented, though some of the alignment and inter-league play ideas have come to some fruition in the intervening 14 years.
I love baseball, and I love books about baseball. I am also a Bob Costas fan, inasmuch as anyone is a fan of someone like Bob Costas. The guy is, for the most part, brilliantly vanilla. He is so inoffensive--a trait that is normally cause for dismissal due to boredom inducement--that it is interesting. In reading this book--boring, obvious, well written, outdated--I realized something. Costas is a genius interviewer, and a superb sportscaster, precisely because he has no personality (or, if we'r...more
Jim Serger
Great book by an excellent broadcaster and insider when it comes to sports and the game if baseball. Ideas of making the game more traditional, more sacred, more meaningful than just money-- giving fans more to root for.
This book gives some good suggestions on needed improvement in the MLB organization. During his speech at the Speaker Series he mentioned that a lot of the points that he brings up have been fixed since he wrote it back in 2000. I don't know baseball well enough to know what has changed, but I think that it is still obvious that there are franchises that cannot compete because of the amount of money demanded by the superstar/high quality players. Even though I am not a huge fan I remember when t...more
Jul 07, 2008 Dave rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans who think they've read everything
Costas takes on the problem of how to bring fans back to America's game. He made some decent points, especially about playing some playoff games during the day to lure the next generation, but for the most part his words are dated. As it was written in 2000, nowhere does the word "steriods" appear, and in the years since he wrote that has been the thing most purists find most offensive about the game. Costas' heart is in the right place but at this point there's little the game can do to save it...more
Evan Leach
A short but well-informed book, where Costas suggests a number of changes that baseball should adopt. Costas is a conservative fan, and by 'changes' he mostly means return to the way things were decades ago: no DH, day games during the World Series, and the elimination of the wild card. The years have dated this book a bit, as the sport has actually drifted in the other direction, but Costas' arguments are still well developed and his passion for the game shines throughout. 3 stars.
I read this during the summer of 2000 while on vacation in Florida. I didn't agree with all of Costas' positions (he makes a case for expansion while I am in favor of contraction), but he is highly reasoned in his thoughts. He solidified for me that he would make a wonderful commissioner. Yes, he has both the owners' and the players' interests at heart. In addition, he knows what is best for the fans.

A must read for all baseball fans.
I should have read this book about 10 years ago, but it was still intriguing. The only problem is that some of the things that Costas identifies as baseball problems don't exist anymore. One of his biggest concerns was parity and fairness, but we have seen a whole bunch of different teams do well and compete for their fans. Of course I would still love to see baseball implement some changes in capping salaries, but overall it was a fun read.
Very quick read, well written from a guy who really knows baseball and obviously loves baseball. This book is only for baseball fans but if I had any say in who the MLB commissioner would be I would vote for Bob Costas in a second. I really think he would do a great job in getting baseball to a point that is the most enjoyable for the fan.
One of the best books on sports I have ever read. Bob Costas takes some excellent topics in baseball and offers his opinion on how the handle. I thought his ideas were spot on, although I agree with him that many of them will never be considered. A must read for any baseball fan, even if you are not a big fan of him as a broadcaster.
I'm torn on this book. A good read, all about policy, which isn't too exciting. But interesting. Some of his concerns have been addressed, and I wonder how he would react to the recent string of low payroll teams in the playoffs... overall I'm glad I read it and got the perspective on the game and the changes as the century turned.
Marty Nicholas
$-Wildcard-$$-No pennant races-$$$...and did I mention MONEY. No wonder I've lost interest in today's baseball. And did I mention there are NO PENNANT RACES! Costas offers are great remedy, but no chance of it being implemented. Hopeless.
Bill Shannon
As much as I delight in the dysfunction of Major League Baseball, Costas gives a passionate plea to make the game more equitable. It's a manifesto that may have actually had an effect on the game over the last 10 years.
Costas is so obviously a fan of the game that it's easy to so how much it means to him. And he makes some strong arguments as to how to bring the national pasttime back to the prominence it once had.
One of my favorite sportscasters of all time. He knows his baseball better than just about anyone this side of Peter Gammons. The book is a little dated, but it is amazing to read his insight.
Excellent book about the economics of baseball, revenue sharing, and improving the competition within the leagues so that the teams with the most money (Yankees) don't win every year.
The book definitely doesn't stand up over time and the points could have been made in 100 less pages. Costas is a purist who likes to hear himself talk and doesn't like change.
not quite what I was hoping for. This book read more like a business analysis than a summer baseball read. Costas has some great ideas but the rich teams will never 'play ball'.
Kevin D.
I thought this was a good book and Costas makes good sense with most of his issues and solutions. Again, a 3.5.
Interesting look at some of the business end of baseball. The book is a little old, but still applicable.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 34 35 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics
  • Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame
  • Baseball
  • Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game
  • Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
  • October 1964
  • Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups: A Complete Guide to the Best, Worst, and Most Memorable Players to Ever Grace the Major Leagues
  • The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime
  • Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
  • Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America's Pastime
  • The Pitch That Killed
  • As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires
  • Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports
  • The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds
  • Living on the Black
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas is an American sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.
More about Bob Costas...
Bernie's Best: Favorite Sports Columns by Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Costas On Baseball St. Louis: For the Record (Urban Tapestry Series) Big Show: Inside ESPN's Sportscenter Slap Shot Original: The Man, the Foil, and the Legend

Share This Book