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Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,059 Ratings  ·  51 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)
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(showing 1-30)
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Will Byrnes
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, baseball
Bob Costas, one of the smartest sports commentators of his time, makes his argument for revenue sharing in baseball and for the elimination of the wild-card from post-season consideration.

Basically, he claims that the vast income differential between the large and small market franchises means that small market towns will almost never have an opportunity to fully compete. He points out that in recent history the teams with the highest payrolls are almost always the ones in the playoffs. (There
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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...

Mark Ahrens
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
Kyle Kerns
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2005
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
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports-books
Classic Costas. Well thought out, ideas clearly presented, creative. I love his cases for MLB realignment, different scheduling, and revenue sharing.
Kevin Kirkhoff
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
Seton Catholic Central High
Fair Ball by Bob Costas

Fair Ball by Bob Costas showed me how teams really struggled with salary and retrieving players that would help them succeed. Some teams were more wealthier than others and that gave them a significant advantage over the other ball clubs. Teams that had more money got the best players and won the most games. These teams that had more money attracted these players because they wanted to make the most money in the league. This showed me how back in the day baseball was a ga
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, non-fiction
"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
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
Tom Gase
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"By the reckoning of those who defend the wild card, you'd somehow have twice as much drama if twice as many teams qualified for the playoffs. Those who accept that line of reasoning could just as well think that Casablanca would have been a better movie if there had been two Ingrid Bergmans. That way, one of them could have gone with Paul Henreid and the other could have stayed with Humphrey Bogart, and everyone would have been happy. (After all, both men "deserved" to win her love, right?)"
Randy Grossman
This is not a book about a broadcaster's memories of the sport of baseball. I got the book thinking it would be that. Instead it is Costas's view of the business of baseball around the years 2000-2001 and his thoughts on what can better some of the problems of the game. He was very negative about baseball having a Wild Card system for play off teams, looks like the sport opted not to listen to him. I'm glad baseball has this system, since it allowed my home team Pittsburgh to participate in the ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fair Ball: A Fan's case for Baseball by Bob Costas which was written in the year 2000 was his sound suggestion on how to fix what was then a very broken game. He actually got a ton right the three team five division format even with Houston switching leagues. Costas really uses this to start a much needed hard discussion on how to save the national pastime. I'm not a fan of all his ideas for change, but his call for discussion was needed more so then but is still needed now. As a nonfiction book ...more
Feb 18, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
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.
Bill Shannon
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, sweet-16-2009
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.
Jan 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jim Serger
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas is an American sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.
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