Blockade Billy

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Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
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It's the voice in this one, just as the author suggests in the introduction.

This was my second reading of Blockade Billy and being familiar with the particulars gave me freer reign to listen, rather than to glean. It really is a story that you hear, more than read (or so it seems to me). I've always loved baseball and it is all wrapped up in a lot of my formative memories. Like the way men still wore hats -- not caps -- when I was a kid. And how, the first time I ever went to Fenway Park to watch Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli and Tony Conigliaro, I didn't really see the game because whenever anything exciting happened, everybody stood up.

Better even than the games, though, were the stories about the games. We had these neighbors back home -- the Yarnells, let's say -- who were old. Grandparent old, to my young mind, and with no children (and hence, no grandchildren) of their own. In that fine time there were still five kids in our family, and we each in our turn served as occasional surrogate grandchildren for Mr. and Mrs. Yarnell. I'm old myself now, and I am beginning to understand why older folks like having younger folks around, even though younger folks often tend to see it as duty, rather than fun (or even leisure). They would invite us -- almost always only the youngest, but sometimes two of us -- to share supper with them, or a matinee. Mrs. Yarnell would even take us to church sometimes, which paid off in ice cream after, but was terrifying to a kid (like me, for instance) who had no inkling what the actual service was all about.

Anyway, like a lot of old guys (again, me, for instance), what Mr. Yarnell liked to do was tell stories. And what he liked to tell about most was baseball. He told his stories the way most people beyond a certain age do. Everything was simpler -- and therefore better -- in his day. These players today, he would intone, couldn't carry water for the likes of Warren Spahn or Bob Feller or Ted Williams and a lot of other guys I don't remember. Mr. Yarnell was a taciturn man, or at least he always seemed that way to my child's eye, but he fairly lit up when he talked about those days. I suspect now that he may have fudged a bit about his own minor league career, but who can really say? What I do know is that he was at his happiest when he was spinning those yarns that didn't really mean much to me. I was just hanging around hoping to get invited to supper, because that usually meant some of Nell's (Yes: Nell Yarnell) apple cobbler and vanilla ice cream.

Now, of course, anyone can come to a place like this and tell a story that anyone else can enjoy or ignore as they see fit. That's okay, as far as it goes, but even now I can hear Walter Yarnell grumbling about how story-telling was better in his day. And that makes me smile.

That's what reading this story made me think of. Not baseball,

or oddly crazed killers playing baseball

but a guy who misses it, talking about baseball.

Good story.
 
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carrie's younger brother

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
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I did not like this one at all when I first read it as a stand alone limited edition book. I was very disappointed. Upon rereading it within the context of B of BD, I actually really liked it. I wonder how different it is from the original, if at all.
 

Sunlight Gardener

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2013
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I did not like this one at all when I first read it as a stand alone limited edition book. I was very disappointed. Upon rereading it within the context of B of BD, I actually really liked it. I wonder how different it is from the original, if at all.
It's completely identical to the audio book, which I have had for about 3 years.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
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Cambridge, Ohio
...as King relates in the Foreward to this piece, you can see the ending marching up Main Street with 76 trombones heading up the procession....that's not the point though....it was his fun in talking sorta literally about a sport he loves....and till I read it again-I didn't realize I had payed no mind whatsoever during my first frenetic run around the base path of words-that he HAD interjected himself as the sports beat writer in the story....I also liked it much more on the additional reading...
 

carrie's younger brother

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
5,428
25,651
NJ
...as King relates in the Foreward to this piece, you can see the ending marching up Main Street with 76 trombones heading up the procession....that's not the point though....it was his fun in talking sorta literally about a sport he loves....and till I read it again-I didn't realize I had payed no mind whatsoever during my first frenetic run around the base path of words-that he HAD interjected himself as the sports beat writer in the story....I also liked it much more on the additional reading...
Yes, I think I got caught up figuring out the story too much the first time I read it and ignored the telling of the story, which is really what Blockade Billy is all about. At this point, I can't even remember why I disliked it so much the first time.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
358,754
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Cambridge, Ohio
Yes, I think I got caught up figuring out the story too much the first time I read it and ignored the telling of the story, which is really what Blockade Billy is all about. At this point, I can't even remember why I disliked it so much the first time.
...for me, it was the narrative style that I got caught up in, rather than the substance...
 

Tropigal

New Member
Jan 5, 2016
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It's completely identical to the audio book, which I have had for about 3 years.
So I guess editors missed the blooper at least twice. I'm referring to the main charactor's hair color being "blond hair, just like a plow boy should", but also "the two kids matched up pretty well, anyway; blue eyes, dark hair, six feet tall." Or am I missing the part where he bleached his hair?
 
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Sunlight Gardener

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2013
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Heck I don't know. Guess I will have to listen to that part specifically the next time I have it in the old car player.
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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So I guess editors missed the blooper at least twice. I'm referring to the main charactor's hair color being "blond hair, just like a plow boy should", but also "the two kids matched up pretty well, anyway; blue eyes, dark hair, six feet tall." Or am I missing the part where he bleached his hair?
In Cujo Donna Trenton's eyes are described as blue in one place and gray in another. But this is not necessarily contradictory, and is a minor detail.
 

kellerjack

Member
Dec 28, 2015
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When I first read the forward to this one in Bazaar, I was like, great, sports. I hate sports. This was going to be boring. But I don't just skip over stories so I gave it a go. I really liked it! I'm actually very impressed that he made a non-sports fan like me want him to make it longer. The story was the center for me and the sports was the backdrop. And it worked out perfectly.
 
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Harmony Wellsprings

Active Member
Dec 10, 2015
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Toronto
I couldn't agree more, Kellerjack. I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to baseball, so the sports stuff kinda lost me, but it set the tone, built the anticipation & suspense, and paced out the story very nicely. I got most of it. What impressed me the most was the style. The author being a part of the story, using his real name, the natural language of the storyteller, the way the dialogue flows so seamlessly from a first-person perspective. It's clever. It's a story about baseball, which... meh, but it's also a favourite. Hmm, go figure.
 

icarus

Well-Known Member
Mar 30, 2011
125
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Im not a baseball fan (I should really watch some games) but I really enjoyed this story....It had a nice surprise ending and it was nice to see how passionate SK is about the game he loves....good story!!