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Extended Audio Sample The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime Audiobook, by Jason Turbow Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (963 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jason Turbow Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781455199228
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Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules—some of which are openly discussed, and some of which only a minority of players are aware. In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed and least known traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.

At the heart of The Baseball Codes are incredible and often hilarious stories. Tales involving national heroes and notorious headhunters—Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, and Don Drysdale, to name a few— reveal a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see the game as it is actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field.

With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, this collection of unwritten rules is a must for every baseball fan.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Delicious…Entertaining…The Baseball Codes reads like a lab report by a psychologist who has been observing hostile toddlers whack one another with plastic shovels in a sandbox.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A frankly incredible book—a history and analysis of baseball’s insular culture of unwritten rules, protocols and superstitions, assembled over the course of ten years…I can say without hesitation that this is one of the all-time greats—a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

    NPR

  • “If baseball players adhere to a series of informal doctrines, then consider Turbow the ultimate code breaker…Turbow pulls back the curtain and breaks through the game’s shroud of secrecy to deliver a grand slam of a book.”

    Associated Press

  • “A remarkably well-researched book, filled with intricate details of plays from the past 100 years.”

    New York Post

  • “[A] highly entertaining read…A comprehensive, sometimes hilarious guide to perhaps a misunderstood aspect of our national pastime.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Kramer’s reading crackles with excitement as he projects a wry sense of humor when recounting the ongoing foibles of ballplayers, coaches, and umpires attempting to uphold a set of unwritten, occasionally conflicting rules of deportment that govern baseball and constitute the codes in the title of this entertaining book. That Kramer pronounces the participants’ names correctly—even such tough ones as Napoleon Lajoie—is a rare treat…Kramer gives sympathetic voice to the mixed feelings of fans who feel that some elements of the game have been taken out of the players’ hands due to the policing of baseball. This insightful disquisition on the codes of behavior that govern the game and how things have changed over the years is read by a competent narrator who obviously understands, enjoys, and respects America’s pastime.”

    Booklist

  • “One key tenet of the code is that players do not talk to the media about it. But he gets around this by providing ample anecdotal evidence, gathered from game accounts and the words of players who have loosened their tongues over the years. The result is a delightfully profane work that is awfully fun to read.”

    BookPage

  • ABooklist Top 10of 2010: Sports Audiobooks

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alejandra | 2/12/2014

    " I'm a huge fan of baseball and was very interested in reading this book to pick up on "unwritten rules" I didn't already know of... But I found it to be such a difficult read for me only because it wasn't written as a story, but just statistics/scenarios one after another, after another... So, unfortunately, it was a little too daunting for me - it was like reading the stock exchange. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/11/2014

    " This is not for the occasional fan - you really need a strong grip on baseball terms, setups, and the ability to follow out (sometimes long and complicated) descriptions of plays. Still, engrossing if you're a fan of the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hyck | 2/8/2014

    " Great quick, fun read. Enjoy the real stories and explanations of all the quirky unwritten things that make up professional baseball. Makes me want to watch a game right now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jared | 2/8/2014

    " Great book for the knowledgable basefan. A very inside look at the Game. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Larry | 2/7/2014

    " Interesting anectdotes. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Luciazadroga | 2/2/2014

    " A collection of anecdotes, entertaining but not crucial. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Kilbride | 1/25/2014

    " This book was extremely informative and well-written. It definitely adds a new dimension to my understanding of the game and it's players. In the acknowledgements, Mr. Turbow said he'd had help whittling the book down to 25% of the material he'd gathered. Would love to read what didn't make the cut! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Du | 1/24/2014

    " This book is part baseball history, part collection of stories. I really enjoyed the narrative style, the looseness of it, and the simple nature. There are fun stories, and the toughness of the ball players really comes through. Overall the book is a great read for social history buffs or baseball fans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 1/20/2014

    " Being a fan of baseball, and a fan of the history of the game, I enjoyed reading about the "old" days and the respect for the game. If you are a true fan of the game, and enjoy hearing about what goes on on the bench and in the club house, this book is for you! Great book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Powell | 1/2/2014

    " If you like baseball you will love this "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mokieblylk | 12/15/2013

    " great stories involving the baseball codes from early days of baseball to the present days of baseball "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie | 11/23/2013

    " I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who isn't already a serious baseball fan, but I enjoyed it a lot. More hilarious than educational, but a lot of fun. Baseball players are crazy, man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deena | 10/17/2013

    " i listened to this book. it is a great read if you like sports, specifically baseball and what's really going on in a game. i love the history + true americana aspect of baseball and this book reveals SO much about all these things that the basic fan does not know is a part of the game. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas Graney | 3/29/2013

    " Not bad to pick up and flip through. Good stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 11/29/2012

    " Fiancee deeply into baseball loved it, monopolized it in fact so it had to go back to the library before I read it myself. He read me a few anecdotes regarding some pranks between teams. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin Camblin | 11/21/2012

    " Fantastic book. If you love baseball, you will love this book. The stories are funny and the prose is well written. And the conclusion sums up everything I love about the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 6/15/2012

    " Best reserved for true baseball fans who want to know more about what goes on in this wonderfully intellectual game. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keith | 3/3/2012

    " The Codes is typical sports journalism so the writing is only kind of so-so, but a deep dive into all of the games unwritten "rules" is pretty fun and very quick. If you're a fan, totally worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mr. Steve | 11/26/2011

    " This was dry reading in some spots, but definitely had some interesting stories that I did not previously know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 9/12/2011

    " A neat look into the clubhouse, dugout and otherwise behind the scenes. The next time I see a batter hit by a pitch, I'll probably spend a lot more time wondering about what's going on behind the scenes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug Dams | 6/15/2011

    " This is a book for the baseball fan. It's full of stories and anecdotes about the unwritten rules of baseball. It explains these rules through the anecdotes and the humor of baseball. It's a fun book to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 5/18/2011

    " A neat look into the clubhouse, dugout and otherwise behind the scenes. The next time I see a batter hit by a pitch, I'll probably spend a lot more time wondering about what's going on behind the scenes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 4/17/2011

    " Great read! Stuff I always wondered about: when to retaliate, superstitions, running up a score, beanballs, etc. Gets me excited for the 2011 season. Recommended! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 4/9/2011

    " This is not for the occasional fan - you really need a strong grip on baseball terms, setups, and the ability to follow out (sometimes long and complicated) descriptions of plays. Still, engrossing if you're a fan of the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monte | 4/4/2011

    " The sub-title says it all. This book was so much fun to read. I laughed out loud many times while reading it. If you understand the game of baseball and how it should be played, this book is a must. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jared | 4/2/2011

    " Great book for the knowledgable basefan. A very inside look at the Game. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/31/2011

    " You love baseball? You like to laugh? You like to read behind-the-scenes stories? READ THIS BOOK! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 2/18/2011

    " Loved the stories and the history but the author's writing style left something to be desired. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/12/2011

    " Everything is legal in baseball, even if it's officially illegal in the rulebook. If you get caught, stop, or there'll be hell to pay in the form of bruised up batters.

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 1/10/2011

    " I loved this book. As a die hard fan I thought I had an understanding of the "Unwritten Rules". I was wrong. Not only does this book give a glimpse of what those rules are but backs them up with historical examples. A must read for any Baseball Fan! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/5/2011

    " A well written collection of anecdotes, which provide some insight into the unwritten rules of baseball. If you like the game, you'll probably like the book. "

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About the Author

Jason Turbow has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SportsIllustrated.com, Slam magazine, Giants magazine, and Athletics. He also served as content director for “Giants Today,” a full-page supplement in the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two children.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received fifteen AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.