Love or Baseball

11 February 2022

Love or Baseball?
by Jesse A. Murray
Published by Off the Field Publishing
Review by Toby A. Welch
$21.99 ISBN 9781775194613

This is not a claim I make lightly in the first quarter of the year – Love or Baseball? will be on my top 10 list of books in 2022. If you are looking for a gripping read that starts with a coming-of-age story that morphs into the turmoil of adult life, look no further!

In a nutshell, this book tells the story of a boy growing up with a father whose dream was for his son to make it to Major League Baseball. The boy lives, breathes, and dreams baseball. He has no chance to think of anything other than baseball. As often happens, he falls in love in high school and his girlfriend takes some of his attention away from the little white ball. As he finishes school and looks forward to what is next in his life, he is torn between his love for the sport and his love for his lady.

This book is a slow burn. Murray takes us through the years with no hurry in his pacing. Clocking in at 423 pages in the softback version, he has the space to make the slow burn work. Unlike so many writers who bore a reader with their slow pace, Murray pulls it off perfectly – kudos to him!

While this story is unique, it has a classic theme – do you choose door number one or door number two? As time passes, it seems inevitable to wonder if the decision you made was the right one. As we all know, hindsight gives a clearer answer to that question. But at the moment that the choice was made, you don’t have that knowledge. 

You do not have to be a baseball fan to love this book. I’ll admit I don’t watch or play baseball, I just know the basics. But that didn’t matter when I consumed this book. It is about so much more than baseball. You don’t need to know a thing about the sport to appreciate this read. 

Once you get to the end, make sure you read the Acknowledgements section at the very back of the book. It will fill you in on some vital details of Murray’s current life. No peeking!

I can’t recommend this book enough – Murray hit it out of the park! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist just one baseball pun.) It contains everything that a book you can’t put down should have: intrigue, a great plot, a love story, and characters that you actually care about. As a side bonus, I give Murray major props for picking a phenomenal editor as the grammar and spelling is spot on. I hope you love this read as much as I did!


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