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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Lord of the Infield Flies is a non-fiction sports memoir written by Steve Reilly. This volume is a prequel to the author's previously published memoir entitled The Fat Lady Never Sings, which tells the story of the Derby High School State Championship team in 1992. When that memoir was published, several of his former players wondered why he had not written about Derby's 1977 team. This book focuses in particular on the games played in the summer of 1977 by the Derby Senior Babe Ruth Team. Reilly introduces the reader to each of his players from that season, giving details of their strengths and weaknesses on the field as well as insights into their personalities and interactions with teammates. Their 1977 summer was a challenging one, with their efforts against rival Torrington not the easy victory some had counted upon. Coach Reilly wanted the team’s summer experience to be a special one, both for the graduates who would be attending college in the fall and those still in high school. His first arrangement, for them to play in Cape Cod, fell through to universal disappointment, but then another opportunity came their way. The coach of the Maine Senior Babe Ruth state champs wanted some tune-up games before the championship tournament. He arranged a cabin for the team to stay in for the weekend. Some players turned it down, still smarting over losing Cape Cod, but those players who did take the drive up to Waterboro, ME had a weekend they wouldn't forget.
Steve Reilly's non-fiction sports memoir, The Lord of the Infield Flies, is a treat for anyone who's ever enjoyed a game of baseball or found themselves glued to the television when a game is aired. There's a lot of solid baseball action going on in this memoir. We see behind the scenes planning for batting lineups and watch as the players psych each other and the opposing team out. It's grand fun to read and, for a few hours, I was happily lost in two suspenseful games begun with a riotous road trip, broken by a confusion with lost players in Old Orchard Beach, and, yes, a lobster dinner. Reilly is a consummate story-teller. He had me laughing out loud when he refused to make a rest stop on the trip up north and cheering as the team strutted their stuff on the field. I haven't yet read Reilly's memoir for the 1992 season; however, after reading this book, I'm planning on diving into that one as well. The Lord of the Infield Flies is most highly recommended.