Ted Williams lives! “Extra Innings” gives Teddy Ballgame a Second Chance


The average pitcher’s odds of pitching a no-hitter are .000645 percent, or, ballpark estimate, rounded off: one chance in a million. In the spring of 1938, Cincinnati Reds’ rookie pitcher Johnny Vander Meer pitched two no-hit games, back-to-back. The feat has never been duplicated.

But now comes a rookie author who has tossed two perfect games in the same outing; Spitzer surpasses Vander Meer by creating an authentic baseball hero tale about a re-animated Ted Williams and a credible futuristic world in this entertaining “Second Chance/ What If?” novel.

Many baseball fans, especially citizens of Red Sox Nation, have speculated, endlessly, about this question: What if Ted Williams did not take time off from his baseball career to serve his country in WWII as a Marine fighter pilot?

And, writers from translator, Padma Sambhava [Tibetan Book of The Dead] to Dr. Raymond Moody [Life After Life] have provided insights into another existential mystery: What happens after we die?

Author Spitzer offers intriguing replies to these questions, as well as this one: What will our world be like in the year 2092? Ancient Red Sox “kranks,” current baseball fanatics and fans of the future will be impressed by how the author deep drills into vast research resources to provide a story that rings true on baseball, Boston, Ted Williams, existentialism, and the near future of our planet.

Speaking to the Boston Herald, Spitzer, 52, said: “In Ted Williams’ case, I loved the guy. He was obviously brilliant in so many ways, but he was flawed like the rest of us.” It begs the question: When Teddy Ballgame becomes the first Red Sox player to have his cryonically frozen head spliced onto the body of a recently-deceased young tennis star, does the Hall of Famer drag the dross of his flaws into his Man-given extra innings?

[FACTS: Although he had his father’s head frozen without Ted’s knowledge or permission, John Henry Williams tried to justify his decision, thusly: “He was very into science and believed in new technology and human advancement and was a pioneer. Even though things seemed impossible at times, he always knew there was always a chance to catch a fish — only if you had your fly in the water.”

Neuropreservation is cryopreservation of the human brain.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropreservation]
Was Sinatra right? Is life “lovelier the second time around”? Does a second bite at Life’s apple allow one to finally claim: “I did it my way”? Without requiring a “spoiler alert,” it is fair to say that, while it may be true that…
“After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same,”**
…during his fictional, mortal reprise, the Splendid Splinter discovers that you can teach an old brain some new tricks.
[**Paul Simon, “The Boxer.”]

Spitzer adroitly avoids the temptation to go all melodrama maudlin in his rubric-requisite “love interest” sub-plot, which plays a minor part in the masculine-appeal saga about a baseball icon and Marine war hero; although, as pilot “Caveman” Williams learns, there may well be women today, as well as in 2092, who served in the armed forces and love baseball, who will enjoy this novel just as much as the men.

What is especially noteworthy about this rookie author’s novel is the meticulous, nearly obsessive, attention to authenticity, particularly the fine grain details in the life of Ted Williams, the game of baseball, and the training and combat experiences of Marine fighter pilots.

Thus, it was not surprising to learn that Mr. Spitzer said he did “a ton of research with biographers,” and that he wrote his book in his spare time, over a period of six years. The descriptions of Ted Williams, the near-perfect hitter–his life, his personality, his speech patterns, his values, his attitude, his style–are “pitch perfect.”

The thematic thread stitches back to the neck of Mary Shelley’s monster Frankenstein [1818] and Robert A. Heinlein’s gender-spliced creature, Eunice, in I Will Fear No Evil [1970].

In the context of historic literary structure, the author runs in the “neo-modern” base path blazed by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., who was among the first to publish a novel with brief chapters, mostly three to ten pages. [SEE: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, 1965.]

Although Vonnegut was castigated by the literary establishment for his bold new chapter construct, it has become clear that he anticipated how media (with TV commercial breaks every 7 minutes) would accelerate the speed of information transfer and create a planet-wide social network of hyper-active information addicts with nano-second attention spans.

Today, we no longer wait all day to watch the “Evening News” in its limited temporal slot; we assemble our individual news, experience events “live,” follow the tweets and re-tweets of social revolutions, copy and save the present, babble on blogs and educate ourselves by Googling—technology has allowed us the freedom to become unlocked from time.

Amidst our electric, current culture, that has far outpaced the now passé FUTURE SHOCK world envisioned by Alvin Toffler in 1984, Spitzer adroitly tosses a perfect game double-header; he pitches with a ball with 91 meticulously stitched chapters, encapsulating his meaning within a 395-page span of white space from cover to cowhide cover; the statistical result is a well-paced 4.30 PPC average. (Page Per Chapter.)

The only question that remains about Extra Innings is: Who will play Ted Williams in the movie?

Williams might have selected the widescreen Marine in “Flying Leathernecks” [1951]; unfortunately, no one had the foresight to freeze John Wayne’s head back in 1979; just another example of the chilling reality: ‘Many are cold, but few are frozen.’
Extra Innings by Bruce E. Spitzer is published by Bear Hill Media, ISBN-13:
978-0-9849569-0-6; 412 pages; $16.95. It is available now on
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Extra-Innings-greatest-Cryonics-brought/dp/0984956905/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335285747&sr=1-2 The novel is available online or ask for it at a favorite bookstore. For a complete synopsis of the novel, news and reviews and other features, visit www.ExtraInningsTheNovel.com

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