Written by the journalist Mario Salvini, it collects ten stories on the sport most loved by Americans. Ironic and moving, it’s a gallery of legendary characters, from Jackie Robinson to Joe DiMaggio
To paraphrase the preface, this is not a baseball book. At least, not only that. “The Diamond is forever”, book written by Mario Salvini – journalist of the Gazzetta dello Sport – published by Terre di Mezzo and in bookstores since September (294 pages, 16 euros), it is a wonderful novel about life. Inside are ten unmissable stories, which start with ten baseball giants – from Jackie Robinson to Joe DiMaggio – but become an adventure theater. And of pain, of victories, of smiles and tears. Of perseverance, as Salvini points out several times, insisting that in baseball it is constancy, humble but proud application, that makes the difference. Ah, the author forgive me if I write it only now: the preface is by Mike Piazza, for those who do not know him a player so legendary that in the thanks we read, “Thanks also to Bruce Springsteen … So much after thanking in person Mike Piazza, nothing seems more far-fetched ”.
the stories of baseball
Salvini’s book is a small gallery of humanity: the wall of racism knocked down by Jackie Robinson, the first black to play in the Major League; the constancy of Cal Ripken jr, the man who broke a record that was thought to be unattainable (and we won’t tell you which one …); Mike Piazza’s home run which for the United States became the symbol of rebirth after 9/11; the generosity of Roberto Clemente, one of the tragic heroes of this book; the “anger” of Billy Martin, the man who had learned to rebel against fate by fighting against neighborhood bullies as a kid; the elegance of Joe DiMaggio, because even the predestined come to terms with adversity. Here, this book is a list of human feelings, where sport, baseball, are just an excuse to tell them.
the magic of baseball
But the art of Mario Salvini is not just that of telling more or less known stories. As in the hands of a chiseller, the ten stories of “The Diamond is Forever” are enriched with inlays: parallel stories, anecdotes that are intertwined with the main story, small digressions on the Game, as the Americans call baseball. Here, this book is written as an American would write it: it is a treasure trove of quotes, of films around baseball, of books on baseball, of American customs explained to those who do not know them. If you go to work by public transport, this book will make you miss the stop; if you traveled by car, motorbike or bicycle, you will change habits just to read: “The Diamond is forever” will stick you to the pages with the same light irony with which it is written.
tears and smiles
Writing is the architrave of this little gem. Salvini is always next to the reader, a rare quality for those who write books. His writing is at our side as we smile at Yogi Berra’s rambling and precious maxims; accompanies us and caresses us while we are moved by the mocking fate of Roberto Clemente. Here, reading you never have the impression that you are “learning” something, but you feel you are traveling with the author in baseball, right there on the field, on the “diamond”. This book should be read for the sake of being fascinated, for that “reading for the love of reading” – Calvino forgive us – which is a bit like the heart of beautiful books, the secret chamber inside the pyramids. You thought you were reading about baseball, you will be reading about life.
The Diamond is forever; ten stories to fall in love with baseball
by Mario Salvini; 294 pages; 16 euro: Terre di Mezzo editions; with a foreword by Mike Piazza
September 16, 2021 (change September 16, 2021 | 17:36)
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“The Diamond is forever”: here are the stories that will make you love baseball