"Once again, Platt keeps the plot moving, the bases loaded, and the pages turning.
You know they are going to run around the field a few times before all is said and done,
but it all comes out to another home run for us, the readers of these fe-as-kos."
"Only in America: this loopy hybrid of old-time baseball and home on the range,
filled with characters who put the 'fun' back in dysfunctional, and told in a leisurely,
vernacular style that will probably do wonders for your blood pressure."
—Tacoma News Tribune
"Hilarious high jinks."
At the turn of the 20th century, baseball out West was still very much a frontier. Barnstorming was the principal way cowboys and farmers discovered the game.
In Randall Beth Platt's seventh novel, The 1898 Base-Ball Fe-As-Ko, all it takes for Leviticus to become obsessed with The Game is watching two boys play catch with a baseball. But having inherited a ranch, Levi can do more than the average newcomer to America's pastime: not only can he join a team, he can be wrangled into buying a team for himself.
The team Leviticus brings back with him to the Four Arrows Ranch, the Bowery Bulldogs, is every bit as down on its luck as its name proclaims. The Bulldogs have come down professionally as far as they've come geographically: from the center of the universe (or so they think) to the middle of nowhere, that is, the northeast corner of Oregon. And they've gotten there through the seductive connivings of one Augusta Gallucci Chumsky Wainwright Carter, the "sister-half-in-law" of Royal Leckner, Four Arrows' foreman and charming, word-coining narrator of this and two earlier Fe-As-Kos by Randi Platt.
Fat, drunk, and lacking in self-confidence as the Bulldogs are, Royal and his wife, E.M., believe they can be put back on the road to success. And the team does rise through increasing victories against local yokels to finally taking on, and even beating, city teams.
But the opponents are sometimes the least of their troubles, because there are lots of other obstacles along the steep path the Bulldogs have to climb, principally a past baseball scandal involving the team's coach, the inability of the pitcher (none other than Levi himself) to get the ball over the plate without his wife's presence, and, of course, Augusta. Thank goodness for the unusual statistical-predicting skills of Levi's wife, Lou(ella)!
All the plot lines converge on home plate, and Royal is right there taking the brunt of the collision.
$24 cloth, 300 pages, ISBN 0-945774-47-8. Also available in an audio edition.
Click here to read the first two chapters of The 1898 Base-Ball Fe-As-Ko.