As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber
Baseball has its fair share of books, but what about a book about the umpires? This is what reporter Bruce Weber sets out to do, starting with his stint at an umpire training school in Florida, and following with interviews with umps in the minor and major leagues. In between, he fills it out with some history (the changing strike zone, for instance) and recent events like the 1999 struggle between Major League Baseball and the umpires' union.
My dad has umpired Little League since I was very young, so maybe I'm a little biased when I say I thought this was a fascinating account of a part of baseball that's largely overlooked. As Weber makes abundantly clear, if umpires are noticed at all it's usually the shouted profanity type of notice, and little credit is given to them for keeping the game running smoothly and making good close calls. His conversational style makes the book run by fast. 4.5 stars.
Cross-posted at Born Reader.