Slouching Toward Fargo
A Two-Year Saga of Sinners and St. Paul Saints at the Bottom of the Bush Leagues with Bill Murray, Darry
By Neal Karlen
(Avon Books, Hardcover, 9780380974849, 362pp.)
Publication Date: April 1999
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In Slouching Toward Fargo, Neal Karlen describes his two-year journey with the St. Paul Saints--the most audacious bush-league ballclub ever to plumb the bottom of the pro sports barrel. A motley collection of has-beens, hopefuls, rejects and mutts who've all been ignored or banished by the majors, "Da Saints" have become a national phenomenon for playing with as much gust off the field as on, while proudly adhering to the timeless sports credo that it takes heart, skill and cheap theatrics to plant devoted butts in stadium seats.
Where else but in St. Paul could you find a 300-pound pig playing the role of a ball boy? Where else can otherwise normal fans do battle during the 7th-Inning Stretch while wearing giant sumo suits? Where else but in the Saints' ever-sold-out Midway Stadium can 6,329 die-hard fans get a back rub from a nun for $5 a pop? No gimmick is too weird for the Saints as long as it's fun--just what you'd expect from a club co-owned by comedian and team Czar Bill Murray and run by Mike Veeck, son of legendary promoter Bill Veeck and organizer of the biggest promotional disaster in the history of organized ball, Disco Demolition Night. With a small team in a small town, they've shown America that all the Bud Seligs in baseball aren't worth one pre-game Bar Mitzvah on the field.
And where but in St. Paul, just down the road from the rehab clinics of Hazelden, would you find so many second chances and even more last or only chances? Neal takes you into the dugout with the infamous Darryl Strawberry as he starts his comeback to the majors and World Series glory, and into the locker room with Jack Morris, baseball's biggest bastard and winningest pitcher in the '80s, who would one day vanish from the team without a trace. In this era of spoiled millionaire athletes and Big Business baseball, the pure, honest spirit of the Game is alive and well in America's heartland--if also a bit deranged.