Ted Williams remains as much of a mythic figure in death as he was as a player. His stubborn personality and astonishing ability to hit a baseball made him an object of curiosity, admiration, and occasional scorn. This only grew in the wake of Williams’ death in 2002 when news leaked that he had been cryogenically frozen by two of his children; a shocking state of purgatory for such a legend. Author Bruce Spitzer has just released a new book, Extra Innings, which adds a new chapter and then some to the ongoing saga of Teddy Ballgame.
Extra Innings explores what happens in 2092, when Williams, through the ingenuity of cryogenics is brought back to life and resumes his baseball career with the Red Sox. Dick Flavin, the poet laureate of the Red Sox describes the book with gusto, “He’s baaack! Ninety years after his death Teddy Ballgame retakes center stage, swinging a bat for the Red Sox, flying jets for the Marines and swearing up a blue streak. If you like baseball, science fiction, or a good thriller, Extra Innings is the book for you. It is Shoeless Joe Hardy meets Isaac Asimov. No need to wait to see if the science of cryonics will bring Ted Williams back to life. Bruce Spitzer already has.”
Most baseball fans have a player from the past that they would love to see play for the first time or perhaps one final game. For me, Ted Williams is near the top of my list. Thus it is with great anticipation that I look forward to reading Extra Innings and experiencing that thrill through the imagination of Spitzer. The author recently took a little time out to answer some questions about his new book and how he came to write about such a unique topic. Make sure to pick up a copy and check out the story for yourself today!
Bruce Spitzer Interview:
Extra Innings is your first novel. How did you hit upon such a unique idea/story?: I have a degree in journalism and I have been a business writer my entire life. One night six years ago I was watching a Red Sox game and the announcers were talking about Ted Williams. In between innings I was doing a little channel surfing and landed on something like Discovery or the History Channel and they were doing a show about mummies and an afterlife. I put two and two together: the thought about the real-life cryonic preservation of Ted Williams and then I began to imagine a second life for him. Thus the premise for Extra Innings was born.
What is your background with baseball and more specifically the Red Sox?: I played the game only as a boy but I’ve been a baseball fan my entire life. I’ve circled around the Red Sox for a long time. In my day job, in addition to being the editor of a magazine, I’m a PR executive. I know sports reporters. I’ve run promotions with Red Sox players, been in the dugout, the clubhouse, and I’ve sat just about everywhere in the park, from luxury boxes to centerfield bleachers to on top of the Green Monster. My favorite thing in the world is to take my son to a game. After awhile Fenway gets into your blood. But I revere the broader baseball world as well. (I made sure to take my son to the old Yankee Stadium before it closed.) That respect for the history of the game plays out in Extra Innings and it is why it appeals to any baseball fan, not just those from Red Sox Nation.
What has the response been like so far for Extra Innings?: It’s been great. It seems to have caught the imagination of lots of folks. We had the book launch inside Fenway. The publicity has been fabulous—and not just in New England. It’s been covered in Sports Illustrated Magazine, appeared on the 32-story Reuters news sign in Times Square, and covered in news items as far away as Singapore—all in the first month of publication. Now my goal is to hit the road and go out and meet more readers. Check out the website, www.ExtraInningsTheNovel.com, to see some of the publicity and view upcoming appearances.
Besides finishing, what was the most enjoyable part of the writing process with this book?: (Laughing) Indeed, finishing was a highlight. However, so much of it was enjoyable and pleasantly surprising. For example, in the research phase I visited the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and, with white gloves on, went through a ton of Ted Williams’ documents and mementos in the library. One of the most interesting things I discovered, which did not make it into the novel, was how Williams wrote his Hall of Fame induction speech. Not quite written on the back of the proverbial envelope, it was written the night before on small stationary or a notepad from a tiny motel nearby. It was just like Ted to eschew the fancy digs at Cooperstown’s giant resort hotel and stay at a small place without a lot of hullabaloo. So much of the research and the writing were like that—it took me to unexpected places. Hopefully, readers are feeling the same. It’s what good fiction is all about.