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Merrimack Valley

April 8, 2013

Library picks baseball story for citywide read

Haverhill native wrote about Sox, family experiences

LAWRENCE — Baseball fans have been getting revved up for opening day at Fenway Park, but there is another way area residents can get into the swing of things.

Lawrence Public Library has chosen the short story “Play of the Game” by Haverhill native Al Basile as this year’s citywide read for the library’s reading club and any groups or individuals who want to read it.

Mark Schorr, executive director of the Robert Frost Foundation came up with baseball as a theme for the citywide read. Louise Sandberg, archivist at Lawrence Public Library read three sports anthologies with 30 stories each to choose from.

“Ultimately I chose this one because it was less about playing baseball and more about human interaction between a man and his father,” Sandberg said.

“I got very emotional reading the story because of its content,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg, who has led a book club at the library for eight years, said the club will discuss the short story book. Basile himself will visit the last meeting of the book club April 22 at 6 p.m. at the El Taller clubhouse at 275 Essex St.

The short story is based in Haverhill about a father and son who bond at a Red Sox game. The story was published in “Further Fenway Fiction: More Short Stories from Red Sox Nation,” an anthology of stories edited by Adam Emerson Pachter in 2007.

“The reason why I chose Al’s story is because it really captured generational connections between Red Sox fans and how those ties mirror family strength through a shared passion of the Red Sox,” Pachter said.

Basile grew up on the grounds of Winnekinni Castle because his father Fred was park superintendent tree warden in Haverhill for more than 30 years.

An avid Red Sox fan, Basile remembers listening to the games on his transistor radio and playing ball on the castle grounds.

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