NEW PALTZ — Howard Good, a faculty member at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has written his fourth book, Diamonds in the Dark: America, Baseball, and the Movies.
Published by Scarecrow Press, the book examines Hollywood’s love affair with baseball, providing information on hundreds of films ranging from the well-known to the obscure.
“Baseball films are older that the World Series,” said Dr. Good, who teaches journalism in the Communication and Media Department. “The first World Series took place in 1903. The first baseball film, Casey at the Bat, was produced by the Edison Company in 1899.”
Good, who has taught at SUNY New Paltz since 1985, said this book was probably the most fun of his four to write.
“I took two things I enjoy — movies and baseball — and combined them,” he explained. “Of course, writing about movies and baseball isn’t the same as just watching them. I didn’t use them for relaxation and escape. Rather, I analyzed why baseball films appeal to Americans as a form of escape.”
Good’s book offers insight into the many ways in which baseball has been featured in films. It discusses the evolution of the baseball film genre, the symbolic use of baseball paraphernalia in films, and the various settings in which baseball has been played in films as well as the significance of those settings.
It also looks at the biographical films of the great ballplayers and the use of stock baseball characters like the rookie pitcher and the corrupt team owner.
Good argues that baseball films are only marginally about baseball. The films, he writes, are more about the human condition — male friendship in Bang the Drum Slowly, generational conflict in Field of Dreams, commercialism in Major League, and the erosion of childhood in Rookie of the Year.
Good’s previous books all dealt with journalism. They are Acquainted With the Night; The Image of Journalists in American Fiction, 1890-1930, published in 1986; Outcasts: The Image of Journalists in Contemporary Film, published in 1989; and The Journalist as Autobiographer published in 1993, which critics called “a groundbreaking study” and “a genuine and original contribution to the history of American journalism.” He is now at work on his fifth book, Girl Reporter: Gender, Journalism, and the Movies, which also will be published by Scarecrow Press.
Good has a bachelor’s degree in English from Bard College, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan. Before entering academics, he worked as an editor on the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina and other daily newspapers.
He and his wife, Barbara, live in Highland with their four children, Gabriel, Graham, Brittany, and Darla.
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