Fascinating ... He’s careful not to call his book a definitive or chronological history, but rather, as the book’s subtitle suggests, 'a history.' There are no game-by-game breakdowns or lengthy profiles of famous players. Instead, Kepner intentionally divides the book into seven sections, each focused on a narrow theme, to examine the Series in a novel way ... Myth-shattering ... The Grandest Stage is not exactly a book for baseball neophytes, but it is a quirky and engrossing celebration of the Series. Throughout, Kepner’s love of the game is infectious. His passion and experience as a sports columnist come together to make each story lively and compelling.
It may remind older readers of baseball’s once-upon-a-time glory and nudge younger ones to stay up late and watch a sports drama that doesn’t involve running backs crashing into immovable walls of defenders and Brobdingnagian figures entering the concussion protocol ... The format allows Mr. Kepner to sweep in details and dramatic moments from Series across the decades. The effect is akin to a veteran reporter reviewing his week’s scrawlings, finding the appealing bits and pieces he has collected along the way, and sprinkling them into an inviting Sunday notes column ... Mr. Kepner is an enlightened and enlightening tour guide, as befits a writer who, he tells us, has seen every Series game for two decades.
I have one beef with Kepner. He focuses almost entirely on the games and the players, and not enough on the fans and their communities ... Still, this book is full of lively incidents and insights, and one question it tries to answer is: Why do certain stars shine brightest on the grandest stage?