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Baseballs and morals
on 8 February 2013
Baseball fans or no, the best of the two short stories in this slim volume (a rarity with Stephen King) is without question "Morality". A young married couple is given the moral choice of going through with a nefarious deed for $200k by an elderly Priest. It smacks of Richard Matheson's story "Button, Button" (recently filmed as "The Box"), and is one of King's best stories in a while. It shows how a deed can change a person and how a secret can tear apart a marriage - moreover his characterisation of the Priest Winston is pitch-perfect as a tempter of sin.
"Blockade Billy" isn't bad but it isn't good either. It tells the story of a maverick unknown baseball player from the 50s who had a good season but had a dark secret that changed everything and ensured his name was kept out of the record books. The ending felt a bit incongruous and silly and Billy himself a bit of a cipher rather than someone you could see in your mind's eye.
At any rate it's a quick, one sitting read and an enjoyable read if only for "Morality" than the title piece. King fans will love it, short story lovers will find it so-so.