Finding America in a Minor League Baseball Park

A Season Hosting for the Durham Bulls

A baseball sitting on top of some grass.

Finding America in a Minor League Ballpark

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About the Book

Over forty million people attend minor league baseball games each season. Who are they? Why do they come? What happens in the stands?

Noted social scientist Harris Cooper took a job as a Seating Bowl Host for the most famous minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls. As a host, he helped fans find seats and other stadium amenities, made sure everyone was safe, took pictures, and chased kids from the aisles. He got to talk with a wide-ranging assortment of people, from regular attendees to those at their very first baseball game, from retired judges to middle school students.

Minor league baseball games draw a broader array of Americans than any sport. The fleeting moments spent talking baseball with the fan sitting next to you or with a ballpark employee disguise the remarkable variety of people who call themselves "baseball fans." Dr. Cooper brings these people to life.

Throughout the book, Dr. Cooper draws on his knowledge of social science to extract from his experiences a description of the inhabi­tants and goings-on at a ballpark. It illuminates not just baseball writ large, but also provides a compelling portrait of Americans as a people and their shared love of our national pastime.

A baseball glove and ball in the grass.

In the Book You Will Find

  • A description of what goes on in the ballpark
  • A brief history of minor league baseball, the Bulls, and the city of Durham, so typical of small American cities
  • Profiles of the ballplayers, focusing not on their on-field statistics but on who they are and where they come from
  • Pro­files of twelve baseball movies, all of which focus on baseball not played in the major leagues
A man with long beard and blue jacket.

Meet The Author

Harris Cooper is the Hugo L. Blomquist Distinguished Professor of Psychology & Neuro­science, Emeritus, at Duke University. At Duke, he served as chair of two departments and as the Dean of the Social Sciences for the College of Arts & Sciences, helping administer the departments of history, sociology, political science, and cultural anthropology, among others. He is a Gold Chalk Award winner for Excel­lence in Graduate Education. Dr. Cooper is also the author of American History Through a Whiskey Glass: How Distilled Spirits, Domestic Cuisine, and Popular Music Helped Shape a Nation. He has been an avid baseball fan since growing up in the shadow of Yan­kee Stadium.

Praise for Finding America