Since 1995, the Indiana State University Conference on Baseball in Literature and American Culture has provided a venue for scholars to present their research on baseball as literary subject matter and cultural institution. Nineteen essays presented at the 2002 and 2003 ISU conferences are published in this work.
The essays demonstrate that baseball continues to engage scholars like no other sport, despite the game's supposed loss of stature as the national game. "A Field of Questions: W.P. Kinsella comes to Ithaca," reveals Kinsella as baseball fan and baseball writer. "?You don't play the angles, you're a sap': John Sayles, Eliot Asinof, Baseball Labor, and Chicago in 1919" examines Sayles' Eight Men Out in the context of both Asinof's historical account of the fix and Sayles' earlier and openly labor-oriented film Maetwan. "Is Baseball an American Religion?" considers three codified, sociological definitions of religion and demonstrates that to claim baseball is an American religion requires more than just a strong attraction to the game. "Baseball Immortals: Character and Performance On and Off the Field" analyzes how character and performance impact fan and media perceptions as well as in terms of a player's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. These are just a few of the essays, which cover a broad range of topics and take a variety of approaches to those topics.