Here's our review of Kevin Cowherd's "When the Crowd Didn't Roar."

(Join the Great DMV BookClub each month as we read a book that is set in D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia! We reveal the book on the first Tuesday of the month on OCN and then review the book on the last Tuesday of the month. Join the discussion in the comments! It’s online, it’s free, and it’s fun!)

April's Book:

When the Crowd Didn't Roar | by Kevin Cowherd

One of the most impressive things about Kevin Cowherd’s fantastic account of the Orioles game held during the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore is the sheer number of people he spoke to while researching for the book. Their insight enriched the story completely. What could have been just a first-person account of this very strange game became something else entirely when written by a seasoned journalist like Cowherd. While on the outside, it may just look like a baseball book, it’s so much more than that.

During the week of the 2015 riots, I was in Texas, but I was following the events closely on television. It was so odd to see the city splashed across the national news each evening. I felt so disconnected from what was happening. Because I was away, I had no inkling of just how bad things were. Reading this book, however, provided insight into the minds of Baltimoreans and how this one event shaped the city moving forward.

I always find it interesting that games or matches tend to bring cities and countries together. For instance, "Miracle on Ice" at the 1980 Olympics or the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl after Hurricane Katrina. These small wins take on something more when you consider the events preceding them. It’s also true of this particular Orioles game. It was one game in over a hundred that season, but holding it in a quiet stadium, one that had seen so much turmoil, became a symbol of hope and resilience. The city would rebuild, and communities would begin to come together. It was a violent few weeks, but somehow a simple baseball game gave the city hope. And that hope is felt throughout Cowherd’s book.

Food for Thought

Here are my responses to our book club questions! I hope to hear from you, too!

1. If you're not an O's fan, who do you root for?

I am an Orioles fan and a Ravens fan. I always root for the hometown team. However, I must admit, I only really care about their progress when they're doing well. I am the epitome of a Fair Weather Fan.

2. Are you happy to finally see baseball season start, or are you just hanging on until the Ravens (and the 31 other teams) start their season?

While I do enjoy a good baseball game (especially the ice cream sundaes at Camden Yards – orange and black sprinkles ... how can you go wrong!?), I do prefer football. There’s more action and only a handful of games. Because let’s be honest here: I have a short attention span when it comes to sports. There are over 100 games in a baseball season. How is anyone supposed to focus on what’s happening in all of them?

3. What's one thing you love about the city of Baltimore? The city sometimes gets a bad rap, but there are so many things to love about Charm City!

My most favorite place in Baltimore is Little Italy. There’s just something special about that little area. It’s full of wonderful restaurants, with smells of garlic and tomato sauce wafting from their windows. My favorite, of course, is Vaccaros, the Italian bakery. Stop in for a cannoli or Éclair; you won’t be sorry! There are also families living there that have been there for decades. And in the summer they host the Italian festival with even more food and games for the whole family.

4. What's another good sports book about the O's or another team? I love a good sports book, but I tend to focus on golf rather than the team sports.

I’m not a big sports fan, so I don’t tend to read a lot of sports books. But When the Crowd Didn’t Roar is definitely going on my good reads list, because it was fascinating!

Check back next Tuesday, May 7, to see which DMV book we'll be reading in the month of May!