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WEDNESDAY

Baseball awakens the nostalgic sensibilities of Americans for many reasons, but perhaps the most potent is the way the game builds its stars in the minor leagues. College (and even high school) basketball players can be superstars by the end of their freshman year; college football players have a smaller but no less powerful spotlight. And yet, despite the rise in college baseball’s prominence, the main work in shaping young baseball players is accomplished in tiny ballparks far away from the spotlight. Photographer David Deal’s new book, Prospects: A Portrait of Minor League Baseball, captures the intimacy and the intensity of that world in black-and-white shots redolent of hot dogs and spilled Cokes. Deal’s portraits of individual players are well-executed, but it is in his shots of both the cramped stadia and moments between the people who play and watch the game that his work truly shines. The former are subtle and powerful, essaying the scale of the minor-league game—a stadium curled awkwardly next to a bridge and river, or tucked into a valley like a tiny jewel. The latter are even more affecting: the twilight kiss between player and girlfriend near the dugout, or a rain-delay snatch of conversation beneath an umbrella (pictured). It’s highly evocative work. Deal will talk about Prospects at a baseball-themed evening, along with Ernestine Miller, a Baltimore sports historian whose The Babe Book is a romp through the career of baseball’s greatest character. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at Barnes & Noble, 12089 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Free. (301) 881-0237. (Richard Byrne)