Wonder of wonders

October 31, 2014 · 0 comments

Not a hard-core comic book guy, so I don’t quite get why there are two new books about the breakthrough DC character — the 75th anniversary doesn’t come for another couple of years –  but in thumbing through Jill Leopre’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, I discovered there was baseball content in the second issue!

Here’s part of the synopsis for “The Earl of Greed,” as per Wikipedia:

Charged with the capture of Wonder Woman first out of Mars’ lieutenants, Greed set in motion an elaborate plan that included inspiring Hitler to raid hidden gold hoards of the American treasury. He also inspired President Deacon of Holliday College to kill the school treasurer and steal school funds, imperilling the school’s future and making the treasurer suspect until Wonder Woman entered a charity baseball game. Plans to kill Wonder Woman at the game with an explosive baseball and to use Holliday College as a base of operations for stealing the American treasury and sending the gold to Mars were both foiled. The Earl of Greed’s spaceship was destroyed and he fled to Mars on a slave-ship, hoping to avoid the God of War. However he was seen and sent to the dungeons.

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p13/NBerlatsky/baseball.jpg

She revisited the diamond in issue #78:

https://thanley.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wwnovick78.jpg

I know baseball has been included in other superhero comic books (as opposed to those strictly about real-life baseball players). Maybe one day some enterprising nerd will do a serious article on it.

http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/supermans.jpg http://www.billy-ball.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/SupermanBB.jpg
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/images/comic-covers/Pre-Crisis-Covers/1949/adv060s.jpg http://baseballcontinuum.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/screen-shot-2012-05-24-at-10-45-03-pm.png?w=584
http://www.i-mockery.com/shorts/worlds-finest/09.jpg http://cache.coverbrowser.com/image/adventure-comics/285-13.jpg
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Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message.

On with the show…

Here are the top ten baseball books as per Amazon.com, as of this posting.

Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.

Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.

Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way”, which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main. For the sake of brevity, I will be omitting the subtitles, which have become ridiculously long in in some cases in recent years, also at my discretion.

  1. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ScqmnZhDL._SL500_AA300_.jpgMoneyball, by Michael Lewis
  2. Derek Jeter #2: Thanks for the Memories, by David Fischer
  3. The Bill James Handbook 2015 (November pub date)
  4. Derek Jeter: Excellence and Elegance, by The New York Times (Pub date, Nov. 15)
  5. The Closer, by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey (Bookreporter.com review)
  6. The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, by Ian O’Connor (Bookreporter.com review)
  7. A Nice Little Place on the North Side, by George F. Will
  8. Sports Illustrated’s Baseball’s Greatest, Sports Illustrated
  9. The Mental Keys to Hitting, by H.A. Dorfman
  10. Core Four: The Heart and Soul of the Yankee Dynasty, by Phil Pepe

I wonder if the Wrigley Field renovations and the hiring of Joe Maddon as the Cubs’ new skipper has anything to do with the return of Will’s book to the list? Dorfman’s Hitting title appears much less frequently than his overall “mental approach” to the game.

Not on this list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Ya’ll are gonna do something about that, right? Only six (!) copies left on Amazon.

And if you have read it, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have :) .

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http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tRwL0mH08Yc/TJk8yTYmtwI/AAAAAAAAAoc/fuusp8upRfY/s1600/hhn7.JPGWhat is this, Sons of Anarchy?

Former major leaguer-turned-writer Jose Canseco accidentally blew off his middle finger while cleaning a handgun. Naturally, there’s all sorts of early speculation on the severity of the injury. Some source are saying only that he shot himself in the hand, without the particulars.

Another book in the future?

 

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Glasses and goggles have always played an important role in the lives of athletes, especially throughout the history of baseball. Over the years, countless baseball players have increased both skill and sportsmanship with the use of glasses, eventually transitioning into sports goggles. These glasses and goggles changed the way athletes saw the ball and reacted on the field, ultimately creating a more competitive and exciting atmosphere for both players and fans.

It was once considered embarrassing and unprofessional to wear“spectacles”during a game or sports match. In fact, many talent scouts would reject players based solely on the fact that they were wearing glasses. Some players, however, were willing to take the first step to incorporate glasses in order to see more clearly. One such player was criticized over and over again until an interviewer finally asked why he wore glasses during the game. Earl Torgeson, one of the early pioneers, replied,“Because I want to be able to see.”

The very first major league player who wore glasses was Will ‘Whoop-la’ White during the years of 1878-1886. Up through the 1920′s, only pitchers dared to wear spectacles, as it was still considered embarrassing at the time. These pitchers were the exception, as their vision was most important and required less running throughout the game. George ‘Specs’ Topercer of the St. Louis Cardinals was the first player to ever sport glasses while in the outfield sometime in the early 1920′s. This was a rare occasion that eventually shaped the way many players would address any eyesight issues in the future. Other notable players then began wearing glasses to improve their game on the field, starting first with pitchers and slowly working through the outfielders. Some of these pitchers include Mel Harder, Vic Sorrell, Nate Robertson, Brett Cecil, Kyle Farnsworth and more. Other outfielders then began wearing glasses, including Bob Dillinger, Dick Allen, the first American League MVP to wear glasses, Freddie Freeman, Darrell Porter, Chris Sabo and many more. Stan Lopata was the first national league catcher to wear glasses, becoming a modern pioneer for bespectacled players and fans around the world.

In the late 1940′s, shatterproof glasses were introduced to the market, making the acceptance of spectacles on the field more reasonable. By the 1960′s, it was estimated that nearly 20% of all major league players wore glasses while on the field. It was at this stage that the transition from glasses to goggles took place. The idea of glasses or spectacles being embarrassing had more or less faded, providing a more bias-free game for both fans and talent scouts alike. More and more major league players wore glasses throughout the game, some desperate for an alternative that would keep their eyesight clear while simultaneously allowing more movement and freedom. Sports goggles were then introduced to players throughout the world. Goggles provided a crystal clear image (using player specific prescriptions) that fit better, looked better and extended past the eyes, providing a clear image even with player’s peripherals. Many players took kindly to the idea of goggles, wearing them throughout games, practice and more. Players depended on the wide use of goggles to see the ball clearly, whether it was in the air dropping down in front of them or in the corner of their eyes.

Today, goggles have become a huge part of modern day baseball. Players throughout the world sport these goggles in order to see more clearly and provide a more exciting and dependable performance all around.

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When 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die came out last year, I had the hopes than in addition to being read just for the sake of reading, it might be incorporated into colleges and high school classes about literature, sports, humanities, etc. I still do and maybe someone out there reading this will think to pass it along to teacher friends and/or others who can make that decision.

With Ira Berkow, center, and Marty Appel at the Yogi Berra Museum.

John Sexton, the outgoing president of New York University (and coauthor of Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game, teaches courses on the national pastime. I would have loved to attend one, but they always seemed to be held on days when the newspaper was going to press.

Marty Appel, veteran PR guy for the NY Yankees and prolific author, literally wrote the book on the Bronx Bombers. His Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss was the first definitive history of the team in almost 70 years.

Appel will be teaching this one on days when I can go, so maybe I’ll see you there. (By the way, you don’t have to be an NYU student to sign up.)

 

Appel NYU class

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You ask, we answer

October 29, 2014 · 0 comments

In yesterday’s post about “Baseball and books — What’s the connection?”, a reader asked about the painting I used as a graphic element. Here’s what I found out thanks to the good people at lds.org, the website for the Latter Day Saints.

https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/images/gospel-library/manual/36907/joseph-fielding-smith-youth-reading_958931_inl.jpg

Their response to my on-line query:

“Young Joseph Fielding Smith Studying the Book of Mormon”, by Michael T. Malm. © Michael T. Malm
It is a wonderful painting and I’m glad I was able to follow-up on the artist.  I went to his website which features a lot of his work and a short biography:  http://www.mikemalm.com/

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Baseball Game of Thrones

October 28, 2014 · 0 comments

Proving that you can connect any two things.

Also an older link, which might have been more topical had I posted a month ago, but right now it’s down to Jaime Lanister vs. Bran Stark.

This worked out pretty well: GoT has a lot of royalty in it and also a couple of giants.

I must admit, I’ve never read the books and I gave up on GoT after the first season: just too many characters to keep track of. But for those of you out there who do, enjoy.

http://gamesofthrones.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Game-of-Thrones-Houses-infographic-Westeros-101-f.jpg

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If you have to ask…

October 28, 2014 · 0 comments

Still trying to catch up on some older links, but this one in particular caught my attention.

Nick Taylor, who blogs about books on the Palo Alto online site, asks “Baseball and books — What’s the connection?

[W]hy do readers prefer baseball?

It’s not a rhetorical question. I really don’t understand. It might have to do with tradition. But boxing is older. Boxing has literary cred, too. Hemingway, Mailer–these guys loved boxing and wrote brilliantly about it. Why don’t you hear bearded, beflanneled hipsters talking boxing instead of the rise of sabermetrics and the ethics of PEDs?

Maybe it’s the pace of the game. Baseball is slow. Gives you time to think. But so does golf. Seriously, golf? Where are the great novels about golf? Where is golf’s The Natural? Would anyone publish The Art of Divot Replacement? Would anyone read it? No!

I’m serious. Help me understand.

Anybody want to learn him your experience, as Yogi Berra (or was it Casey Stengel) might have said? You can reach him here.

https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/images/gospel-library/manual/36907/joseph-fielding-smith-youth-reading_958931_inl.jpg

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National pastime radio

October 28, 2014 · 0 comments

This was one of the questions on the latest Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me:

PETER SAGAL: Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week’s news. Amy, sports question for you. For the first time in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals have made it to the World Series but they almost didn’t make it all the way to the postseason. They had an early-season slump due to what?

AMY DICKINSON: Did involve birds?

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: No.

SAGAL: No. Could you give me a scenario in which birds would somehow…

DICKINSON: I don’t know. Due to more than just losing? A drought? It was…

SAGAL: How can I take batting practice when I need to grow my crops?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: A drought, she says.

DICKINSON: Tornadoes.

SAGAL: Why the bottom 40 is dry as a bone, coach.

DICKINSON: Then I got nothing, ’cause…

SAGAL: I’ll give you a hint. It’s like, the coach was like no, no, no, I’ll get to the stadium, but first I have to finish this level.

DICKINSON: Videogames?

SAGAL: Yes. They were all addicted to a game on their phones apparently.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: According to the Kansas City Star, the Royals suffered a ten game losing streak earlier this season after all becoming addicted to an iPhone game called “Clash Of Clans.” It’s sort of a war game. They caused the players to lose their focus before and after games, and even worse, they missed some of their schedules human growth hormone injections.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What’s amazing about this – and eventually the coaches said stop playing this game, and they started to win again – it turns out even professional baseball players find baseball so boring they’d rather do anything else.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It is strange though that they were distracted from their game by a game.

BRIAN BABYLON: So how does that make you lose a game?

SAGAL: Well, they were losing and losing and the coach noticed that they were all sitting around playing this game, talking about the game. And they were like guys, you got to focus on baseball. And apparently that snapped them out of the losing streak.

DICKINSON: Wow. That’s all it took? I got to try that. Snap out of it.

SAGAL: If you stop playing games on your phone, maybe you will be playing in the World Series?

DICKINSON: Right. That’s the only thing that’s been holding me back, obviously.

Have to admit, the World Series is a bit more exciting than I expected. I think part of that is due to the crowds at the stadiums, first in KC, then in San Fran. It’s certainly not the announcers.

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Bits and Pieces, Oct. 24

October 24, 2014 · 0 comments

Haven’t done one of these in awhile. Of course, I haven’t done much of anything for awhile what with working on the new non-baseball sports book.

So here are a few items from recent weeks.

NewBaseball If people knew how Michael Lewis got the inspiration to write Moneyball, I wonder if that would have made a difference.

NewBaseball From the Knoxille News Sentinel, this piece on Amber Roessner’s Inventing Baseball Heroes: Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and the Sporting Press in America. This will be one of the first books I try to get to after I finish my project.

NewBaseball The Antiques Road Show kicks of its new season on Jan.5, 2015, with a home-run appraisal of an early Boston baseball archive for $1,000,000.

NewBaseball An ancillary benefit to the KC Royals being in the World Series: it boosts attendance for the Negro League Baseball Museum.

NewBaseball http://media1.pblcty.com/4e1364cf-ceab-4e47-a2a2-0c5a5598dc79.jpgGood to know CC Sabathia was putting his down time to good use, writing a children’s book about Christmas.

NewBaseball I have to say, I’ve never understood the fascination with getting a celebrity’s autograph, especially if s/he doesn’t sign it specifically for you. Nevertheless, there are plenty who are into that sort of thing, so this is for you: From Forbes, an article on “Five Affordable Vintage Autographs Of All-Time Baseball Greats.” Of course, “affordable” is a relative term.

NewBaseball Kudos to Ed Prence, who won an award for The Last Perfect Summer, selected as Best General Fiction of 2013 by The Authors’ Zone in Pittsburgh.

NewBaseball Devra Maza, a “screenwriter, journalist and actor,” recently visited the Baseball Hall of Fame to present them with a copy of her poem, “The Great Greg Maddux.” While there, she did a Q&A with Jim Gates, director of the research library, which was published on the Huffington Post.

NewBaseball All due respect, I doubt that Roger Kahn’s recent book, Rickey & Robinson, will be “the final word on baseball integration,” as per this reviewer.

NewBaseball Matt Nadell, a 15-year-old from New Jersey, published a book geared towards his contemporaries in Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History

NewBaseball Roger Angell’s Season Ticket was recently chosen for “This Week’s Must Read” by NPR.

NewBaseball The San Antonio Express-News published this review of Bill Madden’s 1954. Here’s another from NorthJersey.com and one from the Defiance, Ohio, Crescent-News (provided by the AP).

NewBaseball A review of Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher, from Sports Illustrated‘s “Fan Sided” blog section

NewBaseball Paul Auster, one of my new favorite novelists, has some ideas about how to improve the game.

And finally:

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Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message.

On with the show…

Here are the top ten baseball books as per Amazon.com, as of this posting.

Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.

Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.

Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way”, which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main. For the sake of brevity, I will be omitting the subtitles, which have become ridiculously long in in some cases in recent years, also at my discretion.

  1. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ScqmnZhDL._SL500_AA300_.jpgMoneyball, by Michael Lewis
  2. Derek Jeter #2: Thanks for the Memories, by David Fischer
  3. The Closer, by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey (Bookreporter.com review)
  4. Derek Jeter: Excellence and Elegance, The New York Times (Pub date, Nov. 15)
  5. The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, by Ian O’Connor (Bookreporter.com review)
  6. The Bill James Handbook 2015 (November pub date)
  7. Sports Illustrated’s Baseball’s Greatest, Sports Illustrated
  8. The Science of Hitting, Ted Williams
  9. The Mental Game of Baseball, by H.A. Dorfman
  10. The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams, by Derek Jeter

The Times seems to have gotten it right (even though it’s not out yet to confirm) by waiting until his career was truly over before publishing their tribute book.

Not on this list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Ya’ll are gonna do something about that, right? Only six (!) copies left on Amazon.

And if you have read it, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have :) .

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Here’s my podcast listening schedule:

Wednesday and Thursday are used for whatever other programs are around that I pay attention to depending on the topi (Fresh Air, The Leonard Lopate Show, The Sporkful, The Gist, etc.)

One episode of the three “standards” will basically get me to or from work. And whenever they feature a baseball topic (much less likely on PCHH), I am especially tickled.

How how great is it that the past two episodes of EHG have featured baseball? In episode 46, Sarah Bunting and Joe Reid did a “fantasy draft” of FOX’s baseball announcers during the playoffs (Ron Darling was, indeed the darling of the group; Joe Buck, not so much). Bunting has major baseball chops.

On the current show, the led topic is the continuing downfall of The Survivor. Now I almost never watch reality TV, even when the “roster” includes a baseball personality, but I still take notice.In this case, it was John Rocker, who was recently voted off the island. Evidently he’s still a big a d**k as he was when he was playing. (Warning: If you’re going to listen to the shows, be aware that some of the language is NSFW.) I would respectfully disagree with the assessment of the EHG crew as to Rocker’s talents; Like him or not, for a while, he was a pretty solid reliever for the Braves.

https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/john-rocker.jpg?w=1000

Nice to know there are some things in this world you can still count on.

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Guest column: Baseball apps for the avid supporter

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Keeping inundated with all the breaking news in baseball can be hard going sometimes, especially if you source information from multiple websites. That’s why for efficiency purposes many fans are now relying on custom-built apps to get their daily fix of baseball gossip, results, or just simply general news. Sifting through a multitude of downloadable […]

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A literary substitute for actually watching this year’s World Series UPDATE

Annoucements

Update: A new title has been added to the mix and new prices are in effect. The changes have been reflected below. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding this year’s World Series match-up is less than a major rush. The folks at MLB and the rest of the media have their work cut […]

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The day the earth didn’t stand still

"Ripped from today's headlines..."

Last Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the World Series earthquake in San Fransisco which occurred just minutes before Game One of the face-off between the host Giants and cross-bay Rival Oakland As. And we have not one, but two documentaries to commemorate the occasion. One, The Day The Series Stopped, was produced under ESPN’s […]

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Baseball best-sellers, Oct. 17

2013 title

Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message. On with the show… Here are the top ten baseball books as […]

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“God and country…”

Author appearance

Although for me, it seems to be “Baseball and Food.” Next to baseball, I like to spend my copious spare time noodling around the kitchen. The Food Network comes in a close second to the MLB Network, et al, when it comes to appointment TV. And after the national pastime, my favorite reading material — […]

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Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hosts “The Mind of Mort Gerberg”

Annoucements

I don’t get to New York City much these days and when I do, it’s usually to attend an event at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse. Wish I could get to this one, though. I did a story about Gerberg several years ago when one of his collections came out. Unfortunately, it’s not on the newspaper’s […]

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Back (for the moment)

2015 title

“Been away so long I hardly knew the place,…” Haven’t forgotten my peeps. Just been crazy busy with my new book. Kind of interesting, having had the experience with 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die with it’s bipolarness — highs when the book was doing well and the interviews were frequent, and […]

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World Series special program: Jews and Baseball

2013 title

I know,I know. I have been remiss. Haven’t posted in a while. Just been so busy with the new (non-baseball) book. But I hope to find a few minutes here and there to keep you coming back. So here’s an announcement: the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center, located at One East 65th Street in Manhattan, will […]

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