Thursday, July 05, 2007

Book Notes

Some book-ish stuff:

:: I keep forgetting to link these reviews I wrote for GMR: The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock and Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling by Mitch Myers, WorldCon Guest of Honor Speeches edited by Mike Resnick and Joe Siclari, and (a recording, not a book) a double album by John Wesley Harding.

:: Good book on baseball, if you like baseball (or good books about subjects you don't particularly care about): Is This a Great Game or What?, by ESPN's Tim Kurkjian. If George Will's Men at Work made you want to open a window and turn on a fan (I did, and I liked that book), then this is the book for you. It's nothing more, and nothing less, than a 250-page love letter to baseball. What's different is the tone: it's genuine enthusiasm for the game and all its foibles, with little of the philosophical "baseball as metaphor for life" stuff that one often finds in book-length love-letters to the game. No sepia-toned descriptions of every deal Branch Rickey swung here; just one writer's reasons for loving baseball more than any other sport.

The best part is the funny anecdotes:

The funniest promotions come from baseball. The minor-league St. Paul Saints had Two Dead Fat Guys Night, which commemorated the lives of Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth, who died on the same day, August 16...But the Orioles blew a great opportunity after acquiring pitcher Daniel Boone, a direct descendant of the Daniel Boone. "I suggested instead of Cap Night, we have Coonskin Cap Night," said Doug Melvin, then the Orioles' assistant general manager. "I was told to stay out of marketing.


As pitcher Dennis Lamp watched teammate outfielder Luis Polonia butcher another fly ball, he decided, "If you hit Polonia a hundred fly balls, you could make a movie out of it, Catch-22."


Larry Andersen played all over the major and minlor leagues, including one season in reno. "Our clubhouse guy quit midway through the season, so, for an extra $10 a week, I was the clubhouse guy," he said. "I was a starting pitcher, I had time on my hands. But I'd be on the mound in the fourth inning wondering, 'Did I take the jocks out of the dryer?'"


When Rangers pitchers started throwing footballs before each game to strengthen their arms, I asked [Charlie] Hough if it was doing any good. "I don't know," he said, 'but we lead the league in third-down conversions."


I promised never to reveal the name of the player who was told in the early 1990s that Major League Baseball might be moving a team to Washington, DC. And the player said, "The league can't give Washington a team. It already has two teams, Baltimore and Seattle."

:: I'll flesh this out later on, but for right now, I'm becoming a huge fan of the work of Nick Bantock.

1 comment:

Tal said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nick Bantock. He is so wonderful, his writing is beautiful and his art is so can't have the one without the other with him and I love him for it.

Can't wait for you to flesh it out!