• Starting And Closing: Perseverance, Faith, And One More Year

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2012 · Comments (8)

    I just finished reading John Smoltz’ book Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year.

    I suppose that I should call it an autobiography. But, it’s not your typical sports autobiography – both in format and content. The flow to this one was very interesting – as well as the narrative tone.

    At times, Smoltz comes across as angry. Yet, other times, he’s playful. Often, he’s very hard-nosed. And, then again, very often John is highly spiritual. Through all this, John Smoltz is always insightful.

    It was amazing to read about Smoltz’ youth, passion for baseball and the Detroit Tigers, dealing with injuries and personal issues, his religious journey and his transformation from starter to closer and back to starter again.

    If you enjoy baseball books and welcome an opportunity to learn more about one of the best pitchers in the history of the game, I highly recommend checking out John Smoltz’ ”Starting and Closing.”  I’m glad that I read it.

    Comments on Starting And Closing: Perseverance, Faith, And One More Year

    1. Raf
      June 3rd, 2012 | 11:57 am

      That’s pretty cool. Smoltz never really struck me as the spiritual type. He did come across as fairly intellectual during his career as well as post career.

    2. MJ Recanati
      June 3rd, 2012 | 1:17 pm

      Smoltz was one of my favorite non-Yankees out there so I’ll definitely check this out. Like Raf said, he seems like a smart guy. I’m not terribly into faith bleeding into sports (and I tend to avoid books about faith) but I’m always willing to learn something new, especially if it comes from one of the greats, like Smoltzie.

    3. June 4th, 2012 | 6:46 am

      MLB – and the minors too, I suspect – is FULL of born-again Christians. I am surprised that more is not said about that – in terms of how it impacts the game, how management deals with it, etc.

      Then again, religion and baseball go way back. In the days of Tris Speaker, there were often cliques in the clubhouse where the Catholics and Protestants faced-off against each other.

    4. MJ Recanati
      June 4th, 2012 | 9:35 am

      @ Steve L.:
      That’s very true. I remember a few years ago there was a big feature on the new ownership of the Colorado Rockies and how they gently nudged — a polite way of saying imposed — evangelical doctrine into their team code of conduct and clubhouse culture.

      I even remember in the 80′s that people made a big deal about guys like Tim Teufel on the Mets being born-again and how the theory was that those guys lacked the passion to play hard and be part of a winning team. Obviously that thinking has shifted over time because, as you said, the game has a very large percentage of born-again and evangelical Christians playing in the game and performing well.

    5. June 4th, 2012 | 9:53 am

      This was the first I recall reading about it – the Giants “God Squad”

      http://www.nytimes.com/1981/05/10/sports/religion-becomes-an-important-part-of-baseball-scene.html

    6. MJ Recanati
      June 4th, 2012 | 12:45 pm

      @ Steve L.:
      Interesting. I hadn’t heard about that but it clearly does show that there was a time where born-again Christians were viewed as less fiery competitors. Tim Tebow, Ray Lewis, Gary Carter and others have changed that perception over the last generation or so.

    7. June 4th, 2012 | 1:21 pm

      No one is more religious than Mo Rivera. And, I would take him over any pitcher in baseball, in his prime, if I needed to get a big out.

    8. Raf
      June 4th, 2012 | 7:24 pm

      I remember reading about Bobby Richardson holding chapel, or something like that. Wasn’t Chad Curtis also a Born Again Christian?

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