• I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back: 30 Games In 30 Days On The Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever

    Posted by on May 9th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    I just finished reading “I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever.”

    It’s the story of two recent college grads who set out on a quest to visit every major league park – and there are 30 of them! – within a span of 30 days..with the condition that they are inside the ballpark for every pitch of the game. This means, they are there for the first pitch and the last pitch – and everything in between, no matter if there is a rain delay, extra innings, or if the game is a blowout.

    At first blush, most diehard baseball fans would say “Dang, that’s so cool. Sounds like a dream come true!” But, it’s really not a dream trip…not even close.

    Considering leaving one ballpark and then driving 16 and a half hours straight, with no stay over, to just make the next ballgame in another state…hoping, all the way, that some traffic nightmare doesn’t mess with your estimated time of arrival. Picture yourself having to drive from Chicago to Florida during the Storm of the Century because you can’t afford to miss the next destination. Imagine yourself being minutes away from one of your final stops, with just minutes to spare, and not being able to get across the street because of a Gay Pride parade closing all pedestrian crossings. There’s a lot of stress in trying to pull something like this trip off…and being successful.

    Yet, this book is also full of good humor and the story of a wonderful friendship between two guys who are far from being alike. It’s cleverly written, nicely paced, and a very nice read (for all baseball fans).

    I was very happy to have read “I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever” – and I highly recommend this book.

    Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball

    Posted by on April 10th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    I just finished reading John Feinstein’s Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball.

    In this book, Feinstein focuses on the stories of eight primary real-life characters (players, managers and an umpire) during the 2012 Triple-A season. And, in doing so, he gives us an incredible window into what life is like just below the major leagues.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Feinstein is a story-teller extraordinaire. And, I highly recommend his latest work.

    Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball is not only one of the best baseball books of 2014, but, I would consider it as one that must be included in any “Essential Baseball Library.”  Any and every baseball fan will find it to be a page-turner that they cannot put down.

    They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived

    Posted by on March 15th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    I just finished reading “They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived” by Doug Harvey (with Peter Golenbock).

    Now, I knew about Doug Harvey’s nickname (God). And, I suspect that most who were baseball fans during the 1970′s and 80′s would know about it. Yet…still…when I saw the title of the book, my first thought was “Oh boy…this is going to be an ego trip.”

    And, while Harvey is far from a shrinking violet, I found this to be a very easy to read, enjoyable and entertaining book.

    In addition to sharing information about his hard upbringing and the unconventional way he became a major league (and Hall of Fame) umpire, which was interesting, “They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived” is full of fun dirt…on league officials, other umpires, managers and players.

    I’ve always thought that umpires had the best stories to tell – and this book is a great example on how that can be true.

    It’s an engaging and breezy read. It’s much like just listening to an old-timer rattle on with great stories. If you’re a baseball fan, I highly recommend checking out “They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived.”

    The Most Wonderful Week Of The Year

    Posted by on February 12th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    I just finished reading Roy Berger’s “The Most Wonderful Week of the Year.”

    If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend one of those fantasy baseball camps, this is the book for you! And, Berger shares his experiences at camps for the Pirates, Tigers and Yankees. So, you get an idea on what it’s like with different teams.

    Granted, this is not Ball Four or Moneyball. But, “The Most Wonderful Week of the Year” is entertaining, insightful and at times very funny.

    This is a quick read. Yet, it’s very enjoyable. In fact, I didn’t want it to end, when I finished it.

    I highly recommend checking out “The Most Wonderful Week of the Year.” If you’re a baseball fan, you will find a lot in this book to make it worth your time.

    HalfLiner Scorebook

    Posted by on August 7th, 2013 · Comments (9)

    This is really cool if you like to score professional games.  But, unless I am missing something, it’s not useful for youth leagues where they often bat more than 9 players in a line-up.

    On The Field Of Play

    Posted by on July 16th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Check out this new blog.

    When you comment there, be sure to say that Steve sent you!

    Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, And Heartbreaking World Of Fantasy Sports From The Guy Who’s Lived It

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2013 · Comments (1)

    For years, I always thought that Sam Walker’s “Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball’s Lunatic Fringe” was the best fantasy sports book ever written. And, I would still say that it’s the best fantasy baseball book ever written.

    But, now, for the claim of best overall fantasy sports book, ever, I have to throw Matthew Berry’s new book, “Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It,” right in there.

    If Berry’s book is not now the best ever, it’s certainly in the team picture.

    Part memoir and part fantasy sports tales anthology, Fantasy Life is a wild and fun ride. If you’re a fantasy sports addict or once was one, you’ll see yourself and your friends from your league in this book.

    For 12 years (from 1989 through 2000) I served as a commissioner (and franchise owner) in what many would consider an intense fantasy baseball league. After a dozen seasons of serving as a fervent rotisserie den mother, I suffered from severe burnout and quit the game, cold turkey, following the 2000 campaign. But, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have great memories from that time…as well as some wacky tales about things that happened and which we (fellow owners) did to each other. And, reading Fantasy Life brought me back to all those good times.

    Some may consider this book to be a little heavy on the fantasy football side. But, that’s a small quibble considering how much I enjoyed Fantasy Life. Again, if you’re into fantasy sports, you owe it to yourself to get this book. And, maybe sure you get a version with the photos. Those are part of the fun.

    Knuckleball!

    Posted by on June 13th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    I saw most of this one tonight on Showtime. It was very well done and recommend watching it.

    John Wooden & Baseball

    Posted by on June 1st, 2013 · Comments (1)

    This is a fun and recommended read.

    Book Review: Craig Carton “Loudmouth”

    Posted by on May 24th, 2013 · Comments (7)

    I just finished reading Craig Carton’s “Loudmouth” (which will be released to the public on June 4th).

    If you don’t know who Craig Carton is, then I supposed you don’t live in the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State area and/or are not into sports. And, for those not aware of Carton, think “What would happen if you mixed Howard Stern with Mad Dog Russo and then sprinkled in a little Morton Downey Jr. and Howard Cosell?”

    And, then, when you finally have that in your head, give the guy ADD, OCD, Tourette’s and the disadvantage of growing up in a dysfunctional family. And, that’s Craig Carton. However, that’s only part of it – because the rest of the story is how Carton became one of the most successful radio personalities currently on the air. And, he’s very funny.

    It’s been said that someone in Craig’s business needs to have “POKE” – meaning they must have “Personality, Opinion, Knowledge and provide Entertainment.” Well, Carton’s got all that – and then some.

    Back to the book, “Loudmouth” is a breezy read. I ripped right through it. That said, it was very interesting to learn how Carton grew up and then built his career. And, it’s a very funny read – full of juicy stories and view-points.

    This is not one for the kids. But, whether you love him, hate him, or don’t know him, if you’re a fan of sports talk radio and wild times, you’ll enjoy reading Craig Carton’s “Loudmouth.”

    Lee Sinins’ Complete Baseball Encyclopedia

    Posted by on May 9th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    The new edition of Lee Sinins’ Complete Baseball Encyclopedia is now available and can be ordered here. Lee’s CD is an incredible research tool which is easy to use and a source of great pleasure, in case you were not aware.

    The American Public’s Perception Of Illegal Steroid Use

    Posted by on May 6th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Click here to see it.  Use the comments section herein to discuss it.

    Insider Bat

    Posted by on April 30th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Interesting…

    But, for $54? I’d like to see it closer to $39.99, before I gave it a try.

    42 (Review)

    Posted by on April 21st, 2013 · Comments (4)

    I took my 9-year old son to see “42″ this afternoon.

    I sincerely enjoyed this movie. It’s a beautiful film. I was surprised to see so many familiar actors in it. And, they all did an excellent job. More so, the entire movie was a pleasure on the eyes. The only semi-beef that I have is that I thought the CGI of the Polo Grounds looked phony. But, for all the other parks, it was very well done and believable.

    If I had to rank “42″ in terms of my favorite all-time baseball movies, it probably wouldn’t crack my “Top 5,” but, for sure, it would be in my “Top Ten” and sincerely knocking on the door of the “Top 5.”

    I found the storyline of the movie to be very respectful to actual history. And, it was moving.

    I wish this one was coming out on DVD tomorrow – because I want to see it again, and, soon. Without question, this will be one of those baseball movies that I will repeatedly watch and not grow tired of seeing it.

    One of my all-time favorite players in baseball history is Rickey Henderson. I remember watching Rickey in the late ’80′s playing for the Yankees, leading off second base, and laughing at the pitcher holding him, toying with him, because Henderson knew that he could steal third whenever he wanted and no one was going to stop him. He was an absolute disruptive force on the base-paths.

    For all reports, Jackie Robinson was that same sort of terror on the bases. And, I wish that I could have seen him, live, in his prime. In any event, if watching “42″ is the second best alternative, it’s a great deal.  I highly recommend this film.  And, I hope it wins a bunch of Hollywood awards.

    Speed Hitter

    Posted by on April 21st, 2013 · Comments (0)

    I get the point where it could show you where you are casting. But, I am not sure about how it shows you the point of contact. Maybe when you hear the click it tells you that the contact point was a second or so just before that?

    In any event, seems like the Rays are having fun with this one:

    How Many Altuves?

    Posted by on April 8th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Awesome.

    Nailed!: The Improbable Rise And Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra

    Posted by on April 7th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    I just finished reading Christopher Frankie’s Nailed!: The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra.

    This is a fascinating story.

    Most everyone knows about Lenny Dykstra the baseball player. And, many know about his post-playing career run owning car washes and as a stock prognosticator – thanks to a now famous HBO Sports segment on him. And, if you’re paying attention to the news, you may know that he landed himself in a lot of trouble with his actions.

    Nailed is the inside scoop on all this – via Chris Frankie (who worked side-by-side with Lenny Dykstra as editor of The Players Club, Dykstra’s high-end lifestyle and finance magazine).

    Dykstra, to be polite, is a character. His antics, as reported in the book, will have you in amazement. Even more so, it’s astonishing to see how many took his bait and allowed themselves to follow him (getting nothing, but aggravation and financial hardship, in return).

    Seriously, as you read this book, you will find yourself having “WTF!?” moment, after moment, as you learn about how Dykstra acted and conducted his business.

    I truly enjoyed reading Nailed!: The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra. Yes, it may fall more under the category of “Guilty Pleasure” in terms of following along – because it is somewhat of a freak show. But, man, it was some ride. And, I recommend checking this one out.

    Closer: Major League Players Reveal The Inside Pitch On Saving The Game

    Posted by on March 24th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    I recently had a chance to check “Closer: Major League Players Reveal the Inside Pitch on Saving the Game” by Kevin Neary with Leigh A. Tobin.

    Here’s a description of it from the publisher:

    The closer is the ace reliever who specializes in closing out the game without surrendering the lead. Facing a power hitter in the ninth inning with a man on base and no outs takes nerves of steel. The pressure on the mound is intense. It takes a special breed to hold it together in these situations. Legendary manager Tony LaRusso said “Sure, games can get away from you in the seventh and eighth, but those last three outs in the ninth are the toughest.” It wasn’t until the creation of “the save,” the successful maintenance of a lead by a relief pitcher, in 1960 that the position of closer began to rise in prominence. Today, closers are seen as some of the most intense athletes in all of sports. Neary and Tobin explore the unique personalities of major leagues’ most prominent relief pitchers from Bruce Sutter (Cubs, Cardinals, and Braves) to Mariano Rivera (Yankees). Closer is an insider’s look into the role of the closing pitcher, how the position has evolved, and how legends—Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Mariano Rivera, Brian Fuentes, and many more—coped with the stress on the mound such as when facing the .340 batter in the bottom of the ninth with only a one run lead.

    Reading through the book, it brought be back to when I was much, much, younger – reading about players in Baseball Digest, during the 1970′s. I could easily see each “capsule” on a particular closer from the book appearing as a feature in Baseball Digest. They were really on par with that style and reading level. (Related, if you have a pre- or early teen that you know who loves baseball, this could be a book that’s great for them.)

    Related, for a review that SB Nation did on the book, click here. And, click here to read what BenchTrading.com “said” about the book.

    Lastly, Neary and Tobin also gave us “Major League Dads” – which I found to be very good.

    Long Shot

    Posted by on March 20th, 2013 · Comments (3)

    To be candid, when I was first approached about reviewing Mike Piazza’s autobiography “Long Shot,” at first blush, my reaction was: Do I really want to read this one?

    But, I gave it a shot – no pun intended – and, was I surprised!

    Piazza pulls no punches with “Long Shot.“  He’s brutally honest about himself – sharing that he was, at times, self-centered, surly, and often angry. Yet, don’t take that to mean that his book is a vent and bitch-fest. It’s also full of some very insightful and entertaining stories.

    It’s amazing how hard Piazza’s father had to fight to get him into a college, then drafted, and later signed. And, once that was done, it became a target on Mike’s back for a long time. It’s also very interesting to see how the relationship between father and son changed over time.

    And, with this book, Piazza addresses everything – including Sam Champion and Murray Chass (although the latter not directly by name).

    Bottom line, “Long Shot” is a “page turner.” It’s one of the better baseball autobiographies that I’ve read in quite a while. Without reservation, I highly recommend this one – and you don’t have to be a Piazza, Mets or Dodgers fan to enjoy it.

    I may have been unsure if I wanted to read Long Shot” when the chance first presented itself to me. But, that changed in hurry as I started to get into the book. And, I am very happy, now, that I had the chance to read it.

    Seamheads.com Ballparks Database

    Posted by on March 20th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Very nice.

    Cooperstown By Math

    Posted by on March 11th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    It’s a clever idea for a site.

    It’s A Stick & A Tube

    Posted by on March 10th, 2013 · Comments (14)

    I saw a commercial for this one when my kids were watching one of their channels.  (I think it was Disney.)

    I understand the concept that a dugout or weighted bat could lead to some bad habits.  But, I’m not sure this is the answer either…

    Attaboy!

    Posted by on March 8th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    What’s not to like about an 8th grader who loves baseball history and blogs about it?

    Hank Greenberg: The Hero Of Heroes

    Posted by on March 6th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    I have been reading John Rosengren’s new book “Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes” and I am loving it, so far.

    I’m about 20% done with it now and can already share that “Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes” is an excellent read. It’s an amazing story and Rosengren’s book is well researched, educational, entertaining and a very pleasant reading experience. But, this is not shocking to me, since I found John’s attention to detail with respect to his story-telling to be outstanding in “Hammerin’ Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year That Changed Baseball Forever” as well.

    I realize that I am jumping the gun a bit posting this review before I am done with the book. But, I couldn’t wait to get the word out on this one since it was released to the public yesterday. Also, Rosengren will be doing a series of events to promote the book that I wanted to share (before it was too late). Here they are:

    Minneapolis/St. Paul

    •  Magers & Quinn, March 6, 7:00 p.m.
    •  Subtext, March 13, 7:00 p.m.
    •  The Bookcase, March 14, 7:00 p.m.

    Washington, D.C.

    •  DC Jewish Community Center with Aviva Kempner, April 4, 7:30 p.m.

    Los Angeles

    •  LA Times Festival of Books, April 20-21

    New York City

    •  Bergino Baseball Clubhouse with Aviva Kempner, April 25, 7:30 p.m.
    •  Yogi Berra Museum (Montclair, NJ) with Aviva Kempner and Steve Greenberg, April 26, 12 p.m.
    •  The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan with Aviva Kempner, April 26, 6:00 p.m.

    Cooperstown

    •  National Baseball Hall of Fame, May 18, 1:00 p.m.

    For more information, check out the site for the book.

    Based on what I have read so far, I would say that “Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes” is a must read for the baseball history fan, a highly recommended read for every baseball fan, and a book that you will want to have in your baseball library. And, even if baseball is not your passion, but, you are someone who enjoys reading about American history, you will find enough in this work to make you happy that you’ve read it.

    OnlineSports.com

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Never, ever, under any circumstances, do business with this firm. And, if you do, hey, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

    The WebGem Glove Care System

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2013 · Comments (0)

    There really are few things worse than a flat glove…

    Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, And Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order)

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2013 · Comments (6)

    I recently had a chance to read a review copy of Joe Peta’s “Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order)” which is slated to be released on March 7th.

    Joe Peta was a Wall Street market maker and hedge fund stock trader for fifteen years. And, he’s been a sports bettor for even longer and a lifelong baseball fan.

    After being struck by an FDNY ambulance and knocked off the trading floor for months of recovery and then being fired from a seven-figure job six weeks after returning to work in a wheelchair, Peta used sabermetric principles developed by Bill James and Nate Silver (among others) to create a market model for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.

    Using his new tool, Peta was able project runs, wins, and take his season projections and convert them to single-game-win expectancies. Using these results, he then applied them to the Vegas betting lines and from Opening Day to the final game of the 2011 World Series – making money on favorites, underdogs, pick-‘ems. Overall, Pete ended up with a 41.03% profit for his efforts.

    Trading Bases” aims to show how portfolio management, Wall Street trading and sports betting are all interrelated. And, it makes a great case for this to be true. Peta’s book is also, at times, humorous and touching.

    This book has something for everyone who is interested in Wall Street, gambling, baseball and sabermetrics. That said, if you are turned off by any of these subject matters, you may not enjoy “Trading Bases” as much as someone who is open to seeing the connections between them.

    For the record, personally, while being a baseball junkie and a huge fan of sabermetrics, I know little about the workings of Wall Street and Vegas. Related, I found what Peta shared on these arenas to be interesting, educational and entertaining.

    In any event, I suspect that “Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order)” may be one of the most talked about new releases on the baseball book front this year. And, it’s worth checking out.

    It will also be interesting where Peta goes from here. He has the skill and resume to command a seven-figure job on Wall Street. And, he’s proven that he can make money betting on baseball. Yet, perhaps, some major league team, after the release of his book, may ask him to join the analysis group in their front office? Granted, the compensation on Wall Street or from Vegas would not be equaled in baseball. However, perhaps, at this stage of his life, maybe Peta wants to be in baseball? And, if he did, how would the commissioner’s office handle that (given his documented past betting on the game)?

    It does seem like “Trading Bases” is our introduction to Joe Peta on the baseball landscape and we should expect more from him in the future (in some capacity).  And, that’s another reason why you would want to consider reading his new book.

    Sports Maps

    Posted by on February 20th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Very cool site.

    Rawlings

    Posted by on February 15th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    I have to admit, I am a Rawlings freak.  I just love their products. In my mind, they are the best.

    Factor12 Rating

    Posted by on February 6th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Fun stuff.

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