Welcome Stephen Partridge and Host Dakine

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

The Cambridge Companion to Baseball

Dakine, Host:

Today, we are joined by Stephen Partridge, one of the editors of The Cambridge Companion To Baseball.

Have I mentioned recently that I love baseball? I fit the definition of “avid fan” (pg 35) in that I follow the sports statistics but have not gone the route of the fantasy league fan (described as “rabid”). I can watch a baseball game at any level of play from Little League up to the Major Leagues and enjoy the game as it is. I have multiple shelves on my bookcases with both fiction and non-fiction baseball books. I own and re-watch a number of baseball themed movies.

The Cambridge Companion to Baseball is a bit different from most of the baseball themed books I own. It is a mix of history and analysis built around essays by various authors. The essays cover everything from the rules to the worldwide baseball presence. There are essays on the Negro Leagues, Japanese and Mexican Americans, and the global presence of baseball in both Asia and Latin America. Baseball in and as Literature and Baseball at the movies.

While using History as a starting point for many of the essays, the history itself is usually just a starting point for some interesting analysis. For example, the second essay (co-authored by our guest) is titled “Baseball in Literature, Baseball as Literature.” One of the book series covered is the Baseball Joe Children’s series. To be honest, I have no re-collection of ever having read or even heard of these. Yet, I absolutely devoured the John R. Tunis which are also discussed. Part of the overall analysis includes a designation of the Tunis books as “darker juvenile fiction.” This rather surprised me a bit as I’m sure I had never thought of the Tunis books as particularly dark; they just told stories that seemed to be a reflection on struggling to make our way through life. (Of course, by the time I read these books, I was already aware of Lou Gehrig and Roy Campanella so that might have been how I missed the Baseball Joe books.)

At this point, let me make clear that the analysis offered within The Cambridge Companion to Baseball is not anywhere near the “lyrical bandbox of a park” or “the ivy covered walls of Wrigley” so common to baseball books. The essay on “Cheating in Baseball,” while touching on some of the “traditional” forms of baseball cheating, concentrates on the Performance Enhancing Drugs issue. For the unaware, by “traditional” forms of cheating, I mean things like stealing signs, corking bats, and scuffing/loading up the ball. While being against the rules, these forms of cheating have long been considered just a part of the game whereas the use and abuse of performance drugs has seemed to strike at the heart of the game.

As another example of the analysis, there is the final essay on “Baseball and Mass Media” which spares nothing in its look at how baseball has fallen from being the number one sport in the US with everyone pretty much everywhere following the World Series to being supplanted by professional football. If for no other reason than this final essay, I would recommend this book to all of major league baseball. By their short-sighted decisions in many areas, baseball management continues to give football the opening to continue their mastery of the media.

The book sprinkles “interchapter” stories throughout, offering specific examples reinforcing the essays. I almost thought I had caught an error with the interchapter on Pete Rose after the essay on Cheating in Baseball where there’s a mention of Mickey Mantle being blocked from lending his name to a casino years after his retirement as an example of how seriously baseball takes the “no associating with gamblers” prohibition. I didn’t remember that about The Mick but did remember that Willie Mays had been banned for some years for being a casino host. Well, it appears, we were both correct – Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were both banned (Mays in ’79 and Mantle in ’83) by then commissioner Bowie Kuhn for becoming casino hosts/greeters. Peter Ueberroth reinstated both in March of ’85, a move that purportedly did not make Mr Kuhn happy.

With that, please join me in the comments as we talk Baseball with Stephen Partridge. The new season is only three days old; everyone still has a chance to win it all, so time is wasting.

153 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Stephen Partridge, Cambridge Companion to Baseball”

BevW April 2nd, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Stephen, Welcome to the Lake.

Dakine, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Good afternoon Steve and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Let me start by asking how you came to do this book in this fashion with the essays and such? Especially since so many of the baseball books go for the “lyrical bandbox” style

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Bev, thanks so much for giving me this chance to talk about the CCB. I’m looking forward to questions from Dakine and those who are “attending” today.

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Good afternoon Dakine. The book is part of a series of Cambridge Companions which have focused either on specific authors (Milton, Eliot, and many others) or on writing from a particular place or period, or on a particular theme (the literature of New York). The idea with these books is to get together a group of experts on specific aspects of the topic to write the chapters, and the book overall should be the best place to start when you’re getting to know about an author or topic. Ray Ryan, the editor at Cambridge, came up with the idea of companions to sports with a strong literary tradition; in a couple of months CUP will publish their companion to cricket, and work is in progress on companions to soccer and horse racing. So, our book on baseball is the first in a series of Cambridge companions to various sports.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hmmm. Being a native of Kentucky, I might have to search out that horse racing book when it comes out.

As technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment that will automatically pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to making it easier for folks to follow the “conversation”

Note: some browsers don’t let the Reply work correctly if it has been pressed after a page refresh and before the page completes loading

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 2

I should say too that the contributors are of course baseball fans, but it was part of the book’s goal to treat the game’s history and its contemporary situation objectively and critically. So, the “lyrical bandbox” style was not on for this project.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Did you get to pick the essayists yourself or did Mr Ryan direct you to them? Were there any specific parameters given to you or to the essayists?

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I think the goal was achieved – especially as I note in the intro with the final essay on Baseball and Massmedia. That one really should be required reading for baseball executives at all levels (although to be honest, many of the baseball writers point out the problems with late starting World Series games for years now)

Elliott April 2nd, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Hi Mr. Partridge, how long did it take you to produce the book?

CalGeorge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Stephen, what’s your all-time favorite baseball book?

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:15 pm

One thing that I did note in the essay on Baseball and the Color Line, there was a mention of the Red Sox having tried out 3 black ballplayers in ’42. Although it was not mentioned specifically in the essay, Jackie Robinson was one of the three (along with Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe)

Just some interesting trivia

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 5

Ray will be happy to hear about your interest in the horse racing book. He’s choosing topics with an eye to readers in the US and the UK, and the idea of publishing the baseball and cricket books almost simultaneously is one for us, one for them.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Hey bro — how are you today?

Can you tell us about your process with Leonard Cassuto? How does it work to solicit and edit contributors’ work when your collaborator is far away?

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Yes folks, today’s guest is the brother of Firedoglake’s own, Teddy Partridge!

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:24 pm

One thing I wondered when I read about baseball and American culture: how would (will?) the tradition of our President throwing out the first pitch have accommodated a woman being elected to that office? Just as our current president would have been barred from the diamond prior to Jackie Robinson’s accomplishment, will we need to see female pro ballplayers before we see a woman president?

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 7

My co-editor and I started a couple of years ago by sketching out the chapter topics, and identifying possible contributors. Once Cambridge confirmed that they’d like us to do the book, we started recruiting contributors. We made our initial instructions to them as simple as possible, and then once they submitted drafts, we started editing and negotiating. One of the book’s strengths, I think, is the number of different fields the contributors come from; so, for example, a law professor, David Fidler, co-wrote the chapter on Latin American baseball, and in that chapter he extends the case he’s made in several publications that baseball’s practices in recruiting young players in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere need closer oversight. Historians and literary scholars are well represented among our contributors, and several of the chapters provide short historical overviews of their topics, but we also asked a law and philosophy professor, David Luban, who’s a specialist in ethics, to cowrite the chapter on “Cheating in Baseball.” We did insist that everyone write in an accessible style; many of the contributors have written popular books or journalism about baseball.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hi and welcome, Mr. Partridge. (Disclosure 1: I will buy the book; disclosure 2: I lived in shouting distance of Ebbets Field when I lived in Brooklyn, and in Pittsburgh I lived close enough to Forbes Field to walk there; disclosure 3, I no longer follow or care about the game or sport, and regret that).

Only one two-part question: Does the book cover beyond mention the grotesque adaptation of Bernard Malamud’s dark novelette “The Natural” into the movie version, and: do you (or anyone here) have an opinion of that adaptation?

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Mahalo, Dakine and Stephen for today’s Book Salon…!

Watching the Giants-Dodgers game right now…!

Stephen, do you think MLB will ever forgive and forget the Rose affair…? I think Pete’s records should be included in the record book and in Cooperstown…!

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Welcome, Stephen!

I like the book’s goal of addressing the tension between the myth of the national pastime and the reality of baseball as a business.

I grew up in St. Louis watching Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, and now live in Kansas City where the ghost of Buck O’Neil lingers lovingly in the corners of the Negro League Baseball Museum. I enjoyed the chapter on the negro leagues, and also the sabermetrics chapter, but wish that one or the other went into the spats involving the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown admitting Negro Leagues players. That story is a wonderful example of the tension of the myth and the business of baseball.

Ah, but it’s easy for me to criticize someone for not writing the book I’d rather they had written. It’s a great book, Stephen. Thanks for the effort you and your colleagues put into it.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Good point. There have been a couple of articles this spring of women throwing batting practice but those are of the novelty type.

Although I also recall reading articles that some major leaguers tried to stand in against Jennie Finch throwing a fast pitch softball and not doing too well against her so that might be considered a precedent of sorts

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hey bro. Our chapter on “Baseball and War” talks about the establishment of women’s leagues during World War II, and our chapter on the Negro Leagues mentions that a few women played there. Marianne Moore, who wrote some of her poems about baseball, was sometimes invited to throw out the first pitch in Brooklyn. And I think the integration of Little League is increasing the chances that we’ll soon have a female president who won’t need extra training for this presidential task.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:31 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 18

(Actually I’m pretty sure Pete’s records are recognized as such in the record books – the gambling and subsequent banning came about after he was finished as an active player)

Scarecrow April 2nd, 2011 at 2:32 pm

So. Welcome and let’s play ball! What do thn Curt Flood did to baseball. And what about loufax and Dysdale tring to bargain collectively. socialists! I thought I would die that year.

But that’s all ancient. Can we survie Mark McGure and Alex Rodriquez?

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 2:32 pm

What has happened to the economics of baseball over time? How does it continue to justify it’s monopoly exemptions? Does it continue to con local govts to build stadiums for it, which was the biggest factor (I read years ago) in encouraging the geographic instability of teams (ditto other pro sports) bc cities use new stadiums to bid teams away from each other. What has happened to team revenues and how are they divided bet management & players? Has that changed over time? How much have players’ earnings been augmented by product sponsorships?

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Peterr @ 19

Good point about wanting more in this book. I wish the chapter on the American city, for instance, had included more about the George W Bush Arlington stadium fiasco: how he and his partners were hugely enriched at taxpayer expense, and how that’s become the enviable model for all ownership groups today.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 24

You’ll really like this book, CAHN, I thought of you when I read the chapters about the economics of the sport. You have to take it on faith that I’m not simply recommending it because my brother edited it; you’ll really like this one.

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm
In response to AitchD @ 17

Hi Aitch, Our writer of the chapter on “Baseball at the Movies,” George Grella, points out that the director took a great deal of care to make the film of “The Natural” faithful in its period details, and also that Robert Redford was one of the first actors to portray a baseball player convincingly. I agree, however, that the film’s tone is very different from the novel’s. I think of the film as reflecting the spirit of the 1980s, trying to be very upbeat about America, especially an idealized rural past, and it does steer completely away from Malamud’s harsh critique of American life. The novel was his first, and so had been written long before, in the early 1950s. By the way, I think this is the best novel about baseball.

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Obviously, a sequel is needed . . .


Stephen, the relationship of teams to cities is also a great example of the tension between myth and business. “These are OUR players, this is OUR team” say the fans in the city, clinging to the myth. “OK,” says the owner, “so let’s see some city funds to build a new ballpark . . .”

Once owners showed a willingness to move their teams (See Dodgers, Brooklyn) and cut the mythical tie, that reshaped things dramatically.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm


I’d like the short version. I’m not a fan of pro-sports (that’s putting it mildly), but I do scan articles on their economics often enough to keep me curious on that aspect.

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I’ll second what Teddy said, and I’m not Stephen’s brother.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:40 pm
In response to CalGeorge @ 10

Mine is Roger Kahn’s “The Boys Of Summer”, it’s superior literature. I liked very much Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Wait Till Next Year” for its being a wonderful memoir about a very young fan’s love of the game and its ineffable mysteries.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Does it continue to con local govts to build stadiums for it, which was the biggest factor (I read years ago) in encouraging the geographic instability of teams (ditto other pro sports) bc cities use new stadiums to bid teams away from each other.

I can answer this one to an extent. It pretty much varies by city. For example, the folks in MA resisted the idea of the Red Sox needing land on the waterfront for a new ball park and forced the Sox management to look at ways of upgrading Fenway.

As I’m sure you’re aware, NYC gave millions in subsidies and building the two new parks for the Yankees and Mets.

The A’s are angling to leave Oakland for San Jose for a new park.

Cincinnati has built a new football and baseball parks in the last few years and did so by a voter approved half cent sales tax increase.

So pretty much across the board depending on the city and such – same as it ever is.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Thanks for the insightful reply, and pats to both of us for avoiding ***SPOILERS***

BevW April 2nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Have you seen Mamie “Peanut” Johnson? She does the lecture circuit in the mid-atlantic.

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson grew up with a passion and talent for playing baseball. But, as a black female, opportunities to play were limited. After being refused a try-out for the All-American Girls League, she turned that rejection into pure determination and became one of only three women to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, and the only female to pitch. Tiny, but tough, Mamie once struck out an opponent who said she looked like a “peanut” on the mound. After retiring from her athletic career, Mrs. Johnson became a nurse and coached youth baseball.

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 24

We have an entire chapter on baseball’s economy, written by Andrew Zimbalist, who’s acknowledged as the authority on the topic and treats sports team owners quite critically. It’s certainly true that Shrub benefited from the “socialism for owners” that seemed to peak in the 1980s and 1990s. My impression is that this trend has cooled somewhat in more recent years; the first example that comes to mind is Seattle’s refusal to take on the costs of a new arena for the Supersonics basketball team, calling their threat to move elsewhere (which they did, to Oklahoma City).

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I recognize that no sport/game springs fully developed in its current form immediately upon first play, but I also did not know the rules were so fluid early on. The bonus fun fact, for me, was that the ball did not become as hard and small as it is until the rule developed that runners couldn’t be put out by throwing the ball directly at them!

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:45 pm

By the way, I think this is the best novel about baseball.

I go with Bang the Drum Slowly – and it fits for me as a movie as well. Even though DeNiro doesn’t really look like a catcher, as an actor, it is one of his good roles where he became the character

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:45 pm

The recapitulation of an idealized 1950s in the 1980s, and our current culture’s mythologizing of the idealized 1980s, was the subject of an FDL Book Salon two weeks ago with David Sirota, by the way.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Anything in the book about August Wilson’s fine play, “Fences” (not about baseball, although it is about baseball).

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 23

And let’s not forget Barry Bonds, nor the Rocket either…! 8-(

Stephen, what type of ramifications and fallout do you foresee for the legal battles both face over steroids…?

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm
In response to BevW @ 34

Hi Bev, I have’t seen Mamie “Peanut” Johnson speak — that’s so great she’s on the lecture circuit — but Leslie Heaphy does mention her in our chapter on the Negro Leagues. And Effa Manley was a very important co-owner and then owner of the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues; for example, when the major leagues were integrating by signing players from the Negro Leagues, she insisted on being compensated for the loss of her players, as minor league teams long had been, and in this she set a precedent for all Negro League owners to follow.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Oh, another aspect of the sport I found interesting was a novel I listened to last summer. It was about race relations in the U.S. in the late-20s, early-30s. Babe Ruth was a main character in the novel & happened on a sand lot game in a Negro neighborhood, where one player was just superior. Of course, he & his trials & tribulations became a major theme in the novel. It was a kewl book (despite being too stereotypical & heartstring pulling) bc, being fiction, was able to tie together sociology, sports, economics, race & ethnic relations (Boston Irish vs Boston Italians) and all sort sorts of other bits & pieces that aren’t usually combined in one book. If you’d like the title/author, I can look in my list & find it.

masaccio April 2nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I was a Cubs fan as a kid, and my buddy was a Yankees fan. When I was about 11, he gave me a book about Yankee stars. Naturally, I sneered at the book, but it turned out to be a wonderful young adult baseball group of stories. I can’t remember the title, but it went on the shelf next to my copy of Ten Saints For Boys.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 32

Thanks. Sorta what I casually observed. While, as you point out, NYC spent unconscionable sums on bbl stadiums, it resisted the football one. You lose some, you lose some, & then you win one.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:51 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 40

The book does take a rather unsparing look at all of the above in the essay on Cheating

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I remember a fine essay of Roger Angell’s about baseball and movies. Discussing right-handed Gary Cooper playing left-handed Lou Gehrig, Angell wrote that they reversed everything for the filming (mirror-style), and he joked that they even reversed the Yankee uniforms pinstripes.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Another example are the repetitive voter referenda on replacing Candlestick Park. Developers keep trying to repeat AT&T Park’s success, and SF voters keep saying, “NIMBY“. I can’t imagine what today’s football players think when they arrive to play ball at that bleak, soggy, fog-drenched spit of land, far from any civilization and with only airliner landing noises for background. And yet, any in-city replacement still seems years off.

Your book’s description of this facility as the West Coast prototype for baseball made me realize how quickly California car culture has been eclipsed in Northern California. When it was built, it was the state of the art. Now it’s a dinosaur that cannot be replicated in town.

Unless the 49ers move to Santa Clara, as appears increasingly likely.

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 20

Jenny Finch, if my memory is correct, dominated hitters like Larry Walker, Pujols, Giles and others in exhibitions. Not too shabby!

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 2:55 pm

It’s certainly true that Shrub benefited from the “socialism for owners” that seemed to peak in the 1980s and 1990s

Wow. Color me surprised (not). Molly Ivins was the one who pointed out to me that Shrub’s only claim to fame was accumulating supporters for his failed financial adventures bc they all expected he would be prez one day.

Would please me if, as you say, socialism for owners has “peaked.”

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 18

Hi CTuttle and others posting about gambling, steroids and the Hall of Fame: It’s true that Rose gets his records, and nobody argues with them, because no one supposes that his gambling ever affected the way he played. (Though it may have affected some of his decisions as a manager.) I think there is great resistance to accepting him back into baseball because of the game’s history with gambling, especially the Black Sox scandal of 1919, which is generally regarded as the greatest threat the professional game has ever faced. (And it was the culmination of a series of problems with gambling on baseball in the early 20th century.) Ever since, gambling has been a big taboo in baseball (and other professional team sports). Thus the banning of Mickey Mantle, for example, from official baseball events in the 1980s because he had started working for a casino. So, there’s a precedent for being very strict with Rose; although, at much the same time, there’s been a trend toward rehabilitating Shoeless Joe Jackson, the best known of the 1919 Black Sox who were banned from baseball for life, through such narratives as Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe and the movie Field of Dreams which was based on it.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Steve, one thing that seemed to be missed in the chapter on cheating and the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs was the mention of and use of “Greenies,” i.e., various types of amphetamines that were used fairly openly in the major leagues throughout most of the ’50s/’60s/’70s and on until today. I remember when I first read Ball Four that was one of the issues MLB had with Bouton was his honesty about the drugs.

Do you think the prevalence of the speed helped make the players maybe think the PED wouldn’t be such an issue?

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Stephen, when it comes to baseball as a business, who are the characters that come to mind for you?

(Here in KC, folks are dealing with David Glass, who makes Charlie Findley look like a spendthrift.)

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Just a personal opinion: I think 1986 was baseball’s greatest season ever. Those NL and AL Championship series!!!

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 29

The short version of baseball economics:

MLB owners are rent-seeking pit vipers.

All else is commentary on that one point!

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Haven’t read the book, but I will.

But not yet – the Yankees and Tigers are on the tube.

I haven’t gone to the new Yankee Stadium and doubt I will for years – I have not wanted to muddy my memories of the Real Yankee Stadium, right down to the generations of crud on the concrete.

Anyone else here who mourns the demise of Elysian Fields Quarterly?

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to AitchD @ 46

They did the same thing filming the Billy Crystal-produced *61, to accomodate some actor(s) who were wronghanded, historically speaking.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:02 pm

A funny personal anecdote on “roids” with 2 chapters.

My son is a truly rabid bb fan. (I have no idea how that happened since I find it boring in the extreme and his father would have too but had been buried long before.) Looking at TV bb about once every two years, I pointed out the neck circumference as evidence to my son for ‘roids. He ignored me. Years later (chap 2), I was eating bar food lunch with a female bartender & game on TV. She & I got talking about it, agreed with how totally obvious it had been (chap 2 is after the exposure & neck circumference had vastly decreased). I emailed my son with hers & my observations, and he responded that he had to trust my observations but that he had not been able to see it himself!

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Peterr @ 52

I believe it was Charlie Comiskey (owner of the Black Sox) of whom it was said “He throws nickels around like manhole covers”

Glass is just one of a long line of pennie pinchers

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to szielinski @ 54

I was being too polite to word my Q that way, LOL. I actually know that, but am mildly interested in how their talking points rationalize it.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:06 pm

We lost our minor league baseball team (the Beavers) here in Portland last year; they temporarily moved to Tucson (as the Tucson Padres) and will go on to San Diego, which seems odd since that is their major league team hub. Do Majors have total control over their minor teams, and do they like co-locating them now, for marketing purposes do you suppose?

We are hoping Major League Soccer has the same affinity for fireworks on weekend night games that their predecessor tenants did.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:07 pm

The book doesn’t by any chance have Scratch-n-Sniff embeds, does it? Stogie cigars, ‘red hots’ & mustard, peanut shells…

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 57

No adult’s hat and shoe increases by two sizes without enhancement.
Barry’s did.

That’s why the uniform manager is a prosecution witness.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:10 pm

My best bb experience was in SI Yankees stadium, a feeder team to real Yankees. It is right across the bay from lower Manhattan & seats about 6,000. It was mid-summer, and event was NYPops concert. (After 9/11) Guiliani was “conducting” Verdi’s anvil chorus and there was to be first perf of Handel’s Fireworks with live fireworks since the first perf.

Was one memorable event.

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:11 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 40

Now, about steroids: I think part of what’s at issue here is the lack of precedent. While Jim Bouton, in *Ball Four* (1970), blew the cover on players’ use of stimulants to get through the long season, the performance-enhancing drugs players have used more recently have brought, well, enhanced performance on a scale no one has seen before. We don’t really know how much difference those drugs made, and this may become clearer only with time; people have pointed to other changes, such as the league expansions of the 1990s (expansion dilutes the talent, including at pitcher, possibly making it easier for the best hitters to rack up spectacular numbers) and temporary differences in the way balls were manufactured. So that’s one way we’re waiting, I think, for more distance on the careers of McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds. Another kind of historical perspective, which our contributors David Luban and his son Daniel discuss in their chapter on cheating, will come when we compare the significance of PEDs with other kinds of “cheating.” The spitball was outlawed in their 1920s, but at least a couple of pitchers who were widely suspected of doctoring the ball during their careers and later admitted to doing so did get elected to the Hall of Fame; they’d won 300 games, in they went. (The Lubans quote Don Sutton’s denial that he’d administered a foreign substance to the ball: “Vaseline is made right here in the United States.”) The Lubans conclude, and I’m inclined to agree, that eventually Bonds and Clemens will go into the Hall of Fame, even though we’ll remember that their numbers, especially later in their careers, were inflated. (Remember that when The Sporting News published their list of the 100 best players ever in about 1997, Bonds was the highest ranking active player — this before anyone supposes he had started with the PEDs.) Sidenote: I think fans turned a blind eye to what Bonds and Clemens were up to because boomers romanticized their continuing to perform at MVP, Cy Young levels into their early 40s.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Why it didn’t take a mental giant, just us lowly wimmin, to figger it out.

ON edit: I suggested an audience chant: “Clap, clap, tiny nuts…”

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:11 pm

While some MLB teams own some of their minor league affiliates, the minor league teams are usually owned by someone else. Not positive but I think the minor league affiliate contracts usually are for 3 to 5 years at a time.

But sooner or later, Portland will most likely regain a minor league team at some level. There’s a lot of team/franchise movement within the minor leagues, far more than within MLB itself.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:13 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 51

As I recall it, there were two pots of coffee in every clubhouse until either last year or the year before. One pot was “regular” and the other was for players – laced with some form of stimulant. When the players’ extra coffee was eliminated, you could see the game slow down, particularly day games after night games.

As to the PEDs, remember, the story was not a story until some reporter gawked at and reported on a tub of a (legal) PED (nandro, IIRC) in McGwire’s locker during the Great Home Run Chase of 1998. The thing is, the owners were more than happy to have the players juicing because all those homers were flying out of parks and selling baseball back to the crowds , making a huge difference in bringing it back from the strike (caused in large part by the same owners). The PEDs were not, per the basic bargaining agreement, outside the rules of the game until the latest iteration. The PEDs did not become an issue – as did the telling lies to Congress and all the rest – until Bush had Ashcroft undertake to go after the Players’ Union, more as a gift to his former owner buddies than anything else.

Rose’s infractions, OTOH, were explicitly in violation of the prohibition against gambling posted in every clubhouse. And, FWIW, Rose did affect the game by his betting – he would bet on his team 3 or 4 games in a row and then not bet on his team when Mario Soto was pitching, showing the bookies (at least) just what he thought of Soto’s chances. Likely he also tipped his opinion on a game to game basis by the size of his bets….

I remain convinced there are few humans more stupid than baseball owners – they moan about the union and free agency and Steinbrenner paying players more and making the game better (by getting better athletes and making it more competitive), all the while they are being made more wealthy than they ever could have done on their own, precisely because of the union, free agency and owners like Steinbrenner.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I think that’s the point I find both most telling and disappointing about Clemens and Bonds and their use of PEDs – both had solid Hall of Fame careers before reaching the point of using PEDs

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 59

I live in Pittsburgh. We had one of MLB’s worst owners in Kevin McClatchy. Some fans even took to the streets to protest his mismanagement. McClatchy’s rationalization of his inept management: The players are too greedy and their greed puts small market/low revenue teams at a competitive disadvantage. Of course, by the time McClatchy made that claim he had already convinced the local elite (but not local voters) to fund a new stadium, which turned out so well that it is considered one of the best if not the best stadium in baseball, by claiming a new stadium would generate the revenue needed to compete with the top feeders. The value of the team skyrocketed, if one believes the Forbes data on team finances, because of the stadium.

But the Pittsburgh Pirates have spent the last 18 years below .500. That’s a record, of course, and the streak is likely to end in the next season or so. It will end because a minority owner force out McClatchy and brought in sound baseball people to run the team. The Pirates still have one of the lowest payrolls in the Major Leagues. Team payroll will always be low, comparatively speaking, of course. And the fans have that great stadium, along with stadium debt, a lack of investment around the park, etc.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 57

Can’t watch the game on TV anymore, they feature the Extreme Close Up for the spit porn shots. And dammit, during the Detroit AL Championship series (I was in the SF Bay area watching at a friend’s who’s from Michigan), I turned on the radio to hear (the great player & announcer) Joe Morgan, and turned off the silly FOX TV’s sound. Woe R Us: TV’s digital buffer + satellite delay = Joe Morgan on the radio saying “Got him with a fastball!” while on TV the pitcher was still in his wind-up.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I have a generic theory that “bad” forces out “good.” Applies to religion, politics, pro sports, theater (including ballet and gymnastics, my particular loves which I can no longer watch), whatever.

BC the only way to top what has gone on in the past is to become more & more extreme. And the extremes quickly become inhuman & disgusting.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Dustin Hoffman said when you get older your shoe size gets bigger b/c your arches fall.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

The collocation thing also helps the major league club in two ways, both of which depend on distance. When the major league club needs to call a player up on short notice, say to fill an injured player’s slot, having the minor league team only a couple hours’ drive away makes that a lot easier. Also remember that sometimes the player has to drive himself (when he’s being called up for an extensive period and basically has to move to new digs), and minor leaguers are notorious for not having the best of autos.

The same obtains for major leaguers on rehab assignments.

The other way collocation benefits the major league club is that it makes it easier for executives and staff to go down to the farm club and check on their prospects.

Scarecrow April 2nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

A lot of us grew up not just watching baseball but, if you lived in most states, listening on the radio. So we identify baseball with the announcers. There’s only one ______ (e.g., Vin Scully). So is that still true? Who are today’s voices?

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:20 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 57

Another issue with steroids is the enforcement mechanism. If your pitches are doing funny things, the umpire looks at the ball to see if it has Vaseline or file-marks on it; if your bat has a lot of pine tar, the umpire looks at it to see if it extends beyond the legal limit (or Billy Martin demands the umpire do so after George Brett hits a homer that defeats Martin’s Yankees). Now, use of steroids can be more obvious than doctoring the ball, since players’ physiques change so dramatically; but it can’t be tested on the spot. When a bulky batter comes up to the plate, the ump can’t ask him to pee in a cup. So baseball has had to develop this system for testing players off the field, against much resistance from them — football went through all of this back in the 1980s or so. That all this is happening now, that there is for the moment a strong backlash against steroid use (partly PR since the owners ignored the obvious signs until they couldn’t any more), is certainly a reason for the reluctance to elect McGwire et al. to the Hall of Fame.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:20 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 68

Seeing Sosa and McGwire get the national adulation they did chapped Barry’s ass; of course, once a black man got on the train, the practice had to be stopped. He’s got reason to be pissed, I think.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:22 pm
In response to szielinski @ 69

Pittsburgh does have one of the most spectacular stadium views and nicest facilities in the world. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a ballgame on one of those fine summer nights in Pittsburgh. The way the light plays on the skyline off to right-center is simply beautiful. And I love the Clemente statue/memorial.

Of course, under McClatchy’s cheapness, and because of revenue sharing and luxury tax distributions, the Pirates broke even or turned a profit before they sold a single ticket.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Good synopsis, thanks. Can I add a comment about the league’s ‘disenhancement’ by their lowering the pitcher’s mound b/c of Koufax’s and Gibson’s domineering & very low ERA’s?

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 74

Well, the most famous of today’s voices is . . . Vin Scully, still calling the Dodgers games after 60 plus years. I really like Jonny Miller, who called the Orioles games for a long time; isn’t he now doing radio and/or TV for the Giants games? SF FDLers?

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Plus the aesthetics: Barry’s swing was the best I saw since Maris’s.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I think it’s pretty cool you got Jim Bouton to blurb on the book’s back cover; how did that happen?

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I think there is also the response to McGuire’s appearance before Congress claiming to not want to speak about the past and Sosa’s convenient inability to understand English versus the players like Andy Pettitte who fully admitted his use.

The cover-up versus the crime if you will

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 3:25 pm
In response to AitchD @ 70

The final chapter of the book is about baseball and mass media. The author laid out “five lessons to make baseball over” — and #1 was this: Announcing counts.

TV announcers, all too often (IMHO) come in a distant second to their radio colleagues. On the radio, by definition, the announcer has to carry the whole communications show; on television, not so much.

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Bonds supposedly wanted to be the best, and he couldn’t be the best when others gained a competitive advantage from steroids and HGH.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to Peterr @ 83

Baseball-on-the-radio is also how Ronald Reagan learned to lie to the American people so convincingly.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm

According to his wiki, Miller is doing both TV and radio for the Giants

I personally grew up listening to Waite Hoyt calling Cincinnati games but Marty Brenneman has been the Reds announcer now since the mid-’70s (calling the games with Joe Nuxhall for a long time)

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Old-timers might remember Nat Albright, who did wizardly work broadcasting the Brooklyn Dodger games as ‘rebroadcasts’ since he was never at the park. One of the factors that made the Dodgers widely beloved was that their games could be listened to in most cities.

Scarecrow April 2nd, 2011 at 3:30 pm
In response to AitchD @ 87

Yep, and there has been a Spanish broadcast of the Dodger games for decades. Then they got Fernando Valenzuela. Every strike became, Ole!

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Inspection of vaseline & pine tar, when neck size is obvious for all to see. What’s wrong with that picture.

My Q is a serious one. I am always curious about the specifics of how vested interests actually escape inspection when the problem is obvious to everyone.

Major issue in my field of economics, as you might imagine.

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to AitchD @ 80

Bonds has the best swing in generations. He had the eye and plate discipline to go along with that great swing. I’ve wondered if Bonds’ alleged steroid use had unburdened him of a psychological block that kept him from reaching his potential. I wondered because his late career peak seemed less of an anomaly to me than it did to others. The reason: I expected his peak years to look like his late peak years. One could see Bonds hitting gifts as soon as he came into the league.

But, who can know if my wondering has any truth to it.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to Peterr @ 83

A good announcer can really teach the game, too. Before he got really full of himself and moved to Faux, back when he was still doing Mets TV games in the late 80s, Tim McCarver really did a great job of teaching a lot of the inside aspects of the game. OTOH, some TV announcers are about worthless.

But I agree how a good radio announcer can really make the game. I remember Jon Miller (who is back to doing SF Giants games on radio and no longer with ESPN) calling the game when Cal Ripken went 6 for 6 and it was like being there.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Another Q. Overheard on an elevator: The reason why Americans love bb so much is bc it is slow enough to keep a statistic on every single move in the game.

Anyone care to comment on that?

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm
In response to szielinski @ 90

Steroids can’t give you better vision or enhanced ability to discern strikes from balls.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm
In response to szielinski @ 69

I grew up in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were always a joke until 1960. So, it’s a wonder that, for the seventh game of the 1955 World Series (Dodgers-Yankees), our high school (3200 students!) dismissed school before the last class period and set up a TV in the auditorium so we could watch that last game’s last innings. What a town! The next year, during last period in orchestra class, our teacher (who also played for The Pittsburgh Symphony) let us all listen to the last innings of Don Larsen’s perfect game.

OT: Mineo’s or VIncent’s?

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to scribe @ 77

The statues at the various parks are something else. Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and others in St. Louis . . . Willy Mays in SF . . . etc.

My favorite, though, is one I have not seen in person: Buck O’Neil’s statue — not plaque — at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to scribe @ 91

FWIW (i.e., not much) my all-time favorite TV announcing team was Bob Costas and Tony Kubek

(and totally agree about McCarver – once he became TIM MCCARVER!, he lost all credibility to me)

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Mahalo for the great response…! One major factor that plays in is the notion that the stats for pitchers and hitters could devolve into the quagmire of a ‘juiced’ pitch vs a ‘juiced’ at-bat…! 8-(

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 92

That, and two more things. First, because the rules have not changed, one can compare players across generations (and the stats facilitate that).
Second, the “slow” pace of the game allows spectators to have conversations about the game, the players, and just about anything else. You can’t do that at a hockey game.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 92

Well the stats people in football and basketball keep pretty much every stat as well.

Baseball stats though can be kept by the fan in the stands without needing to know much extra of the rules than the basics.

And yes, I score the game most anytime I go to a major league or minor league game

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to AitchD @ 78

Our first chapter is a historical overview of “The Rules of Baseball,” by Steve Gietschier who worked for years at The Sporting News; it points out that baseball has long faced the challenge of maintaining the proper balance between offense and pitching/defense, especially of permitting enough offense to keep the fans interested. This is a very important part of the story of baseball in the nineteenth century, as the goal in pitching shifted from enabling the batter to hit the ball to challenging the batter and preventing him from making good contact. Part of this shift was the change from pitching underhanded to overhanded — which was illegal, but pitchers tested and tested the boundaries of the rules by adjusting their pitching motions, until the rules were changed. (A precedent to keep in mind when pondering what the ultimate outcome of the steroid scandal might be.) Once overhanded pitching was made legal, other changes were made to counteract this new advantage for pitchers, such as moving the pitcher’s point further back from the plate. As you point out the 1960s were another crisis point, when pitchers were dominating the games, so changes were made to the pitcher’s mound and the strike zone to allow more offense, and eventually the American League adopted the designated hitter. In retrospect, decades later, you wonder if the balance of power might have shifted anyway with baseball’s further expansion in 1969, and if one factor in the trend toward pitching was simply the presence of some extraordinary talents, like Gibson, Koufac, and Drysdale.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to szielinski @ 90

I saw Barry hit one of his record homers when the Giants played at the brand-new PNC Park. What a beautiful place that is! (I sat three rows back of the visitors’ dugout, first base side. I had the impression I could reach out and touch the left field wall!)

Elliott April 2nd, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to scribe @ 91

TV announcers for baseball and football are so annoying I’ll tune in the radio broadcast and put the TV on mute.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:39 pm
In response to Peterr @ 95

A couple nice ones in Philly too – Lefty, Schmitty. That’s a nice park, too.

And, as noted by the Mayor at the first game in the new Philly stadium: “You boo because you care.”

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 92

And out of the game.

That was the 14th time since the toobz has been invented that a question along these lines has been asked. It is the first for the 2011 season.

This is the 4,345,297th thread about baseball since…

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm

One particular trait about my Team, the Cardiac Sox… Is that Fenway will always be Fenway, and, they ain’t moving any time soon…!

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 97

Yes, I remember watching a game on TV where the Texas player who played to the age of 49 came up to bat against Clemens and the announcer was making a fuss about how old they both were, and I was thinking, anything else we notice about these two players?

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to Elliott @ 102

I miss Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto. It was like going to the game with your crazy, loveable uncle who also knew all there was to know about the game.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to Peterr @ 95

My son made me take him to Cooperstown. Has some kewl historic sites, much more inneresting than bb hall of fame. *g*

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to scribe @ 98

Yes — plus the people next to you at the hockey game are yelling “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to scribe @ 98

The rules may not have changed, but the perf enhancing drugs have changed the results.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Ha! the underhand throw — Roberto Clemente sandbagging a runner who rounds first and throws him out at first! Speaking of Gibson, and of Clemente: Gibson brushed Roberto back much too close on a pitch; Roberto broke Gibson’s leg on the next pitch.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:43 pm
In response to OldFatGuy @ 104

Good one.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 105

Well, the previous owners did make a lot of noise about getting a new park on the waterfront but the city and state shot ‘em down fairly quickly

Elliott April 2nd, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to scribe @ 103

Schmitty, one of my all time faves

Peterr April 2nd, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Stephen, you confined yourself to novels in your chapter on baseball and literature, no doubt to keep the topic manageable, but as a result, I missed any mention of what I think is one of the most widely read and powerful ode to baseball: Casey at the Bat.

Would you like to put on your English professor hat and take a swing at Casey?

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:46 pm

*heh* Being an expat Canuck, that’s exactly what ya do…! ;-)

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to szielinski @ 69

David Finoli, who wrote our chapter on “Baseball and the City,” has written a few books on the Pirates and as one of his chief examples (along with the Dodgers move from Brooklyn to LA), talks about the Pirates’ significance for Pittsburgh and debates about financing stadiums and similar issues.

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 110

I don’t know that we can say that with certainty yet.

The thing about baseball and comparing stats is that in a game that consists of 162 games per year and 30-45 at bats per game per team meaning thousands and thousands of at bats, NO TWO are exactly alike.

In one at bat they can go through 7 different balls. Meanwhile, the sun reflecting off the center field wall is different on the 5th pitch than it was the 1st.

There’s just no way to control for all of the variables. It’s just not possible, and thus comparing home runs in 2004 to home runs in 2010 just isn’t the same.

I know that there are plenty of folks that believe that performance enhancing drugs resulted in x more home runs or y more strike outs, and IMO it’s just NOT that easy.


CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 113

Granted, Ford was seriously pissed, he soon got over it…! ;-)

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to OldFatGuy @ 118

One of the thing I find irritating from less knowledgeable fans is “nothing has happened – the score is still nothing to nothing”

My response is “so how did they manage to keep the teams from scoring? Great pitches? strike outs? Good defensive? Running blunders?

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:51 pm
In response to scribe @ 98

*heh* But, there’s plenty of time during the ‘intermissions’ tho…! ;-)

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:52 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 120

Same criticism has been applied to soccer, but it has never caught on in the U.S.

BevW April 2nd, 2011 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Steve, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and Baseball.

Dakine, Thank you very much for this fun Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Steve’s website and book

Dakine’s website

Thanks all,
Have a great evening!

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:54 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 122

I usually respond the same way to that when I hear it as well. I’m not a great soccer fan, but for nothing else there’s some serious athleticism involved that I admire

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 3:55 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 124

If I were a team sport fan, soccer or basketball would be my sports of pref. Far more athletic than other pro sports.

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Dayam, The Giants are making up for their two one-run losses in Chavez Canyon…! 9-0 G-men in the 8th…!

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:57 pm
In response to AitchD @ 53

Indeed — the Mets and Astros going 15 innings, the Red Sox coming back after being within an out of elimination by the Angels. I was in Boston then, so that was my phase as a Red Sox fan, and so followed the playoffs and the World Series closely. Which leads me all the way back to the question about coordinating with my co-editor and the contributors. Lenny and I were in school together in Boston during the 1980s, and so were some of the other contributors — David Grant, a mathematician who co-wrote the chapter on sabremetrics,and David Venturo, who wrote a great chapter on baseball and material culture, including the memorabilia biz. But aside from them, I have met only one other contributor; Lenny knows a few more. But the majority we knew only from their work. So we worked over the internet, using track changes to make comments and comment on comments. This is what made it possible to put together the book so efficiently.
Jim Bouton wrote one of the best and best-known books on baseball, so he was always high on our list of people to approach about helping to publicize the book, and he graciously agreed when Cambridge UP asked him.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Steve, thank you for joining us this afternoon and talking about this book.

Folks, if you like baseball and like reading about baseball, this is a good addition to the library. The essays are well written and cover the gamut of the sport, forcing you to think about things in maybe a slightly different way than you might be used to doing.

CTuttle April 2nd, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to BevW @ 123

Mahalo, Bev, Dakine, and, Stephen for another excellent Book Salon…! *g*

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 120

I’m hard-pressed to name anything more beautiful than the perfect hit-and-run pitchout play at second base. Safe or out, it’s gorgeous.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Great chat, all. Thanks, dakine, for a terrific introduction.

See ya, bro.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I was unaware that Red Sox fandom could ever be characterized as a ‘phase.’ *g*

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I can’t wait to get the book, Stephen. And yikes, I’ve been waiting all week for this Book Salon!

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 4:02 pm
In response to Peterr @ 115

Unfortunately we ran out of space in the chapter on baseball literature too quickly, so we did confine ourselves to fiction. In his chapter on baseball fans, Al Filreis offers great commentary on baseball poetry (Moore, Williams) and nonfiction such as Roger Angell’s. But I have some unused material on drama such as Wilson’s *Fences* and baseball poetry such as Robert Pinsky’s which I hope to make good use of in some other venue in the future. Thanks so much for hosting me, Bev and Dakine, and thanks to all of you for your comments and questions! I’ve really enjoyed this.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You reminded me: in the 1986 AL Championship series (I forget the names), the center fielder for the Angels let a fly ball bump off his mitt’s web while he tried for a shoestring catch. Joe Morgan was calling it, he said the guy was running on his heels instead of his toes, so his eyeballs were jittering, which made him misjudge the catch. Love Joe even though his Red Machine always beat my Pirates.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm
In response to AitchD @ 130

Then there’s the outfield assist play to cut down a runner at the plate.

Elliott April 2nd, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Thank you so much Stephen and dakine, what a cracker jack salon.

thanks Bev

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 4:08 pm
In response to AitchD @ 136

The sad part of that play – which was a turning point that led to the Angels losing that series to the Red Sox (who then lost to the Mutts) – is that the relief pitcher who gave up that hit never got over it and ultimately killed himself a number of years later. Tragic.

Stephen Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 4:10 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 58

Comiskey features as a character in Ring Lardner’s *You Know Me Al*, and the pennypinching owner became a stock character in baseball fiction, including in Malamud’s *The Natural*.

eCAHNomics April 2nd, 2011 at 4:15 pm

For someone who knows nothing about the game & doesn’t like it, I sure did have a lot of fun on this thread.

Thanks for letting me hang out with the guys.

AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 4:16 pm
In response to scribe @ 139


AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 4:19 pm
In response to scribe @ 137

Definitely. It is a beautiful game, and no one knows that better than the players, whose uncanny athletic excellence has kept the game a beautiful game in spite of the recurring incidental creepiness.

scribe April 2nd, 2011 at 4:24 pm
In response to AitchD @ 142

I had it a little wrong – the Angels’ closer, Donnie Moore - coughed up a homer that was the turning point of the series. But he did ultimately kill himself in 1989.

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 4:26 pm
In response to AitchD @ 142

His name was Donnie Moore.

It was traumatic for a lot of the players. The owner of the California Angels (they were to be known as the Anaheim Angels too before being known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right now) at the time was the Gene Autry, who had owned the team since it’s inception. He was getting up in age and had NEVER seen his team make the World Series. ALL of the players had pretty much dedicated that playoff run to him. They were mere outs away from making their first ever World Series appearance, until Donnie Moore suffered the most famous blown save in Angels history.

He continued to pitch after that, but took his own life less than 3 years later.


AitchD April 2nd, 2011 at 4:36 pm
In response to OldFatGuy @ 145

& scribe @ 144:

25 years on, and it’s still fresh, still filled with untold ambivalence.

Great thread, everyone, and great thanks, Stephen, Dakine, and BevW.

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 4:49 pm
In response to AitchD @ 143

Yes, IMO it’s the most beautiful game in the world. My only complaint now, believe it or not, has nothing to do with performance enhancing drugs. Baseball players have been trying to use substances to get an edge since they’ve been playing baseball.

Babe Ruth, yes Babe Ruth, it is rumored, once ingested goat urine in an attempt to gain some sort of advantage from it’s testosterone. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and all the greats of my childhood took amphetimines like candy, and we all know now about steroids.

IMO the game lived through all of that because of what a beautiful game it is.

But I don’t know how it’s going to live through the outrageous imbalance of revenues now, resulting in a very real competitive imbalance that IMO takes some of the shine off the game and may ultimately be it’s downfall.

There are simply teams that will NEVER compete other than a season or two every now and then when they luck out and have a whole crop of young talent come of age together. I’ve already felt myself fed up at times and don’t follow it as closely as I used to, although it is, by far, still my favorite team sport.

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Since Book Salon is over, are we allowed to post an OT???

Sorry, but I just wanted to ask Dakine if he were a fan at all of any baseball computer games or simulations. I don’t know how to contact him directly so I thought I’d ask here. If this violates Book Salon rules then PLEASE DELETE this for me since we seem unable to delete comments ourselves after a few seconds.

dakine01 April 2nd, 2011 at 5:37 pm
In response to OldFatGuy @ 148

Not really a fan of the simulations or video games either one. I guess in that respect I’m a bit of a luddite. Although I did have an electric baseball game as a kid. And played a few different baseball pinball machines over the years

I played strat-o-matic a few times back when and was underwhelmed by it as well.

I just like the game itself. And I stay away from the fantasy leagues as I like to cheer for and against specific teams and would most likely have to have players from teams I don’t like in order to be competitive and I’d rather just cheer as I always have.

OldFatGuy April 2nd, 2011 at 5:53 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 149

Ahh, gotcha.

Thank you.

Hope I didn’t violate Book Salon rules.

szielinski April 2nd, 2011 at 6:56 pm
In response to AitchD @ 101

One of the protesters mottoes:

Best park, worst owners

I would bet the park for the SI Yankees provides a great view of the lower Manhattan skyline. I once lived in Staten Island, and took the ferry to Manhattan every day. I never grew tired of the ferry ride.

Still, there is something about PNC’s close relationship to dahntahn, the Clemente bridge, the Convention Center and the now smog-free horizon that you noticed that makes the view from PNC different. The park is well designed too. It’s the one thing McClatchy got right.

Teddy Partridge April 2nd, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Also: I’ve learned entirely too much about PGE Park here in Portland during these two hours, as well, with another window open. I did not know that one of the very first outdoor rock concerts (Elvis, 9.2.57) happened there.

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