Results tagged ‘ baseball ’

Position to Win

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

As the title implies, the memoir by veteran broadcaster Dewayne Staats is more than an autobiographical collection of baseball memories and career highlights. It is positive and uplifting, even when he discusses topics that are anything but.

positiontowin“Position to Win: A Look at Baseball and Life From the Best Seat in the House” chronicles everything from his Midwestern upbringing, to his nearly two decades of calling the action for the Rays, to everything in-between. And while there’s plenty to tell — he worked with Hall of Fame announcers Gene Elston and Harry Caray and for George Steinbrenner, after all — this formula is common enough in memoirs.

What sets this work apart is the unifying theme throughout. Staats relates the concept of positivity to his own career, to baseball and to the world at large.

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Cal Ripken, Jr. to throw out first pitch, sign his new book on March 5 at Ed Smith Stadium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

outathomeThe Orioles today announced that Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will visit Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday, March 5 for the Orioles’ 7:05 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays, where he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign copies of his new children’s book, Out At Home, on the lower concourse beginning at 8:00 p.m.

The visit is part of a national book tour for Out At Home, the fifth installment in the New York Times best-selling “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series. Ripken will autograph the first 300 books, which will be available for purchase at the game for $16.99. Due to time constraints, Ripken will be unable to sign additional items.

Tickets for the Orioles-Blue Jays game are available and can be purchased at the Ed Smith Stadium Box Office, via www.orioles.com/spring, or by phone at 877-222-2802.

Ted Williams, My Father

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

tedwilliamsmyfatherTed Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. He was also a famously did-it-my-way sort known for, among other things, saying whatever was on his mind and to heck with the consequences.

In “Ted Williams, My Father,” Claudia Williams demonstrates that she is very much her father’s daughter. She has written a memoir that is tender and tough, poignant and heartbreaking, sweet and raw. And so honest that at times it feels like peeping into a stranger’s window.

Claudia was a product of her father’s second marriage, born a decade after he retired. She was largely raised by her mother. One theme that runs through these pages is her overwhelming need to be accepted by a father who doted on her brother John Henry and, if not a misogynist, held old-fashioned attitudes toward women. “You wouldn’t believe how many times during my young years I wished I had been born a boy,” she observes early on.

There’s a revealing story about an invitational cross-country race when she was in sixth grade. She had a chance to be the first girl to win it. Making the outcome even more crucial, her father was there. She was third going into the home stretch but, summoning every bit of determination she had, she ended up winning. It was a wonderful moment that she wanted to bask in with her dad. But the other parents came up and started asking him for autographs and she was gradually pushed aside.

Claudia is a talented writer. Example: “Although my father spanked me only once, he tested me on numerous occasions. His words could penetrate even the toughest armor, and many times his words stung for days — sometimes months. A few are still with me, like embedded splinters.”

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How Baseball Explains America

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

howbaseballexplainsBaseball touches so many aspects of society that most people barely stop to think about it. From the culture to the language to the history, the national pastime has influenced the way people talk, think and entertain themselves.

Veteran journalist Hal Bodley, the senior correspondent for MLB.com, stopped to think about it. The result is “How Baseball Explains America,” a loosely arranged collection of 17 chapters that connects the dots between the game and the various ways it informs our workaday lives.

Some of the territory covered is familiar. Chapter 9, for example, is devoted to the legacy of Jackie Robinson. Of course, it would be impossible to write a book of this nature and omit Robinson’s enormous contributions and how the integration of baseball in 1947 is widely viewed as a spark for the civil rights movement as a whole.

On those occasions, the tone shifts from professorial examination to personal memoir. Bodley is in his sixth decade of covering baseball for a living. He has been fortunate enough to have a front-row seat at many of the important milestones that have occurred in the game since he began his career in 1958.

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Idiots Revisited

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

idiotsrevisitedAsk any baseball player who has just been part of a significant event — whether it’s a personal milestone or an important win for the team – about what it all means and his answer will almost always be the same. He’ll say that he hasn’t really had time to think about it, that it hasn’t sunk in, that he probably won’t fully appreciate the magnitude of what just happened until much later.

That’s because only time can add perspective to memories — not to mention that, after a decent interval, a certain now-it-can-be-told sensibility sets in. The statute of limitations runs out on stories that might once have been deemed better left inside the clubhouse.

Longtime MLB.com Red Sox beat writer Ian Browne has deftly tapped into that reality with “Idiots Revisited: Catching Up with the Red Sox Who Won the 2004 World Series.” It is both an in-depth remembrance of the team that broke the franchise’s 86-year championship drought and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most charismatic clubs in recent memory.

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1954

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

1954-coverBaseball is justifiably proud of how the Brooklyn Dodgers’ signing of Jackie Robinson in 1947, breaking the unofficial color barrier, played an important role in promoting civil rights in this country.

Award-winning baseball writer Bill Madden makes a compelling case in “1954: The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever” that the real impact of that historic event on the sport wasn’t actually felt until seven years later.

It’s true that by then, Robinson was well-established in the big leagues. When Spring Training began that season, he had won a National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 and had made the NL All-Star team each of the previous five seasons. And it’s also true that the Dodgers had already added other African-American standouts such as Don Newcombe, Joe Black, Roy Campanella and Junior Gilliam.

But integration in the sport was still the exception more than the rule.

That was the year, for example, that Ernie Banks became a full-time player for the Cubs and when Hank Aaron made his Major League debut for the Milwaukee Braves. It was the year when, for the first time, both teams appearing in the World Series, the Indians and New York Giants, featured black players.

It was the year that Willie Mays returned from military service and blossomed into one of the most magnetic players in history. His outsized impact on his team’s success is duly chronicled. It was the year that the Dodgers started five blacks on July 17, the first time in history whites had been outnumbered in the lineup.

That was also the year that the Supreme Court ruled in “Brown vs. Board of Education” that segregation in public schools based solely on race was illegal. Still, at the beginning of the season, half the 16 teams that existed at the time had yet to use a black player.

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You’re Missin’ a Great Game

Reviewed by Larry Dierker of MLB.com in his Dierk’s Dugout MLBlog

I always thought of Whitey Herzog as a happy, almost carefree guy. Now that I’ve finished his book, You’re Missin’ a Great Game, I realize that he is good natured, but he is also desperately in love with baseball, and righteously distressed about the way it is heading. In that sense, we are alike.

The thing that seems to bother him most is the schedule. Scheduling Interleague games creates a strength of opposition problem, which he believes is unfair. It is, and I said the same thing when I was managing. We had to play our in-state “rivals,” the Rangers in a series at home and in Arlington, while the Cardinals did the same thing, playing the Royals. Read More

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