Frommer on Sports
"A Talk in the Park" "Clubhouse Confidential," Greatest Game
It never fails to amaze one to see the volume and
variety of sports books -- terrible economy or not - -that keep being published.
It is a testament to the scope and hold our games have on us and the "acts
of faith" by publishers and writers to serve up these tomes - - some of top
quality and others middling in many ways. None of the volumes reviewed below fit
into the latter category -- all belong on your sports bookshelf.
"A Talk in the Park" by Curt Smith (Potomac Books, $27.50, 308 pages) is a
worthy work focused as it is as its sub-title proclaims on "nine decades of
baseball tales from the broadcast booth." Active and retired "voices"
participate, 116 in all, in compelling oral history story-telling.
There is Pat Hughes recalling Harry Caray broadcasting with a tea bag dangling
from his ear, Bob Wolff and the longest ever wild pitch, Lou Piniella exposed in
all his varied poses - -lovable and excitable and clothes and unclothed.
Ranging, riveting, really great stuff, "A Talk in the Park" is baseball history
as well as very up close and personal memories of changing times in broadcast
booth by those who lived it. NOTABLE.
"The Greatest Game Ever Pitched" by Jim Kaplan (Triumph, $24.95, 241 pages) is
billed the pitching duel of century - -Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn. Its focus is
a summer night in 1963 before almost 16,000 plus, a game that went 16 innings
and way past midnight. Kaplan meticulously, marvelously brings back the time.
"Clubhouse Confidential" by Luis "Squeegee" Castillo with WilliamKane (St.
Martin's, $25,99, 293 pages) is a behind the scenes and no holds
barred looked at the New York Yankees for whom he worked for as a bat boy and
clubhouse attendant from 1998 to 2005. A star in his own rights, a guy whohad
the Bleacher Creatures calling his name, Castillo lays it all out - -wild nights
and days, gambling, an inside look at the privacy of the Yankee clubhouse, what
it was like to know and work with Bernie Williams, David Cone, Joe Torre, Don
Zimmer, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, etc. "Clubhouse Confidential" is a bit
self-serving, but I guess that's the nature of the genre. Tighter editing would
have improved the read but for Yankee fans this is the real deal.
"A Glove of Their Own" by Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling and Lisa
Funari-Willever (Franklin Mason Press, $15.95, illustrated by Lauren Lambiase)
is a beautifully executed and carefull conceived tome. Reading it one is taken
back to early days of playing the game - mine were on the "mean streets" of
Brooklyn, stickball, and I did not have a glove of my own or a bat either. The
book begins "In our town there's a park, with an oak tree so tall. We meet there
each day, so we can play ball. The spot is home plate for our everyday game.
Sticks are the bases; they work just the same." And from that beginning, the
reader is swept away . . .HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
EXCELLENT E-BOOKS: For the casual fan or the totally involved, "Ballpark
E-Guides" overseed by Kurt Smith
http://www.ballparkeguides.com/index.html is well worth your attention. The
price is right, too, just five dollars each to download with PayPal or major
credit card.Just a couple of examples that stand out for their content and
execution are Yankee Stadium E-Guide
http://www.ballparkeguides.com/fenway-park.html and Fenway Park E-Guide
http://www.ballparkeguides.com/yankee-stadium.html. The e-guides are
attractive and accessible and offer such features as All About Baseball Tickets,
Parking, Food, best way to get to the Park, what to eat when you get to the
game. "Tightwad Tips" is worth the price of admission. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.