Sunday, March 16, 2008
“I Live for This!: Baseball's Last True Believer,” and other reads for March 2008.
It was way back in 1975 when I was at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles interviewing for my first book “A Baseball Century.” I was a rookie at the game and boldly on the field started to approach the relief pitcher Mike Marshall. His back was towards me; nevertheless, he started screaming profanities threatening me with bodily harm if I came a step closer.
Suddenly, I felt a tug from behind and a soothing voice:” Stay away from him, he’s a nut job. Interview me instead.”
I did. That was my first of several meetings with terrific and affable Tom Lasorda.
We flash forward to 2007. I contacted his agent requesting access to the man who forever “bleeds Dodger blue.” I wanted to interview him for my then work in progress -REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, knowing full well of Lasorda’s many battles at “the House That Ruth Built.” It seemed a simple enough request on my part.
However, I was denied access by his publisher Houghton Mifflin. It seemed that he was writing his own book and they were fearful that the few paragraphs of memories he might yield up to me would diminish his tome.
Oh, well. I’ve been there before and probably will again having to deal with silliness. My book was completed with almost a hundred unique voices telling their stories. His was also completed.
Tommy Lasorda’s book “I Live for This!: Baseball's Last True Believer,” with the LA Times sports writer Bill Plaschke (Houghton Mifflin) is an outspoken and at the same time nostalgic romp through his considerable baseball years. His unhappiness that it took so long to get voted into the Hall of Fame, his unhappiness being relegated to the sidelines after his managing career for the Dodgers ended, his old school ranting about the lack of manners he sees as part of the culture, are just several pieces of subject matter.
There are hits runs and errors in this book. There is also Tom Lasorda coming to life – warts and all.
Also from Houghton comes “The Cubs” with text by Glenn Stout ($40.00, 460 pages) a mother lode of facts, factoids, insights and anecdotes about all things Chicago Cubs baseball.
“The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2008” ($19.95, 356 pages) contains all one probably would ever want to know about the 2007 baseball season including post-season playoffs and World Series action. Especially interesting are the detailed team statistics and graphs.
“The Ball is Round” by David Goldblatt (Riverhead Books, $24.00, 974 pages) is a Niagara of info on the world’s greatest game, the one multi-millions watch. Goldblatt has truly served up a treat and a treatise on the “beautiful game.”