Saturday, June 16, 2012

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Reviews:

       The Weather is Heating Up and so is the Baseball Reading about "Ozzie's School of Management," John Smoltz and more . . .
     "Ozzie's School of Management" by  Rick Morrissey ( Times Books,  $26.00, 288 pages) is a book that is way out there. Peppered with profanity, irreverent, outrageous, sometimes ringing true,  and other times out there ­ this is a work for fan's of Ozzie Gillen late of the White Sox now prime time with Miami. Morrissey covered Ozzie and his antics  for eight years in Chicago as sports columnist for the Sun-Times. He has done a good job presenting seamless stories, entertaining and outlandish. Ozzie's ten commandments are a must read. One can hear the thick Venezuelan accent speaking about strategy, dust ups, memorable moments.
     Sub-titled "Lessons from the Dugout, the Clubhouse and the Doghouse, this tome should be required reading for fans of its subject who says if he had it to do all over it would be as a bull fighter in his native Venezuela.
    "Starting and Closing" by Don Smoltz with Don Yaeger (William Morrow, $26.00, 304 pages) is a look inside the man who was one of baseball's most enduring and endearing characters on and off the playing fields. Shown through the filter of Smoltzy's final season, "Starting and Closing" is much more than that. Faith, flexibility, sticking to a task, "starting and closing" as the book's sub-title announces, all of this is part of a terrific reading experience. Just as Smoltz was an all purpose pitcher, a guy who had the goods, the same can be said about this highly readable work.
    From the University of Illinois Press comes "A People's History of Baseball" by Mitchell Nathanson ($29.95, 272 pages). A professor of legal writing at Villanova, Nathanson peppers his actual 219 pages of heavy prose with notes, a bibliography and a lengthy index to reach the book's announced 272 pages. There are some take aways here, but overall these ruminations are more than twice told stories told better the first time around.
    For those who did not get enough about Penn State, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky with all the hype and hoopla and dissection in the media ­ there is "Game Over" by Bill Moushey and Bob Dvorchak (William Morrow, $26.99, 224 pages). Veteran authors, guys who  know their way around a story, Bill Moushey and Bob Dvorchak have done due diligence here. If you are interested in more frontstage and backstage on the horrific narrative of "JoePa's" once little piece of paradise ­ this is the volume for you.
    "Fenway Park Trivia" by Bill Nowlin (Rounder Books) is an effort created by a man who knows more about the park than most and he struts his stuff all over the place in this tiny terrific tome. Fact and fancy intermingle nicely. GO FOR IT
    "You Stink!" by Eric J. Wittenberg and Michael Aubrecht (Black Squirrel Books, paper, 332 pages) has an off-putting title but it describes a tome that clearly and cleverly focuses on terrible big league teams and pathetic players. Nicely done!

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