To tide you over until Opening Day
(33 days and counting), a few books that have recently crossed my desk and are well
worth paging through:
a Grapefruit Sun: Red Sox Spring Training a Quarter Century Ago, published
by the good people over at Rounder Books, is a beaut: a sun-drunk photo album
of afternoon idylls in Winter Haven back in the early 1980s.
when spring training wasn’t quite
as frenzied as it is today. Those were simpler times, back when Yaz smoked
and smiled, when Ted Williams gave Joe Rudi tips in the cage, when Jerry Remy
wore a uniform, and when Eck’s mullet flowed long and free. Oh wait, it still
sorta does that.
a little further through the mists of time, there’s The
1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox: Pandemonium on the Field, another
Rounder book, edited by
Bill Nowlin (who’s written more Red Sox-related books than anyone on the planet)
and Dan Desrochers.
Like the shock that descended upon
the Hub when it realized this 100-1 team could actually win the pennant, the
book is BIG: 384 pages and at least a couple pounds, even though it’s a
paperback. As is the case with all of Nowlin’s books, it’s exhaustively and
exactingly researched, with lengthy essays on every pitcher, position player,
coach, manager, and front office suit; stirring meditations on what that
epochal season meant for Boston an beyond, and a treasure trove of unearthed photographs, the best of which are of that rapturous crowd storming the field of the lyric little
bandbox, ripping down every souvenir they could grab, and raising Gentleman Jim
Lonborg on their ecstatic shoulders. What a time it must have been. What say,
40 years on, we do it again?
* Finally, there’s Big
Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits (St. Martin’s), in which Mr. David Americo Arias Ortiz — with a
little help from Tony
Massarotti — looks back on the triumphs and tragedies of his life so far,
from the disappointments in Minnesota to his
mother’s tragic death to his blinding apotheosis in Boston.
In fairness, I think it’s safe to
say he got a lot of help from
Massarotti: like most “as told to” books, this one reads like it was written by
the newspaperman, not the athlete — even though Tony Mazz gamely interjects the
occasional “dude” and “I’ll tell you what, bro” to give it more of that authentic
voice. But that doesn’t make it any less of a fun read. How can you not love this
man? I sure do. Sometimes
maybe a little too much?
Speaking of as-told-to books, looks
like Pete Golenbock, who penned that Johnny
Damon bio, Idiot — 60 used and new available from $0.15! — and has now followed his erstwhile subject to the Yankees, is
that seamy Mickey Mantle book published after all.
[Marilyn Monroe], going in nice and easy ..."
Ooh. I haven’t been this turned on
since I looked at Coco Crisp’s
if you think that’s hot...*shudder*)
Why does the Boston
sports media suck so much? (Or does it?)
Japanese players start getting into Cooperstown?
Can we win
the World Series again?
And oh yeah. One
more thing to keep you going as February wanes and daylight savings time looms...
a game tonight. Like, in barely more than an hour.
is throwing, Manny
is smiling, the moon is shining, and all is right with the world.
It’s been a
long, long winter.
at long last, the
Mayor’s Cup will be ours.