If you are looking for a book review tonight unfortunately you have come to the wrong place. Being the name sake of this blog provides me the opportunity to have a public venting session when needed. So please if you all will, amuse me tonight and let me complain so that by tomorrow I will be in a better frame of mind and will return to what I normally do around here…….baseball books and all that go with it.
For those of you who haven’t heard, my wife and I are expecting our first child in August. To celebrate the event we were going to take an epic trip in May and visit six MLB stadiums in eight days along with one Minor League stop in there as well. Here is the link to the original story if you missed it. We had some good responses and ideas from a few of my readers to some things we should not miss at the places we were going. We also had some preliminary contact with a couple of the teams we were going to visit so it was looking like it was all going to come together nicely and be a fun trip. Until today, when my little black cloud, that seems to follow me almost everywhere, showed its ugly face once again and rained all over our trip. You may ask, what has happened that would be so crappy to ruin our epic trip……..here let me show you…………….
That is a wonderful x-ray of my spine. The same spine that now requires surgery and some sort of implant to fix and has essentially screwed us out of our trip. I will be out of commission for at least a month and that falls right during the month of May. So instead of following the Phillies from city to city, and eating an Egg Mcmuffin in Toledo at a baseball game, I will be sitting at home on the couch with my head buried in another baseball book.
My wife has brought up the proposition of doing this trip next summer with our new little bundle of joy in tow, but I haven’t 100% signed off that idea yet. I do think having the new addition along would be a great bonus to the trip, I am just not sure how easy that much travel would be with someone that little.
I would like to think there is some sort of reason this has happened now and that we are better off staying home. But more than likely, it is just my black cloud following me again. So all the above being said if anyone has some ideas for books I should check out during my several week recuperation let me know. I have a few weeks until my surgery date, but will still have several weeks at home to read.
So that’s the plan, we will make that my silver lining in all of this and hopefully get some new recommendations from my readers. I have lots of faith in the folks I talk to in baseball book land and have already read a few of your ideas. So I look forward to and also appreciate any ideas you all have.
Thanks for reading my rant, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to listen to me whine and complain……………now back to your regular scheduled book reviews.
Fair warning, today’s post is not about a specific book. It is more of a question I pose to the people who take the time to read my blog. I have always wondered what books are out there for me to find and read. Is it just an endless abyss of books that I will never reach the end, or is there some sort of final destination. As I find myself cruising the internet I find a sea of books available, biographies, history, trivia, team books and countless other genres that are out there. Unfortunately for me anyway, I have never come across a comprehensive list of books available, both in and out of print. I have come across books and lists that take on a portion of whats out there, the Top-10 Greatest, Top-100 of All-time, or even 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die.
Ron Kaplan’s above book seems to be the most comprehensive work I have been able to find. It covers a true 501 books, but how many baseball books are still out there for exploration? Am I missing something? Did I miss in my Google searches a more comprehensive list that goes higher than 501? Is there something out there that will lead me to the answers of the questions I have about baseball books?
I guess my point is what can we as baseball book fans do to compile a list of the available books that are out there? Is there some sort of shared database platform we could all work off of to compile this if you will, catalog? I think for our hobby as readers it would be a helpful tool to see what we could be reading. If you do an Amazon search of Baseball Books, you get less than 3,000 results. But I know for sure there are more than that out there. If anybody uses Library Thing to catalog your books, then you know you can see other people’s collections. And if you are not using it, you should be because it is incredible. Anyhow, between myself and one other person on there we have more than 3,000 different books combined, some of which Amazon does not display. So that means there are more out there waiting to be found!
So what can we do? I personally think a baseball book catalog would be helpful, but does anyone else? And if that answer is yes, does anyone have any idea how we could do it? I would be interested in any thoughts anyone has, because it is something that I think could be a fun project for all involved and be helpful to the baseball community as a whole. Perhaps I am nuts in thinking its a good idea, but I still think it might be fun.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to use this book on the blog or not. I have no clue what my reader base is and didn’t want to do something inappropriate for that audience. After seeing all the articles on the internet about Umpire Dale Scott announcing his homosexuality, I figured this was a s good of a time as any to take a look at this book.
Going the Other Way
By:Billy Bean-2014 The Experiment Publishing
Being politically correct has never been one of my strengths so if I offend anyone, my apologies up front. Billy Bean was a major league player in the late 80’s to early 90’s. He bounced around to a few cities and played for a few years in the majors but was never a player who produced substantially. While we all may know of his baseball side, this book is more of a personal revelation book in the sense that he seems to come to grips with who he really is.
For those unaware Bean is gay. I am in no way judging his lifestyle on here at all. I am just stating facts and letting each reader have their own opinion whatever that may be. I am not sure I would necessarily call this a baseball book so much as possibly it is just a book about reflecting on one’s own life. Sure there are baseball stories but it is not an overwhelming theme.
Bean takes a look back at his own life and the choices he has made, his career and where is life is going. He talks about the struggles of being gay and how he came to grips with who he really was. You get amazing insight into a person’s journey through this topic and oh yeah by the way, he was a professional baseball player. Billy pulls no punches and does not try to sugarcoat any of the choices he has made, good, bad or indifferent. It is a surprisingly honest account from a professional athlete. There is nothing written in the book to try to portray Bean in a different light from what he really is. He comes across as human just like the rest of us, and you share in the journey of him finding himself. This honesty about his own being has probably led to MLB naming him the Ambassador of Inclusion in 2014.
This book was originally written 7 or 8 years ago and the new edition has some more pages. Whether you read the original printing or the new one it is a well written book and in the end you admire Bean for his forthrightness in the story. With homosexuality starting to come to the forefront in professional sports in the past few years, this is a very good book to get a glimpse at what an athlete endures to play the game. Perhaps they can get the players who are enduring this scenario to read this book and use it as some sort of guide.
If you want a strong baseball book, this may not be the best choice for you. If you are looking at an honest human interest memoir and learning about the author’s journey, who, oh yeah, happened to be a professional baseball player, then you will really enjoy this book.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The Experiment Publishing