Tagged: Elroy Face

The Most Wonderful Week of the Year


Why are we baseball fans?  What draws you to the game?  Is it something tangible or is it a feeling you get from watching it?  Is it the same reason that it was when you were 13, 43 or 63 years old?  Obviously everyone will have a different answer and quite honestly there is no wrong answer.  One thing we all have in common is at one point in our lives, every single one of us wanted to be out on that field as a member of the pros.  That dream faded for many of us when we realized we had not one bit of talent to back it up.  Today’s book takes a look at one of the very few who were lucky enough to keep that little boy’s dream alive inside themselves, and while it may be 40 years behind his schedule it is still a monumental dream fulfilled.

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By Roy Berger-2014

Roy Berger is an average guy just like the rest of us.  Making a home, enjoying his family and friends and raising his kids to the best of his abilities.  But deep down inside he had that dream that to some degree we all still have, he wanted to be a major league baseball player.  While reality sets in for all of us when we realize we don’t have the ability to back up the dream, all of us like Roy never totally let go of that dream.  Being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan in his youth, the 50th anniversary of the 1960 World Series Champions led for a unique opportunity for Roy to make his dreams come true.

Fantasy Camps to me were always a toy for the rich fans.  The ability to hob-nob with the heroes of yesteryear and the chance to be shoulder to shoulder with them out on the battlefield.  Now while I still believe these are the tools of the affluent fan, this book shows us how much dedication one has to put into playing in a fantasy camp along with proving no matter what your financial status is in life, you can’t put a dollar sign on your dreams.

Roy Berger takes us on his journey through four Fantasy Camps.  He starts with his first true love the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1960 team.  The Pittsburgh Pirates being the first love of his youth was a logical starting point and provided good value for the money.  He shows the reader how any fan might feel going into the first fantasy camp and it gives you a good feel for what these camps are all about.  It also shows how addictive the game of baseball really is to true lifetime fans.

His second year he takes us on tour with the Detroit Tigers.  The combination of rain delays and cancellations at that camp plus the fact that he had no real attachment to the Detroit Tigers led to his worst experience of all the visits.  It was the lowest price of all the camps he attended and proves the adage you get what you pay for.   This trip also showed that even though he was a player in his late 50’s that he still treated the game with respect and went through the needed preparation to give it his best.

His third year, 2012, Roy takes us to his adult adopted team, the New York Yankees fantasy camp.  The highest priced of all the camps, because its the Yankees and they can do it, it offered the most amenities along with the opportunities to hob nob with the most players. An overall great experience both on and off the field, the only downside of course was the price.

Roy’s final fantasy camp took us back to the Pirates, which to me seems to be the best value of all the camps he attended.  A combination of on field injuries and Father Time catching up with Roy made this his poorest performance at any of the camps and lowest showing in the camps final standings for any of the teams he had been on.

This book is a great example of how no matter how old we are, we never can outgrow that little kid inside of each of us that wants to play baseball.  I find it amazing that grown men will pay thousands of dollars for a week of playing baseball with some of their heroes.  It is also the opportunity for grown men and women to create new friendships that endure year to year.  Without doubt this is very a unique opportunity and one that price will ever forbid me from partaking in, and at any age, but if I could afford it I would most certainly go.

Roy’s book does a great job of showing the reader what one goes through in a Fantasy Camp.  It is not just show up and play ball, because at our age (over 40) most of our bodies would just laugh at us if we tried that.  He shows the preparation and dedication required to play  and the most important what it takes to not look like an idiot in front of your heroes.  It shows that no matter how old we get, as long as you can write the check,  baseball will always keep us young at heart.

If you have any sort of inner child this book is great for you.  It will show you where baseball may lead you if you always stay true to both yourself and the game.  You can get this book direct from Roy Berger himself.

The Most Wonderful Week of the Year

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia


I have said it before and like a broken record I will say it again, knowledge is power for baseball fans.  No matter who your team is, you need a strong knowledge of their history.  That way you can have intelligent conversations or even arguments with other fans about who was the best on your team.  Every fan needs some ammunition in these fights and this book may help you win your battles.

By: David Finoli and Bill Ranier-2015

By: David Finoli and Bill Ranier-2015

For Pirates fans this could prove to be invaluable.  It answers for you the who, what, when, where and why of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It covers players, managers, general managers, the post season and some of the best era’s of Buccos history.  It is a great source of team statistics as well as covering the All-Stars that called Pittsburgh home.  The most controversial thing this book may produce is a list of the 10 best Pittsburgh Pirates.  This list alone can give Pirates fans something to chew on for hours, days even weeks.  The debate quite honestly may never come to an end, because with a history as rich as the Pirates, how can you only pick ten?

We live in the world where statistics are at our fingertips with the internet and certain baseball sites.  I find it very comforting, being a guy who likes books, to be able to grab a book off the shelf and find exactly what I need right in front of my eyes printed in black and white.  Even in the electronic world these team encyclopedia’s warrant a place on every fans bookshelf.  Plus you never know when the power may be out for a few hours and you will need to have some information at your fingertips.

Pirates fans will really enjoy this, because it gives them a wealth of information in an easy to find format.  It is both entertaining and educational and can help make anyone a stronger fan of the Pirates.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing

http://www.sportspubbooks.com/book/?GCOI=58261106919920

Happy Reading

Gregg

Closer – The Inside Pitch on Saving the Game


The game of baseball is forever changing.  One could almost consider it some form of living organism.  The product is always changing and evolving into something much different from what you may have seen years before.  It could be the actual play of the game, rules or even subtle changes to position players that have become unique.  The role of the closer has been one such animal over the last 60 years or so, that has morphed itself to the forefront of the game.  If a team doesn’t have a great stopper in their bullpen, they are going nowhere quick.  Todays book takes a look at that changing role straight from the horse’s mouth.

 

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By Kevin Neary and Leigh Tobin 2013-Runing Press

This book takes a rather unique, but definitely effective approach to the role of the closer.  You get the information direct from some of the names that have defined the role throughout the years.  Starting in the 1950’s with the person whom many consider the original closer Elroy Face, to current day closing specialists like John Smoltz, you get the story of why these roles have become so important.  The book breaks down the closer role into three eras.  The beginning, the transition years and the modern era.  Each section has interviews with several of the pitchers that became closers in their careers during those periods, and how the changing role of the closer within the game affected them.

The authors have done a nice job of showing the reader how the player viewed themselves within the game.  It shows how the pitcher really fit in the game both before and after they became a closer, and how it changed their careers.  There are several Hall of Fame careers that were actually saved by becoming a closer.  Some guys had fairly succesful careers before the switch, but everyone interviewed seemed to view the switch as a positive thing for their careers.

If you want to see how the game has evolved and read some really good interviews at the same time you should check out this book.  The authors did a nice job with it and should be proud of their work.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Running Press

http://www.runningpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg