Have you done your homework? It's once again time for another periodic meeting of the Reporter Book Club. This week, we'll discuss "Winter" (pp 27-51) and "Spring" (pp 55-103) from Joe Posnanski's The Soul of Baseball.
There's a lot of good stuff here. Great stories and even better tall tales, Maddux vs Clemens , a plaintive afternoon with the greatest living ballplayer, a shady Negro League busdriver, Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler, a big bag of Cracker Jack and seven dollar beers. There's even a Jerry Hairston, Jr. sighting!
Here are a few things to consider:
1] "You go straight until you get to nowhere and then you turn right." (p 39) Have you ever taken a roadtrip or a long drive with a relative stranger or someone who you were sure to know better at the end of a long trip? Ever spent an interesting few hours with a "single-serving friend"?
2] "Buck got into his Plymouth Fury teh next day and drove into the wods to find Oscar Gamble." (p 59) Have you ever driven off "the beaten path" and along the backroads to "scout" something that you had a hunch was going to be good? (Ya know: a restaurant? A band? The world's largest ball of twine?)
3] Simply put, what was your favorite part of this week's reading:
- The innocent flirting between a ninety-two year old man and a 101 year old woman?
- The Say-Hey Kid's painful mourning of what might have been?
- Buck's nearly naked obsession with Josh Gibson and the dynamite sounding bat crack?
- There was a lot of good stuff in these pages. What else?
4] "Sneaking a fastball by Buck Leonard was like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster." (p 29) What are your favorite cliches, similes, metaphors or idioms or old saws from the game of baseball? (Say what you will about Jeff Brantley calling games. The other day he shared the definition of "a Louisiana breakdown" with me. And I loved him for it.) TSOB also has a lot of great nicknames from the past. Any favorites from baseball?
5] "Baseball marketing directors...constantly invent new things to fill in the quiet spaces between innings and at-bats-- trivia contests, dance-offs, beer gardens, children's play areas ... pizza promotions, blooper videos..." Also: scoreboard races, Kiss Cams, etc... What are your favorite (and least favorite) "extracurricluar activities" at a ballgame?
Anything else?... Tony Oliva? ...Spitballs?...Nolan Ryan's Guinness Book of World Records pitch? Motivational appearances for school children by retired athletes? (Don Newcombe once told me to quit drinking!) ... Anybody ever been to a game in a dome? Anybody ever enjoy a game in a dome? ...Eighteen dollar hamburgers?
Again, feel free to discuss anything and everything you come up with. It's your day. Have an ice cream.