October 21, 2014

In Praise of Timeless Bears

September 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the greatest baseball movies and American comedies of all time has been largely laying low in tall outfield grass for 38 years. Despite its commercial success,The Bad News Bears is rarely mentioned on critics’ lists of classic movies. It’s high time it was put on the pedestal it deserves. Recently, I attended a […]

Being Christy Mathewson

February 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Catching up with Eddie Frierson after a thousand one-man shows It’s a cold and drizzly night in L.A., and I have to meet Christy Mathewson at the Coffee Bean in ten minutes. I mean, I know it isn’t really him—Matty, Big Six, the Christian Gentleman, among other monikers—but something about Eddie Frierson has me unconsciously […]

March Gladness: Further Thoughts on the World Baseball Classic

March 18, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

It isn’t always pretty, the timing stinks, the umpiring is spotty, the pitch count limits are a drag, many of the games are half-attended and God only knows what the TV ratings are, but I’d still rather watch The Kingdom of the Netherlands battle Chinese Tapei in the World Baseball Classic than one inning of […]

Why Dodger Fans Leave Early

August 29, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Adrian Gonzalez, his new home Dodger whites practically glowing against the brilliant green turf, jogged back to the dugout after clubbing a pitch from Miami’s Josh Johnson deep into the right field stands. It was his very first at bat in L.A., and only the second pitch he saw. Coming after a crazed 24-hour news […]

Good Show, Mr. Bailey

February 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Back in the good old disco ’70s, I had the thrill of working a New England amusement park roller coaster for three consecutive summers. It was me and four other impressionable, party-loving young guys and the pay was crap, but we had so many vivid, unforgettable moments I can still feel the sensation of stopping […]

Bookends of Hell

October 2, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

As much as I had grown to like Terry Francona, the 2011 Red Sox were severely unprepared to start the season, and ill-equipped to finish it, and it’s a manager’s job to prevent things like that from happening. Yes, there were some devastating injuries to Clay Buchholz, Dice-K, and in the stretch run, Kevin Youkilis, […]

Moneyball Review #381

September 25, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Okay, first things first: I am not a sabermatician. I have no interest in memorizing, using or developing mathematical formulas to measure baseball player performance. I’m pretty good at math, but a math class is something I’ve avoided like the plague since high school algebra. What I am is a loyal sabermetric FAN. As I […]

Giants Fever in a Post-2010 World

August 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I saw my first signs of acute Giants fever in the waning weekends of their 2010 championship year, when the team was in a neck-and-neck battle with San Diego for the NL West title. It wasn’t your standard rising crowd roar that accompanies two-strike counts for the home pitcher late in the game.  It wasn’t […]

Talking Baseball…A Lot of It

July 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Eric Weiss was in trouble. The “practicing attorney and unapologetic Yankees fan” from Scarsdale was wrapping up a 25-minute seminar called Baseball’s Greatest Postseason Series, when a handful of people in the Pacific Room of the Long Beach Hilton began to squirm. The battle he was recounting was the 1912 Chicago City Series between the […]

Bill James, Crime Writer

May 31, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

I have a confession to make. Every time I walk into a bookstore the first two sections I visit are Baseball and True Crime. You would think no two subjects would be further apart, and yet they do have an odd symmetry. Both are treasure troves of curious tales with colorful characters. Both create an […]

At Home with the Browns

January 10, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Hello. My name is Jeff and I’m a certified Brownsaholic. Don’t ask me why. The star-crossed franchise hasn’t existed in its St. Louis form since 1953, when the club was sent packing to Baltimore to become birds. George Sisler may be the only Brown that your average baseball fan can name. And I’m from New […]

Retro Magic at Forbes Field

December 15, 2010 by · 6 Comments 

Arnold Hano’s marvelous 1955 book, A Day in the Bleachers, is an eyewitness account, told in minute descriptive detail, of Game 1 of the ’54 series between the Indians and Giants at the Polo Grounds.  You know, that one with the miraculous catch by a Giants’ center fielder?  It’s a reporting work of art that […]

Ken Burns: Same As He Never Was

September 30, 2010 by · 12 Comments 

Life can throw you a big fat knuckle ball. Thirty-three years ago, while writing a feature article for an alternative weekly paper, I spent a fall afternoon with a small documentary film company in western Massachusetts called Florentine. The three Hampshire College graduates based in the nearby village of Florence—Buddy Squires, Roger Sherman and Ken […]

Black Ball, Both Real and Imaginary

August 30, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

I’ve never been a huge fan of baseball fiction. The game’s natural mythology and unforgettable luminaries since the turn of last century is so rich and entertaining by itself that I never felt a need to delve into stories and characters separate from the real ones. I did make an exception for W. P. Kinsella’s […]

Camden Yards: Minor League Heaven

June 26, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

BALTIMORE—The girl in the Orioles cape, beads and Mardi Gras mask painted black and orange was waiting six innings to dance her way onto the centerfield scoreboard cam, and here was her chance. The funny thing is that she wasn’t alone. Visiting Camden Yards again for the first time since its inaugural 1992 season—when I […]

Growing Up Is About Letting Go

April 18, 2010 by · 5 Comments 

It happened earlier than it usually does. Being a fanatical Red Sox fan, there’s usually five to seven times each season when I will just throw up my hands (after throwing up) and boycott all broadcasts of my team for the indefinite future. They tend to come in June when the pennant races normally heat […]

Happy Halladays

December 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

It being the season of giving and receiving and all that, I felt it would be a good time to ask Santa Closer (the holiday specialist) for a baseball fantasy wish list for 2010. We’re talking serious fairy dust here, so I’ll be happy if even one of these comes true.

Mr. Owen? Mr. Branca? Mr. Niedenfuer? Meet Mr. Broxton

October 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I have a friend named Jay who not only bleeds Dodger blue, but drinks a tall glass of it for every meal. He still hates the Braves because Atlanta was the chief Dodger rival during the 80s, and he can still argue for hours that Steve Garvey should be in the Hall of Fame.

The War Between the Stats

September 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Four score or around thirty years ago, I was editing an alternative weekly newspaper in Burlington, Vermont. I had a good friend who owned a thriving local bookstore (what a concept!) who was more of a seamhead than I was. One day he told me about this obscure Midwestern baseball writer “with two first names” […]

Poor World Series Ratings? Look No Further

August 24, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

So it’s a sultry Saturday night in Los Angeles, and I’m flipping my remote back and forth between two scintillating wild card matchups. The Rays are hosting the Rangers and Marlon Byrd just tied the game 4-4 with a two out homer in the 9th, while out at Coors Field, the Rockies are in the […]

The Red-Headed Treasure

July 12, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sad already…

How To Fix the All-Star Game and Interleague Play In One Easy Lesson

June 16, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Forty years ago, baseball’s all-star game used to mean something.  I mean:  really mean something.

Baseball’s Best Kept Secret and Other Crank Notes

May 31, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

I have the DirecTV Baseball Package, which is both a blessing and a curse (Blessing: ten games on at the same time; Curse: you can’t watch ten games at the same time), and one of its best features is the ability to tune into MLB venues you normally don’t and hear some of the best […]

Baseball’s Biggest Menace

May 23, 2009 by · 16 Comments 

There is an unspeakable horror at large in today’s baseball world, threatening to capsize everything we hold dear about the game. I’m not talking about steroids, though, or labor agreements, or player contracts larger than some countries’ entire economies. I’m talking about the beast that lurks inside the fabric of every major league contest.