Tag Archive | "Book Review"

Book Review: Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood by Kevin Kaduk


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com:

Wrigleyville is the well known area surrounding the ever popular summer spot of Wrigley Field. There are restaurants and bars and plenty of baseball fans to be found on a summer afternoon. Many baseball fans have wondered what it would be like living in the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field for a summer of baseball and fun. One such fan did so. And he wrote a book about it.

Kevin Kaduk’s Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood is the story of Kevin’s summer in Chicago. The former Kansas City Star sportswriter, and current editor of Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog, gives us a peak into life in Wrigleyville.

I admit I was quite excited when I first saw the book for sale. Although it came out in 2006, I did not find it until about a year ago. Recently I finally got the chance to pick it up from a used book store and give it a read. Sadly, I have to admit it was a letdown.

Kevin starts off telling us about how the idea came about. He was off writing about  high school sports in Kansas City, which he freely admits not likely very much although he liked who he worked with and for. I found it a bit annoying to listen to his complaining of a good job in a good city. I can fully understand the longing to be somewhere else though. He decided to take action.

Leaving Kansas City he took up residence a few blocks from Wrigley Field and set about writing about his encounters.

Some of the things I enjoyed reading about. Getting a glimpse about what it was like to deal with scalpers day in and day out was interesting. I’ve always found scalpers to be interesting people.

He also had run ins with the ballhawks out on Wavelyn and Sheffield. The ballhawks are the guys who wait for homeruns to leave Wrigley Field in order to collect a souvenir. I always thought it would be interesting to take in a game with the ballhawks. He was there the same season when there was a movie being made about them as well, Ballhawks.

However, what stood out to me the most about the book was it was more of a barhopping, girl chasing, conquest seeking journal. I was interested in learning about the establishments that surround Wrigley, and Kevin does a good job providing information on them, including some interesting backgrounds. That aside, there was a bit too much about drinking and chasing women.

If he was going to talk about the drinking, I would have rather heard some interesting stories from the bleachers. He includes a little of this, but not enough for my liking to be honest.

One thing I felt that was lacking, but I understand why, was the lack of information and stories about the rooftops overlooking Wrigley Field. He does try a few times to get onto the roofs, but in the end there is little information other than how hard or expensive it can be.

Overall it is a decent book. If you are a diehard Cubs fan, I would say go get it and give it a quick read. It isn’t that long and it’s an easy read. However, do not think that this is the book to read to gain valuable insights and secrets into the fabled Wrigleyville.

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Book Review: Slouching Toward Fargo


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

On the cover it claims it is “A Two-Year Saga of Sinners and St. Paul Saints at the Bottom of the Bush Leagues with Bill Murray, Darryl Strawberry, Dakota Sadie and Me”. The book is Slouching Toward Fargo by Neal Karlen, and I enjoyed every bit of the book except the “Me” part.

The book is about the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League mostly during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The team, and league, were still in its infancy and full of interesting people on and off the field.

How the book started it seems was that writer Neal Karlen was sent by Rolling Stone to do a piece on Bill Murray who was part owner in the club. He was there to do a hatchet job on Murray and as fate would have it on Darryl Strawberry as well.

Over the course of the first year Karlen has some interesting run ins with Murray, Strawberry, as well as others. These stories are entertaining, but I got a little tired of hearing how Karlen was there to do the hatchet job.

The characters of St. Paul were amazing. You have the great Bill Murray who in my book is one of the funniest men of all time. You have Darryl Strawberry who is there trying to make his way back to the Major Leagues by showing that he is now a good guy. Then you have Mike Veeck the president and co-owner of the Saints who had been blackballed from Major League Baseball for things that happened years ago. Not to mention there is an outfielder with no legs, a pig that delivered baseballs, a blind announcer, the first woman player and a nun who gives massages at games.

It’s a cast of characters that would make any story interesting, and Karlen does a good job of writing about this. But what I didn’t like is how Karlen kept inserting himself in the story. As a reader I want to read about the Saints, not how the writer was burned out and didn’t love baseball anymore.

With that being said, the book is still very good. The people of this town and team make this book. Everywhere you turn there seems to be someone just as interesting as the last. You get a taste of what life is like in the lowest of the low minor leagues where people are working and playing for the love of the game.

Mike Veeck’s “Fun is Good” motto really shows through in the writing and you can imagine the fun that people had at the games. And even though the book was written about a time that is now more than 15 years ago, it’s still a great read.

The ballplayers, former MLB guys and career minor leaguers alike, are interesting, funny, and you even finding yourself rooting for some of them even though all this happened nearly two decades ago. There are just a lot of likable people that you will be looking up on Google and Baseball Reference to see how they performed after the time of the book.

So get past the part of the writer inserting himself a little too much into the story, in my opinion, and give this a read because it’s definitely worth it. It’s been out for some time so you should be able to find a cheap used paperback copy somewhere.

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Australian Author Nicholas Henning Releases New Baseball Book


Author Nicholas Henning is back with his third baseball book titled Aussies in the Majors. This time Henning strays from his usual fiction and into a “true journey of discovery”.

Through the contacts he has made over the years with players, coaches, and others working in the world of baseball Henning looks to reveal what is it like traveling the back roads of the USA in search of the dream that so many young boys had growing up – making it to the Major Leagues.

The book description from Amazon.com:

In his latest book, Nicholas R.W. Henning moves from baseball fiction to a true journey of discovery. Through American contacts developed over the years, the author tracks down Australian players currently honing their talents and aiming for the Majors; he also meets a fascinating range of people connected with professional baseball: players, administrators, broadcasters and fans. Henning’s meetings with Australian players reveal how they adapt to living far from home and playing in the back-blocks of the country, always hoping that their big day will come. The author’s interviews provide insights into the motivations and backgrounds of these talented and determined young players. In the final section of the book, the author takes a critical yet affectionate look at Australian baseball today and how it might develop in the future. He acknowledges the largely unsung giants of the local game, including those pioneers who were the first to play professionally in the US. His analysis includes a number of practical suggestions for nurturing a game which has endured too many booms and busts in its long history in Australia. Through the accounts of his travels and his critical but constructive survey of the local game shines a constant theme: Henning’s deep love for the game and his remarkable knowledge of it.

I have been a fan of reading his previous baseball books, and I have already placed my order for a copy of the new one. Through his writing you can sense Henning’s love for the game, and I have really enjoyed the view of the game from someone who grew up in a country where baseball isn’t huge and still fell in love with the sport. I will be providing a review once I have finished the book.

His previous baseball works include:

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

and

Boomerang Baseball

You can find all of his books on Amazon.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Review: Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire


Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and “The Worst Baseball Team in History”-The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers is one of the best baseball books I have read in a long time. Former Rangers beat writer Mike Shropshire looks back on the trials and tribulations of what it was like covering the team during their early years in Arlington.

He covers the colorful owner who brought the Rangers to Texas, Bob Short, and the rise and fall of a Texas high school baseball legend in David Clyde. It’s a thrilling ride that will leave you laughing and wondering how some of the people in the story even survived their time with the Rangers.

Shropshire picks up coverage as the beat writer in 1973 after Ted Williams left as manager. The great Whitey Herzog took over for the 1973 season and looked to rebuild the team that had lost 100 games in ’72. Sadly, that wasn’t going to happen.

Instead the Rangers seem more like a traveling circus as times as David Clyde arrives. Herzog wouldn’t make it through the season as owner Bob Short looked to make a splash with a flashier manager simply because he was looking to sell the team. His goal in moving the team to Texas was to sell the team to make a profit, which he eventually wound up doing. In the meantime, he hired Billy Martin and things really got interesting.

Whitey Herzog summed up the team with a great quote. In a game against Baltimore, Jim Palmer was in the 8th inning against Texas with a perfect game going. After the game, Herzog was told by Shropshire that Ranger outfielder Rico Carty said he intentionally fouled off a pitch he thought was ball four because he didn’t want to see a perfect game spoiled by a base on balls. Whitey responded with, “Oh. What a bunch of crap. Besides. If anybody throws a perfect game against this lineup, they oughtta slap an asterisk on it.”

The 1974 season saw some drastic changes as the Rangers battled the Oakland A’s for the American League pennant. Billy Martin led the team to a strong finish behind eventual MVP Jeff Burroughs and AL ROY Mike Hargrove.

The Billy Martin tales are quite entertaining from the altercations to the drinking. I get the feeling that there could be another complete book on his time in Arlington.

In the beginning, the Rangers were a second class team and organization, at least that is how it seemed. They played in an old minor league stadium not really up to MLB standards even for the times. But perhaps the best part of where they played are the descriptions and stories of spring training from Pompano Beach, Florida.

Interestingly enough, the players weren’t the only colorful characters in the story. The writers have their fair share as well.

Overall, the story was a pleasure to read. It brought back a lot of old memories from players of the past as well as the stadium for me having grown up watching games there. This book is a must read for any baseball fan as Shropshire does a great job detailing life on the road as he covers the team. However, for those Rangers fans out there it’s a must own. This is one book I easily see myself picking up again in a year or two to hear the funny stories from the past once again.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Review: Deadball by David B. Stinson


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

Nostalgia is a part of baseball that stays with us as we get older. I can remember watching games as a kid at old Arlington Stadium that is now a parking lot. When I go back to Arlington and visit The Ballpark, I think back to when I was a kid watching games with my dad and brothers. But what if I could get back to Arlington Stadium just once more to sit in the bleachers like I did when I was a kid. This is the thought and feeling I got when reading David Stinson’s Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel.

In this novel, Stinson tells of a former minor leaguer, Byron “Bitty” Bennett, who’s love of the game extends past the history of his beloved Baltimore Orioles, but to the old parks that once served as the stage for some of the greatest players and teams to have ever played the game. However, his connection to the game is more than that of just a former player. It’s more spiritual than that.

Bennett does his best to study the history of the game in Baltimore, but he does more than just read. He uses his knowledge and old photos to try and visualize the places where the game he loves so much was once played. Visiting these ballparks he is introduced to and slowly incorporated into a society of believers that resembles something out of Field of Dreams.

As he ventures around to various old stadiums in Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, he slowly sees more and more of something he can’t quite explain. Slowly he sees more at each stop. He starts by having conversations with players that he thinks are either ghosts or someone playing a practical joke. He isn’t quite sure.

Slowly he sees more and more as he continues his journey. He begins to see the stadiums as they were during their hay day. But it is more than the stadium. He begins to see the ticket takers, fans, and vendors even conversing with a few over time. He struggles with what he sees and the conversations he begins to have with people. He isn’t quite sure if what he is seeing is real or just a dream.

The few people he tells of these visions don’t believe him only furthering his frustration and struggles with reality. However, Byron continues looking for answers from the present and the past.

This book did a great job weaving the present with the past. It’s entertaining, and keeps the reader guessing what will happen in the end. I was actually surprised in the end in a good way.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It has increased my interest in the parks that have long disappeared, and took me back to my childhood to the park where I grew up watching games that is long gone.  It’s a journey to the past that engages the reader opening your mind to possibilities that are often overlooked.

I would highly recommend this to anyone. Baseball fans will love the history that is incorporated into the story, but I think anyone would enjoy the book for the story of Byron and his struggles with reality. I can only hope Mr. Stinson decides to write another book.

In the Baseball Journeyman rating system, I give this book a full 5 gloves. Pick it up and I think you’ll find yourself rooting for Byron “Bitty” Bennett like I did.

 

*In full disclosure, I was given this book by the author to read, but all my opinions about the book are mine and mine alone. Any items given to me for review purposes are always fully disclosed, but in no way does that mean a positive review will be given. As well, my reviews contain affiliate links. If you click and then purchase an item I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your understanding.

 

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Book Review: Out of My League by Dirk Hayhurst


Former MLB pitcher Dirk Hayhurst made a splash in the book industry with his first best seller The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran which talked about life in the minor leagues. Now he is back with his second best seller, Out of My League.

Out of My League is about Dirk’s ascension to the big leagues. The book takes you through the twists, turns, and turmoil of a minor league pitcher trying to make his way into Major League Baseball.

Hayhurst may not be a future hall of famer, but he definitely delivers with this book. Dirk’s humor shows through right away from the first few pages where he had me laughing right away. He takes you through an off-season of a low-paid minor league pitcher who not only has to work out and stay sharp but also has to find an off-season job to keep himself afloat.

From the hi-jinx dealing with his grandmother, to finding a car that he can afford that will run long enough to get him back to baseball, to some spring training humor this is a great book.

However, this book is about more than just baseball. It’s one man’s journey on and off the field in the pursuit of his lifelong dream of pitching in the major leagues. During the time before making it to the big leagues, Dirk meets his wife. He tells of this courtship which adds to story as he is trying to keep the chase alive but at the same time making someone apart of his life.

Through his new wife and the struggles he has with making her apart of his life, we see another side of the game that is overlooked all too often. Dirk struggles with planning a wedding and trying to make the jump from AAA to the big leagues. It’s an interesting and emotional ride.

Dirk shows us a different side of the Major Leagues. It’s not an inside look at the underbelly of the league or an expose on the things that go on into the clubhouse, but a look at rookie struggles. We forget sometimes that there is a pecking order that needs to be followed in the game, and Dirk does a good job of showing us just how difficult falling in line can be.

Most people see making the big leagues as the ultimate prize with nothing but gold paved streets. Sure there are five star hotels, and Dirk gives us a brief look at that, but his journey is more than that. It’s more on the mental side of things for a struggling rookie just trying to stay afloat. Making the big leagues is one thing, but staying there is a completely different deal and this is what Dirk shows us.

He gives us an inside look at rookie hazing, relationships with managers and players for a rookie, but he delves deep into the self-doubt and paranoia a rookie can experience while at the same time realizing his dream. It’s a mental struggle that many can’t handle, and Hayhurst shows us why. He shows us the cold side of baseball where if you don’t produce they don’t have sympathy for you. We are shown how a few words from the right person can tear you apart mentally and put enough doubt in you that can be hard to overcome.

But as quick as you are torn down, someone can see something in you that picks you right back up. It’s a rough business and the ups and downs can be brutal on a person’s pysche.

Through it all you find yourself rooting for Dirk to do well, even if you know how things turned out. The self-doubt and loathing that he goes through puts a new spin on life in baseball and makes for an interesting read.

If you read The Bullpen Gospels, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. If you haven’t read The Bullpen Gospels, what are you waiting for. Go pick up both books. They are both great reads. Out of My League is a great insight to the struggles and mental side of the game that is rarely seen. Pick it up today.

Next I’ll be reviewing Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novelby David B. Stinson, so stay tuned for that in the coming days.

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Book Review: The American Dream by Nicholas H.W. Henning


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

Recently I read the story The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento about a young ballplayer named Damian from Australia who is signed and plays ball in the minor leagues in the US. I really enjoyed the book for several reasons.

The writer, Nicholas H.W. Henning, is Australian so the language used is different than what you would hear from an American writer. I found this interesting just for the simple fact of seeing how they would describe players and their abilities using different words. It made the book just a little more interesting in that respect for me. Then again I am fascinated with the game in other countries.

Speaking of which, you get a little insight into the game in Australia. The story takes place back in the early 1990’s before there was an Australian Baseball League so the set up of the game in the country was different then. It provides a little insight into the structure of the leagues and major tournaments that laid the groundwork for the 2nd coming of the ABL.

You also get an insight on what it’s like to be a player from another country coming over to America. You are right there along side Damian as he tries new things like Creole food, driving a stick shift, and even driving on the right side of the round. All things that one might take for granted if they are from the US in the first place.

There is humor in the book as well that is written quite well. The joke that the players play on one another during their medical check up in spring training is hilarious, and it’s easy to see players actually doing something like this as well.

There are just so many sides to the story that are interesting and that’s what kept me reading. Sure some of it is devoted to Damian’s love life which is interesting from the long distance stand point. But then you add in the groupies that are around the players and more hilarity ensues.

You are also given a glimpse inside the life of a player dealing with relationships, and relationships that may not last a long time. Players get traded, released, or injured and they aren’t around for anymore for a number of reasons. You see the difficult side of dealing with these relationships and how they can affect you in the short and long term.

I really enjoyed reading the book and think you would as well. It’s an easy read that keeps you entertained. I like the view point of the foreigner coming to America to play the game and the obstacles he goes through in order to chase his dream like thousands of others.

You can find all of Nicholas R.W. Henning’s book on Amazon and you can follow his blog at http://nicholasrwhenning.blogspot.com/I would highly recommend picking up one of his books as I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

 

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*In full disclosure, I was given this book by the author to read, but all my opinions about the book are mine and mine alone. Any items given to me for review purposes are always fully disclosed, but in no way does that mean a positive review will be given. As well, my reviews contain affiliate links. If you click and then purchase an item I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your understanding.

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Book Review: Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit


Originally posted on BaesballJourneyman.com

Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit, by Matt McCarthy, is a tale about a Yale graduate spending a year in the low minors.  It captures the essence of the game played out of the spotlight and headlines of the major leagues and gives an insight to the life of a minor leaguer.

McCarthy was a left-handed pitcher who played for some of the worst teams in Yale history. He starts briefly with his days in high school in Orlando. He talks about his days at Yale playing with his friend and future major leaguer Craig Breslow, and chronicles his year in rookie ball in Provo, Utah.

Playing in rookie ball is one thing.  Playing rookie ball in Provo, Utah is a whole other experience. With the strong Mormon presence, and the fact they play their home games at BYU, they are unable to do certain things like have home games on Sundays. It’s an interesting and entertaining look at the lives of minor league players.

From roommates to host families, Matt does a great job showing what the life of a struggling minor leaguer is like. The low pay, sometimes bad living conditions, trying to make it in a very competitive environment where your roommate might be fighting for the same job as you, to long bus rides to the middle of nowhere Canada, this book delivers. If you want an honest look at the life of a minor leaguer straight out of college learning the ropes of being a professional ball player, this is the book for you.

McCarthy does a great job throwing names you will recognize. He played with future major leaguers and even a future NFL wide receiver. The stories about the players and their sometimes crazy coach will keep you laughing. I couldn’t put the book down. Matt does a great job telling the story in an easy to read, understandable (after all he is now a Yale and Harvard Medical School graduate), and entertaining way. The stories and characters are memorable and likable at the same time.

The book was released several years after Matt’s year in the minors. There have been questions raised about the validity of some of the stories and/or quotes. I think when reading this type of book it is important to remember that some things might be embellished. Not everyone in the book is presented with a glowing seal of approval. There are talks of racist teammates, steroids, and a circus like atmosphere led by their coach. Do I believe everything in this book to be 100% true? No, but I don’t believe that in any book I read. Do I think everything I read could have happened? Yes, and I doubt that the stuff that was disputed might not have been far from the truth. Anytime someone is not painted in a pretty picture, they are going to fight it. All in all I think this book is a great read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a baseball fan. The stories are enlightening and funny, and I loved the inside look of the low minors where you can be unemployed as quick as the wind changes direction. So do yourself a favor and pick this book up. It’s been around awhile so it is affordable and a great easy read. You can pick it up at Amazon – Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit or anywhere where good books are sold.

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Book Review: Boomerang Baseball by Nicholas R.W. Henning


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

I am always looking for books on baseball to read, but rarely do I run across one that is fiction. That was the case when I came across Boomerang Baseball.

With the Australian Baseball League (ABL) restarting this year, I got hooked on trying to watch some of the games online. It has been a great way to get my baseball fix during the winter, and the ABL has been a lot of fun to follow.  While doing a little reporting on the ABL at Baseball de World I was able to meet, through his comments, Mr. Henning. This has been a blessing as it has not only introduced me to baseball fiction, but Mr. Henning has provided a lot of insight on the league.

When I found out Mr. Henning was an author, I was anxious to read one of his books. So I picked up a copy of Boomerang Baseball. I read about half of it on my trip to Charlotte late last year, then lost the book on the flight home, so I picked up another copy.

The book is about the early life of Trent McKnight. Told in an autobiographical style, it’s an interesting ride as Trent battles with his on-again, off-again relationship with baseball as well as the little problems that each of us go through during our formidable years.

I picked up this book mainly because it dealt with baseball, and I hoped to see some insight about a country, Australia, where baseball isn’t played as much as other sports. And I wasn’t let down. I really enjoyed reading about Trent taping baseball shows on TV and watching them over and over. This brought back a lot of memories of when I was young and staying up late, with the volume nearly all the way down as to not wake my parents, to watch baseball on ESPN. Or Trent finding somewhere to buy baseball cards or find equipment. I grew up in a small town and can remember the days when I got to go to a bigger city to a large sporting good store. Seeing all of that baseball equipment was like Christmas all over again.

But the book is more than baseball. Being a bit older now, I can look back on Trent’s struggles knowing I went through a lot of similar things. Ever since I can remember I wanted to play professional baseball and there comes a time when you find out that that dream just isn’t going to come true. That isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Trent goes through this same ordeal over the years as he struggles with finding out he isn’t the elite player required to continue on with a baseball career. But that’s not all he struggles with.

I think I can safely say we have all had issues with the opposite sex, and Trent is no exception. Seeing him go through different phases of becoming a man was really entertaining. He struggles with playing baseball with girls, and then later going through a lot of the normal growing pains of a teenager/young adult. There are a lot of other issues Trent runs into like overcoming self-doubt, a temper, bullying, and failure. These are things that everyone must deal with at one point, and Mr. Henning does a great job incorporating all of this with Trent’s baseball life.

I also learned a lot about Australian baseball. There are a handful of Aussies that have made the major leagues like Grant Balfour, Damian Moss, Peter Moylan, and David Nilsson. But did you know Graeme Lloyd was the first one to win a World Series title with the Yankees in 1996? I didn’t until I read the book.

The ending was perhaps the best part of the book. I don’t want to give it away, because I think you need to go out and read this book. It’s a feel good story of a kid who goes through his struggles and successes. But the book is more than just baseball, it deals with life too. I really enjoyed the book and think you will too. So go out and pick up a copy. I got mine off of Amazon.

Mr. Henning also has a 2nd book that deals with baseball. The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento is a story about an Australian ball player traveling to the US to pursue his baseball dreams as he plays in the minor leagues. After reading Boomerang Baseball, this has gone into my “must read” list.

You can find all of Nicholas R.W. Henning’s book on Amazon and you can follow his blog at http://nicholasrwhenning.blogspot.com/. I would highly recommend picking up one of his books as I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Nicholas R.W. Henning on baseball in Australia.

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Book Review – Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball


Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

After seeing Gar Ryness, aka the Batting Stance Guy, on MLB network prior to the start of the 2009 season, I was hooked.  Not only could him imitate the stars of today, but he could imitate the stars of the 70s and 80s that I grew up watching.  But one thing stands out more than any other.  The simple fact that he had down pat a batting stance of a little known catcher from the Houston Astros, Tony Eusebio.  When I saw that, I knew I was watching something special.

Earlier this year Gar came out with his book, Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball. I knew I had to pick up a copy and I was glad to find a bookstore in Seoul that could get me just that.   Gar is great on YouTube where he became a hit, but his writing style, along with friend Caleb Dewart, really struck me as unique, funny, and it brought back so many memories of my childhood.

The book takes you through the 50 best stances of all time where none other than Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis stands alone at the top.  The book is chalked full of names you will know and remember like Cal Ripken Jr., Rickey Henderson, Pete Rose, Albert Pujols, and Joe Morgan.  But the genius in this book doesn’t lie with the stars, it lies with all the others like Tony Eusebio, John Wokenfuss (the only player I was not familiar with), Phil Plantier, and Mickey Tettleton.

I was constantly reminded of being in my own backyard as a kid with my own wiffle ball bat.  I would go through lineup after lineup, but one thing remained the same.  Dale Murphy would always have the winning hit in my games.

This is a great book, and a must read for any baseball fan.  It reminds us again that baseball is a game and should be fun.  The stories he tells from childhood to young adulthood are quite humorous.  I mean how many people break into a minor league stadium to reenact the 1992 NLCS game 7 after a wedding rehearsal?

Do yourself a favor.  Pick up this book and take a relaxing stroll down memory lane.  You’ll laugh and remember what it is to be a kid again enjoying the great game.  Don’t forget to head over and check out the Batting Stance Guy’s website as well.  There are a lot of great videos to watch.  From the classic moments, to the best of lineups (an all-temper team anyone?), to past and present great stances, Gar Ryness will have you laughing and wanting to pick up your own wiffle ball bat to practice with.

You can pick up Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball anywhere books are sold.

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Polls

Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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