Day 30: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: Let’s keep this thing going


The book: “Parables From The Diamond: Meditations for Men on Baseball & Life”

The authors: Phil Christopher and Glenn Dromgoole

How to find it: Bright Day Press, 108 pages, $9.95.

Where we’d go looking for it: Amazon has it (linked here).

The scoop: A search of book titles will turn up some that offer “Parables From” pop culture, nature, the “back side” … even the fishin’ hole series is pretty popular.

“Parables From The Diamond” is something you could read in one 20-minute sitting. But don’t. You won’t get the most out of it that way.

There are 50 short essays about something that happens in baseball, and how it parallels something in life. Maybe it’s best just to read one each day, think about it, learn from it, and move on to the next.

Some of these things may seem obvious, but they’re nothing you’ve really contemplated past a few minutes of pondering. Others are obvious, and they’ve never really occured to you.

The combination of Dromgoole (a journalist for more than 30 years) and Christopher (a Baptist minister and paster), both in Abilene, Texas, give each passage some great brevity and soul that get to the heart of the message quickly and effectively.

If there’s one book to end this series on — knowing that it will, in fact, stretch the series over another month — we pick this one.

One quick passage: From “A Broken Bat Still Has Value”

Kids today play with aluminum bats, but when we were kids the bats we used were wooden. Invariably, if used long enough, bats would break.

Instead of throwing them away, however, we would put them back together, glue the pieces back, maybe drive a nail to hold the pieces together, wrap them with duct tape and go on using the bat.

The bat may not have been as good as new, but it still had value to us. It could be used. It still had a purpose.

Sometimes, in fact, we pick up a broken bat someone else had discarded and took it home and carefully put the pieces back in place and were proud to have it as our own.

At times, our lives may feel like a broken bat. A marriage has spintered. The death of a spouse or a child or a parent has split our hearts in two. The loss of a job has made us feel worthless. A dream has been shattered.

Yet, like the bat, our lives can be put back together a piece at a time. We may be a bit fragile at first, but we still have value, we still have a purpose and a future. There is a lot of life left in us. We’re not ready for the trash heap.

Do you have a broken bat that still has some life left in it? How can you help someone else pick up the pieces and start again?

How it goes down in the scorebook: A keeper.

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Our Daily Dread: A subtle, but effective, Cinco de Mayo baseball promotion … if you con-scent

The Lake Elsinore Storm already offers a “Fat Tuesday” promotion each week — a $13 ticket allows the holder to “enjoy the All-U-Can Eat Belly Buster food specials.” Think Dodgers’ right-field pavilion, but much cheaper.

The trick is, of course, how much can the holder hold it in?


Considering the upcoming Tuesday falls on Cinco de Mayo, the Padres’ Single-A affiliate has what you may consider to be an added bonus — The first 250 fans also receive free the Subtle Butt flatulence patch.

It is what you think it is.

“Made of activated carbon fabric, each disposable 3.25″ square shield is held onto the inside of underwear with two self-adhesive strips,” according to the information provided on the Storm’s website blog (linked here). “Subtle Butt effectively filters flatulence, absorbing and neutralizing its odor.”

“I am confident that this will help fans get through the Seventh-Inning Stench,” says Kim Leone Olenicoff, President of Irvine-based The Pond Inc., maker of Subtle Butt. “And I’m not only the President, but a satisfied customer.”


Adds Storm assistant GM Allan Benavides: “This will really help people out. I know personally when I eat all that I can, I have problems with gas emissions.”

In all fairness, Subtle Butt is offered each Tuesday free to the first 250 who stream through the entrance gates. Otherwise, they run $9.95 for a package of five (find ’em here)

So, by all means, gas up a Storm after a big Mexican lunch, if you need to. Oh, and you will need to.

This Tuesday’s opponent: Your Lancaster JetHawks. Need any more incentive to make the drive South to this Mistake by the Lake?

The Storm, by the way, is a team that once had a Scientologist Night a few years ago and gave away Tom Cruise bobble-chairs — yes, the Cruiser jumping off the sofa on the “Oprah” show:

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‘Hawks win, ‘Hawks win … KaBOOM … and a home run call to do


The JetHawks’ 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth this afternoon, securing two of the three games in the series against the talent-filled San Jose Giants (story linked here), sent the kids home much happier than they had been hours earlier when some, in line to use the restroom, had to listen to my play-by-play call in the third inning.

You get what you pay for in Single-A baseball. Sometimes, it’s Rookie League talent.

A quick review: The inning went somewhat quickly, but both teams scored in their half of the frame — the Giants, on a home run, so when the audio comes through (for those who missed it) they’ll get to hear what I believe is the most unique home run call ever made in the history of baseball broadcasting.

Not to brag or anything….

Unique. Not best. And not to give it all away, but it’s punctuated by the most trite phrase in all of sportscasting: “HOW DOOO YOU DO!”

Stay tuned. The experience will be documented — with audio clips and photos — in Friday’s editions.

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Day 29: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: We’re already in the bottom of the ninth … egads

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The book: “Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball from Itself”

The author: Michael Shapiro

How to find it: Henry Holt/Times Books, 320 pages, $25

Where we’d go looking for it: It’s on Amazon (linked here) and Barnes and Noble (linked here).

The scoop: We were intrigued by the content by a review of the book we saw from Allen Barra in the Daily News back in late March.

Barra wrote: “(The book) is based on a somewhat dubious premise, namely that half a century ago, major league baseball was on the verge of a crisis and that somehow this was exemplified by the almost yearly success of the New York Yankees.” Barra points out that the Yankees won only two World Series between 1954 and 1960, but were dominant to that point.

“Fortunately one doesn’t have to accept this theme to enjoy the book,” Barra adds.

Unfortunately, we waited this long, but still haven’t had the opportunty to read it. It’s not due in book stores until May and we have waited all month for a review copy, but none has arrived …

Shapiro, who did “The Last Good Season” about the Brooklyn Dodgers, goes into the life and times of Rickey, the Dodgers’ co-owner and general manager who was trying to start a third major league, the Continental League.

How it goes down in the scorebook: Incomplete. On our end. We apologize. But that happens in baseball. You don’t get a hit everytime up.

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More self promotion


The JetHawks have issued a press release for those who need more info about my appearance as a play-by-play man on today’s broadcast (linked here).

The plan is to do color analysis on the second inning and then jump into play-by-play for the third, all thanks to the cooperation of Jeff Lasky, the true voice of the JetHawks, who gets paid the same whether I’m taking his calls away or not.

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