More on sports colliding with Arizona immigration law

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AP Photo/The Desert Sun/Wade Byars
A demonstrator who did not want to be identified wears a mask and holds a sign on a street corner in downtown Palm Springs on Thursday, protesting the new Arizona immigration enforcement law.

The Associated Press

Given a chance to take part in the 2011 All-Star game at Arizona, Ozzie Guillen insists he won’t go.

“I wouldn’t do it,” the Chicago White Sox manager said today. “As a Latin American, it’s natural that I have to support our own.”

Guillen joined a growing chorus of opposition to Arizona’s new law that empowers police to determine a person’s immigration status. The state is home to all four major team sports, hosts half the clubs in spring training and holds top events in NASCAR, golf and tennis.

The Major League Baseball players’ union issued a statement condemning the law. A congressman whose district includes Yankee Stadium wrote a letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig urging him to pull the All-Star game from Phoenix. The World Boxing Council took a step to limit fights in Arizona.

“It’s a bad thing,” said Baltimore shortstop Cesar Izturis, born in Venezuela. “Now they’re going to go after everybody, not just the people behind the wall. Now they’re going to come out on the street. What if you’re walking on the street with your family and kids? They’re going to go after you.”

With more than one-quarter of big leaguers on opening-day rosters were born outside the 50 states, most of them from Hispanic descent.

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The list again of 30 books in 30 days, 2010

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A quick reference to all 30(-plus) books covered in this year’s month-long book review, with how we’d rank them:

TOP SHELF:

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== “The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran,” by Dirk Hayhurst (linked here)

== “Six Decades of Baseball: A Personal Narrative, by Bill Lewers (linked here)

== “Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed,” by Frank Pastore (linked here)

== “The Politics of Baseball: Essays on the Pasttime and Power at Home and Abroad,” edited by Ron Briley and “The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad,” by Robert Elias (linked here)

== “A Game of Inches: The Story Behind the Innovations that Shaped Baseball,” by Peter Morris (linked here)

== “90% of the Game Is Half Mental: And Other Tales from the Edge of Baseball Fandom,” by Emma Span (linked here)

== “Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession,” by Dave Jamieson and “Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards,” by Josh Wilker (linked here)

GREAT EFFORT:

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== “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend,” by James S. Hirsch (linked here)

== “The Underground Baseball Encyclopedia: Baseball Stuff You Never Needed to Know and Can Certainly Life Without,” by Robert Schnakenberg (linked here)

== “Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time,” edited by Sean Manning, essays by Roger Kahn, Buzz Bissinger, Jonathan Eig, Pat Jordan, John Albert, King Kaufman, etc. (linked here)

== “The Baseball Fan’s Bucket List: 162 Things You Must See, Do, Get & Experience Before You Die,” by Robert Santelli and daughter Jenna Santelli (linked here)

== “The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris,” by Mark Kurlansky (linked here)

== “Fifth-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball & The Greatest Season A Pitcher Ever Had,” by Edward Achorn (linked here)

== “Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero” by Tom Clavin and Danny Peary (linked here)

== “Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson,” by Timothy M. Gay (linked here)

== “It’s What’s Inside the Lines that Counts: Baseball Stars of the 1970s and 1980s Talk About the Game They Loved, Vol. 3,” by Fay Vincent, with Juan Marichal, Cal Ripken Jr., Willie McCovey, Dick Williams, Earl Weaver, Tom Seaver, Don Baylor, Ozzie Smith, umpire Bruce Froemming and former players association chief Marvin Miller (linked here).

THANKS FOR SHOWING UP:

== “Scooter: The Biography of Phil Rizzuto,” by Carl DeVito; “Stan The Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial,” by Wayne Stewart; “Al Kaline: The Biography of a Tigers Icon,” by Jim Hawkins, and “Mike Schmidt: The Phillies’ Legendary Slugger,” by Rob Maaddi (linked here)

== “The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010: Timeless Commentary, Innovative Stats, Great Baseball Writing,” by the staff of HardballTimes.com; produced by Dave Studenmund (linked here)

== “Straight Talk from the Wild Thing,” by Mitch Williams (linked here)

== “”Harry The K: The Remarkable Life of Harry Kalas,” by Randy Miller (linked here)

== “1921: The Yankees, The Giants & The Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York,’ by Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg (linked here)

== “The Seventh Inning Stretch: Baseball’s Most Essential and Inane Debates,” by Josh Pahigian (linked here)

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== “The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing & Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pasttime,” by Jason Turbow with Michael Duca (linked here)

== “Kiss It Good-bye: The Mystery, the Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates,” by John Moody (linked here)

== “Baseball Prospectus 2010,” edited by Steve Goldman and Christina Kahrl (linked here)

== “High Heat: The Secret History of The Fastball And The Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time,” by Tim Wendel (linked here)

== “Always an Angel: Playing the Game with Fire and Faith,” by Tim Salmon, with Rob Goldman (linked here)

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THE MENDOZA LINE …

== “Home, Away,” a novel by Jeff Gillenkirk (linked here)

== “Wrigley Field: A Ballpark Pop-Up Book” and “Fenway Park: A Ballpark Pop-Up Book,” by David Hawcock, paper engineer (linked here)

== “Baseball for the Utterly Confused,” by Ed Randall (linked here)

*************

And our list of others that didn’t make, could have made it, and would have made it if they were published earlier (linked here)

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If April had about 30 more days … we have at least 30 more books

Those who tried but didn’t quite squeeze themselves into the 30 baseball books in 30 days of April list:

A couple of reprints that are worth locating:

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== “Carew,” by Rod Carew with Ira Berkow, originally published in 1979 when he was with the Minnesota Twins, reissued by the University of Minnesota Press, with a new forward by the Angels’ Torii Hunter and a new afterword by Carew that covers his retirement from the Angels, induction into the Hall of Fame, his years as the Angels’ hitting instructor, and the tragic loss of his daughter Michelle to leukemia (linked here):

Consider the first couple of sentences:

“At about 7 o’clock in the evening on October 1, 1945, my parents, Olga and Eric Carw, boarded a Panama Railroad train and found seats in the car marked COLORED … They were traveling from their home in Gatun, the Canal Zone, to Gorgas Hospital about 40 miles away … My mother was expecting.”

Playing off that theme of going back to the “good old days” of baseball, this is an other prime example of what publishers think those who still read books will want in their hands …

As well as:

== “Out Of My League: The Classic Hilarious Account of an Amateur’s Ordeal in Professional Baseball” by George Plimpton, another reprint from the 1961 classic that Plimpton says was his first participatory sports book, prior to “Paper Lion.” Lyons Press has this reissue (linked here).

== “Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball” by George F. Will (linked here), originally published in 1990, now with a new paperback version with a new introduction.

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== “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams,” by by John Updike (linked here), just 64 pages, prepared by Updike as a 50-year commemorative edition only a few months before his recent death. From 1960, as it first appeared in New Yorker magazine (and here’s the text, at this link)

== “Great Baseball Feats, Facts & Firsts (2010 Edition),” by David Nemec and Scott Flatow

== “On a Clear Day They Could See Seventh Place: Baseball’s Worst Teams,” by George Robinson and Charles Salzberg

== “Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame,” by Zev Chafets and Allen Barra (from hardback in June, 2009)

== “The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball and the Art of Pitching” by Ron Darling, which came out last fall (linked here).

== “The Road to Omaha: Hits, Hopes, and History at the College World Series,” by Ryan McGee.

== “The End of Baseball: A Novel,” by Peter Schilling (originally published in 2008)

Some that we ended up passing on for one reason (time, couldn’t find it, too lame) or another:

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== “365 Oddball Days in Dodgers History” by John Snyder (linked here) is a spinoff from our review of the “Dodger Journal” a year ago (linked here), except this is far more confusing. In the intro, it makes note of one of the craziest events in Dodgers history: July 4, 1934, when Casey Stengel came out to the mound to take Walter Beck out of the game. The Brooklyn pitcher, who only faced eight batters … well, we won’t give away the punch line as to how he got his nickname, “Boom Boom.” So now we’re interested, and we go to the July 4 entry.
Which tells us instead of the day that the Dodgers traded Paul Konerko for relief pitcher Jeff Shaw in the middle of a game in 1998 (we remember that one — very odd — a move by then-GM Tommy Lasorda that would blow up in his face in later years). More bizarre was how Shaw made his debut in a Dodger uniform at the All Star Game three days later, on July 7.
So why couldn’t that item be moved to July 7? Because on that day, Snyder decided to detail some absurd story about how the Dodgers and Cleveland Indians were picked by MLB in 1952 to help end communism (again, we won’t spoil it be detailing it).
For those with ADD, this may make more sense.
By the way, Snyder also has a new 448-page book called “Angels Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Los Angeles Angels Since 1961″ (linked here) — much like the prior reference to “Dodger Journal,” and he’s also done one for the Red Sox, Indians, Cubs, White Sox and Cardinals.

== “Sixty Feet, Six Inches” by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, issued last fall. Listening to Reggie talk about himself … just can’t stomach that. Sorry Bob.There may be some value here to this — again, two non-steroid guys talking about the game they played, kind of the anti-Bonds and anti-Clemens of their day.

== “30 Life Lessons My Boys Learned from Baseball,” by Andy Norwood (linked here). Only 30?

== “Lady in the Locker Room: Madcap Memoirs of the Early L.A. Dodgers,” by Flo Thomasian Snyder (linked here)

== “Kiss ‘Em Goodbye: An ESPN Treasury of Failed, Forgotten and Departed Teams,” by Dennis Purdy (linked here). Of the 86 teams he brings back to life in this verison of “CSI: Sports,” 47 are baseball franchises. Fom a Southern California perspective, we appreciate the mentions of the Vernon Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels (of the PCL, back at Wrigley Field, before the big league’s L.A. Angels) and the Hollywood Stars. Purdy, by the way, also did the 2006 “Team-By-Team Encycolpedia of Major League Baseball” (linked here)

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== “You’re the Umpire: 139 Scenarios to Test Your Baseball Knowledge,” by Wayne Stewart (linked here)

== “A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and the Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve,” by Douglas Gladstone (linked here): Gladstone examines the plight of 874 MLB players who very briefly played between 1947 and 1979. Since 1980, players have needed one day of service credit for health benefits and 43 days of service credit to be eligible for a retirement allowance, but those former ballplayers were not included retroactively and therefore receive no pensions.

== “Joe Cronin: A Life in Baseball,” by Mark Armour (a review on Seamheads.com)

== “Baseball’s Longest Games: A Comprehensive Worldwide Record Book,” by Philip J. Lowry (linked here)

== “Silver Seasons and a New Frontier: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings,” by Jim Mandelaro and Scott Pitoniak (linked here)

== “Wilber ‘Bullet’ Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs,” by Phil S. Dixon (linked here)

== “Pie Traynor: A Baseball Biography,” by James Forr and David Proctor (linked here)

== “Traded: Inside the Most Lopsided Trades in Baseball History,” by Doug Decatur (linked here)

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== “The 300 Club: Have We Seen the Last of Baseball’s 300-Game Winners?” by Dan Schlossberg and Wayne Hagin (linked here)

== “Baseball’s Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History,” by Chris Donnelly

== “The Funniest Baseball Book Ever: The National Pastime’s Greatest Quips, Quotations, Characters, Nicknames, and Pranks,” by Peter Handrinos

== “Abner Doubleday: A Civil War Biography,” by Thomas Barthel

== “The Imperfect Diamond: A History of Baseball’s Labor Wars,” by Lee Lowenfish and Robert W. Creamer

== “The Steve Dahl Scrapbook,” by Steve Dahl

== “The Whistling Irishman: Danny Murtaugh Remembered,” by Colleen Hroncich (linked here)

== “1972 Detroit Tigers: Billy Martin and the Half-Game Champs,” by Todd Masters

== “Edd Roush: A Biography of the Cincinnati Reds Star,” by Mitchell Conrad Stinson

== “Rick Ferrell, Knuckleball Catcher: A Hall of Famer’s Life Behind the Plate and in the Front Office,” by Kerrie Ferrell

== “Baseball’s Top 100: The Game’s Greatest Records,” by Kerry Banks

== “The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer’s Inside View,” by Doug Glanville (linked here)

And those we can’t wait to pick up once they’re released in the coming days, weeks and months:

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== “The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron,” by Howard Bryant (linked here)

== “Blockade Billy,” a novel by Stephen King (linked here). The synopsis: “Even the most die-hard baseball fans don’t know the true story of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely. He may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first–and only–player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history.”

== “Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball,” by Will Leitch (linked here)

== “Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball,” by Gar Ryness and Caleb Dewart (linked here)

== “She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story,” by Audrey Vernick and Don Tate

== “Nailed: The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra,” by Chris Frankie

== “Rickwood Field: A Century in America’s Oldest Ballpark,” by Allen Barra

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== “Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League,” by Martha Ackmann

== “Final Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1972-2008,” by Dean A. Sullivan

== “Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball,” by Bill Madden (linked here)

== “The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven: How a Ragtag Group of Fans Took the Fall for Major League Baseball,” by Aaron Skirboll (linked here)

== “The Great Match and Our Base Ball Club: Two Novels from the Early Days of Baseball (McFarland Historical Baseball Library),” by John Trowbridge, Noah Brooks, Trey Strecker, and Geri Strecker

== “I Will Never Forget: Interviews With 39 Former Negro League Players,” by Brent P. Kelley (originally in hardback in 2003), and “The Negro Leagues Revisited: Conversations With 66 More Baseball Heroes,” by Kelly

== “Frontiers in Major League Baseball: Nonparametric Analysis of Performance Using Data Envelopment Analysis (Sports Economics, Management and Policy),” by John Ruggiero

== “Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman,” by G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius

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== “Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ’70s,” by Dan Epstein

== “The Baseball Maniac’s Almanac: The Absolutely, Positively, and Without Question Greatest Book of Facts, Figures, and Astonishing Lists Ever Compiled!” by Bert Randolph Sugar

== “Carl Hubbell: A Biography of the Screwball King,” by Lowell L. Blaisdell

== “Dixie Walker of the Dodgers: Alabama Fire Ant,” by Maury Allen and Susan Walker

== “Field of Screams: Creepy Tales from the Baseball Diamond, the Locker Room, and Beyond,” by Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 30 — A dad’s gift to his sons, and the rest of us, if we’re paying attention

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The book: “Six Decades of Baseball: A Personal Narrative”

The author: Bill Lewers

The vital stats: Self published by Xlibris, 395 pages, $19.99

Find it: At its own website (linked here), also on Amazon.com (linked here)

The pitch: It started, organically enough, with an email:

“Please allow me to introduce myself – my name is Bill Lewers and I recently published a book …

Bill is a Red Sox fan, who never lived in Boston, mostly in New York, now lives in the D.C. area and goes to a lot of Orioles games …

“My motivation for writing the book … was personal satisfaction as well as to provide a legacy for my two sons. It was not written to be a commercial venture. … (but) there did not seem to be many books out there written by ‘ordinary fans’. … So far most of my feedback has come from family and friends which while generally positive, is hardly impartial.”

He wanted a fresh set of eyes on his book. I had the time and the desire … and this book review thing going on …

So, let me tell you now about my new best friend, Bill Lewers, who I feel I know quite intimately — based on baseball.

Without giving up too much of his story, he’s got a lucky wife, and two pretty neat kids.

He saw Satchel Paige pitch for the St. Louis Browns against the New York Yankees in the first time he set foot in Yankee Stadium. He saw Carl Erskine throw a no-hitter at Ebbets Field in 1956, and kept score on a 15-cent scorecard — which he still has.

He was at a game in Camden Yards in 1994 where the Orioles and Angels hit 11 home runs — a nine-inning record. Two years earlier — same place — he saw the Orioles turn a triple play agains the Angels (it was hit by Gary Gaetti). Nine years after that, he saw another triple play — at his son’s game, which started with him catching a batted ball for the first time in a Little League game.

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There are a couple of pictures he took as a kid when he was at Yankee Stadium, photos "obviously flawed. There are spots and blotches. The upper left corner is overexposed. It has apparently come in contact with some dirt. For the past fifth years, it has been moved from drawer to drawer and has suffered in the process. Yet in spite of all this, the excitement of the moment still manages to come through. .. It is a little bit like my memory -- flawed, based on images that were imperfect at the time, and weathered with age, but somehow accurate in the essentials."

He has a great story about going to a Dodgers' game in 1954 with his fifth-grade class. Mr. Phelan told each of the students to write a letter to a Brooklyn Dodger. He had only one restriction -- no one could write to Walter Alston, the team's first-year manager, who replaced the colorful, popular Chuck Dressen. Alston only got the job because Dressen demanded a multi-year contract, and the team declined, deciding to promote Alston from their farm system.

“Alston was rather colorless, and the Dodgers were off to a somewhat slow start, caolumnists and fans alike were after his scalp. Hence Mr. Phelan’s instruction — do not write to Walter Alston because he may not be managing the Dodgers by the time (the field trip took place at the game).” And 22 years later, he was still with the team.

For $6.30, he got a ticket to the 1960 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium — a reserved seat behind home plate. When he graduated from high school in June, 1961 — the month I was born, by the way — he celebrated by taking in a weekend series between the Red Sox and Yankees, capped by a Sunday doubleheader and highlighted by Carl Yastrzemski scoring from second base on a sacrifice fly that left-fielder Yogi Berra tracked down near the 457-foot sign in deep left-center field.

And about his sons, Mark and John — the two on the book cover, goofing around new The Green Monster at Fenway Park during a family trip in 2003. He explains in a chapter about them on page 310:

“Mark and John are two very different persons when it comes to baseball. ….

“A typical Mark question might be ‘What kind of a player was Phil Rizzuto?’ A typical John question would be, ‘If I threw a Frisbee from here, would it reach the field?’ At the time we were in the last row of the upper deck at RFK Stadium watching the Nationals play. I assured him that the Frisbee would not reach the field. John thought about this for an inning or two. Then, ‘Suppose our seats were five rows closer, then would the Frisbee reach the field?’”

My kids are the same — both enjoy baseball for different reasons. That’s the beauty of kids.

And with all that, maybe the reason we’ve really come around to embrace this book is from what Bill writes on page 14:

“(This) might encourage other baseball fans to put to paper their own experiences, observations and opinions. There is no shortage of baseball books written by insiders — players, managers, professional sports journalists. There are also plenty of books by ‘celebrity fans’ like George Will, Stephen King and Doris Kearns Goodwin. There does not, however, seem to be a great number of books written by ordinary baseball fans, fans who more often than not watch the game from the nosebleed section of the upper deck. Hopefully, this book may contribute to filling that void.”

With today’s accessabily to self-publish through convenient websites, do trial runs on blogs and collect old boxscores from Retrosheet, it’s an idea that’s almost too easy for someone to have thought through before this.

Give Bill credit. He did it. And he pulled it off.

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About writing your own book: Lewers said he picked Xlibris over other self-publishers like authorhouse, iuniverse, booklocker or publish america because he knew it helped his aunt with a book a couple of years ago.

“On the whole I am satisfied with the job they did (although I was less than pleased with the way the interior photographs came out – this is one of the weaknesses of POD),” Levers said in an email.

You can get a book done for as inexpensive as $400, but he went with the $1,500 “premium package” that adds for copyediting, author’s alteration during the production process and an index. He did it all on a Microsoft Word document.

“POD is very controverial as you probably know and has many supporters who say it’s wonderful and many detractors who say otherwise. If I had been 20 years younger and interested in building a career in writing, then I would not have done POD, as POD has very little respect in the publishing world for a variety of reasons (some of them quite legitimate). But for someone like myself, writing the only book I’m ever going to write, it met my needs very well.”

How the book idea started:

“The project started when my wife Mary encouraged me to write down my baseball memories about 10 years ago which I did off and on for the next 7 or 8 years. Then around 2 years ago I started to take it seriously and over a period of about a year most of the essays were written. I’m retired so I would usually write for a couple of hours a day after my wife left for work and my sons for school. I only worked on the book on school days – otherwise my duties as a househusband took precedence.”

And how it ended:

“I found the whole experience to be very rewarding on a number of levels. One of the unexpected benefits was that as part of my pacage I received 50 postcards advertising the book. At first I didn’t think much of them but then I started looking up addresses of old friends on the internet and sent the postcards to them. As a result I have renewed contact with people I have not seen for 15, 20, in one case even 40 years. A real unexpected blessing.”

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How it goes down in the scorebook: Here’s the best way to end this book review series, with the last paragraph of Bill’s book about a recent trip to Camden Yards: “I look around and take it all in. I have been doing this sort of thing in one way or another for six decades, and it still seems fresh as it did on that first day at the Polo Grounds so many years ago. I’ll keep right on doing it as long as the good Lord gives me strength and my good wife gives me permission. If you’re ever at Camden Yards on a Sunday afternoon and want to experience life in the cheap seats, come on up and say, ‘Hi.’”

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The Media Learning Curve: More than you can handle

Since we find it beneficial for the Lakers’ success to see Kobe Bryant drive the lane, and we assume Bryant likes to watch the ladies who like to watch him drive the lane, there seems to be no logic why this commerical was banned:

By the way, my name is Dan, and I have to go have lunch now. So spreading it out beyond today’s media column (linked here):

More to note:

== Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, with reporter Doris Burke, do the Lakers’ Game 6 tonight at Oklahoma City, shown head-to-head against the KCAL-Channel 9 coverage.

== ESPN2 has Oregon’s annual spring football game (Saturday, 2 p.m.) with Chris Fowler, Craig James, Ed Cunningham and Wendi Nix. Are we missing something? There’s news here? Cunningham will actually work as a booth analyst in the first quarter, a sideline judge in the second quarter and a replay official in the third quarter.

== At last Monday’s Sports Emmy Awards ceremony in New York, NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol took the opportunity to slam ESPN for the way it handled coverage of a cell-phone video taken of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones making disparaging remarks in a bar about Tim Tebow and his former coach Bill Parcells. Ebersol and Jones were on stage to give John Madden a lifetime achievement award when Ebersol took out a cell phone and pretended to record Jones. “I just wanted a call out to my friends at ESPN-TMZ,” Jones said. The Sports Business Daily reported that at a party after the event, “many ESPN execs were fuming at the remark.”

== NBC Sports Digital and the Daily Racing Form worked out a deal to co-brand online material, with The Daily Racing Form hosting a customized horse racing section of NBCSports.com (linked here).

== Golf Channel has added Terry Gannon for live play-by-play on PGA and LPGA events throgh 2013. His first assignment is the LPGA Championship starting June 24, paired with Judy Rankin. He’ll also do the PGA’s AT&T National with Nick Faldo over July 4 weekend. Gannon, who lives in L.A., is known lately for college football and basketball on ESPN, as well as figure skating, the Tour de France, World Cup soccer and the recent Winter Olympics for Universal Sports.

== Prior to CBS’ coverage of the Quail Hollow Championship this weekend, something called the Mojo 6 (www.themojo6.com) will air. It’s being pimped as taking “the world’s best athletes through a faster, shorter, more cutthroat type of competition called Raceway Golf.” An LPGA-sanctioned event, 16 players compete in six-hole matches against each other at courses in Jamaica.

== ESPN2, with Chris McGee and Dain Blanton, have the AVP’s men’s event from Santa Barbara (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.). KTLA-Channel 5 will then carry the women’s final live at 4:30 p.m. Universal Sports has the women’s final on delay at 7 p.m. as well.

== If you missed Jon Gruden’s appearance on Letterman earlier this week, the ESPN “Monday Night” analyst who’s been blowing up on making himself a new media darling with his NFL draft prep shows:

One line from Gruden: “If there’s any place we can go … we oughta talk to you about bringing football back to Los Angeles. You could own the team in L.A. and I’d go coach it.”

And Letterman’s plan would be avoid an expansion franchise, but to “uproot and kill a bunch of fans in some community, ruin the city and move a team to L.A.”

Fistbumps all around.

== NBC takes Philadelphia at Boston Game 1 of their NHL second-round series on Saturday (9:30 a.m., Channel 4, leading into the Kentucky Derby pre-race show), and then has Montreal at Pittsburgh Game 2 on Sunday (11 a.m., Channel 4). NBC won’t have any playoff games next weekend — it’s locked into The Players Championship PGA event.

Meanwhile, Versus’ schedule of NHL playoff games coming up:

Tonight, 4 p.m.: Montreal at Pittsburgh, Game 1
Saturday, 5 p.m.: Vancouver at Chicago, Game 1
Sunday, 5 p.m.: Detroit at San Jose, Game 2
Monday, 4 p.m.: Philadelphia at Boston, Game 2
Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Vancouver at Chicago, Game 2 (joined in progress)
Tuesday, 4 p.m: Pittsburgh at Montreal, Game 3
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.: San Jose at Detroit, Game 3 (joined in progress)
Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Boston at Philadelphia, Game 3
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: Chicago at Vancouver, Game 3
Thursday, 4 p.m.: Pittsburgh at Montreal, Game 4
Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: San Jose at Detroit, Game 4 (joined in progress)
Friday, May 7, 4 p.m.: Boston at Philadelphia, Game 4
Friday, May 7: 6:30 p.m.: Chicago at Vancouver, Game 4

== AND FINALLY:

== Deadspin.com (linked here) has a piece about cartoonist Daryl Cagle having Tiger Woods-related drawings rejected from Apple for an iPhone app, citing inappropriate content for something “that amounts to a Leno monologue in pen and ink.”

If you go to Cagle’s blog (linked here) you can see the Tiger-related political cartoons that Apple finds rotten, including:

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And in case you’re wondering, the D’backs don’t visit Dodger Stadium until May 31

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AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Young-Sun Song of Chicago protests at Wrigley Field today before the Diamondbacks-Cubs game.

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Immigrant rights activists chanting “Boycott Arizona” and “Reform, Not Racism” demonstrated Thursday outside Chicago’s Wrigley Field as the Cubs opened a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Protesters are upset over Arizona’s new immigration law that makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and lets police question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Activists nationwide have called for a boycott of Arizona tourism and businesses, including its athletic teams.

“We are here today to send a clear message to the state of Arizona that we are going to boycott” until lawmakers repeal the immigration law and stop criminalizing immigrants, said Pastor Jose Landaverde of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Church in Chicago, who was among the more than three dozen protesters outside Wrigley Field.

A small plane carrying a banner criticizing the law also circled over Wrigley.

Protesters said they’ve faxed a letter to Cubs management asking that the team’s spring training be moved out of Arizona. Cubs spokesman Peter Chase said the team was declining comment.

Immigration reform groups said they targeted the Diamondbacks, in part, because the team’s owners have supported Republican politicians who backed the Arizona law. The team said in a statement that isn’t the case.

“Although D-backs’ Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has donated to Republican political candidates in the past … Kendrick personally opposes State Bill 1070,” the team said. “The D-backs have never supported State Bill 1070 and have never taken political stances.”

Diamondbacks players and coaches had little to say about the issue Thursday beyond a few wisecracks. Backup infielder Augie Ojeda, who was born in Los Angeles and went to Piux X High School in Downey, joked about changing his last name to Jones.

“We’re here to play baseball. I’m going to stay out of the political arena,” said Arizona manager A.J. Hinch.

Most fans filing into the stadium seemed bewildered by the protest, and others said they opposed the mixing of sports and politics.

“I think it makes their cause look silly,” Cubs fan Tom McGrath said. “Our economy is in a recession, boycotting states doesn’t seem very good.”

Protesters said they plan to return to Wrigley Field for the rest of the series.

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Secretariat, where are you? Check with my secretary

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AP photo/Ed Reinke
Penny Chenery, owner of Triple Crown winner Secretariat, looks on at left as actress Diane Lane speaks during a news conference Thursday about the movie based on the story of the legendary horse.

By Jim Litke
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby goes off late Saturday afternoon and for two glorious minutes and change, horse racing will be back at the center of the universe. And then, like a hangover, the sport of kings will have to confront its grim prospects all over again.

Declining revenues, smaller purses, shorter fields, less wagering and even the biggest track operators in North America in bankruptcy — the odds for renewal are so depressingly long that even mighty Secretariat likely couldn’t make a dent.

That won’t stop Big Red from trying.

At least at the movies.

Coming this fall to a theater near you, “Secretariat” is a retelling of the greatest Triple Crown campaign ever, this time through the eyes of his owner, Penny Chenery, who took the reins of her ailing father’s stable against the advice of her husband and turned the old-boy, old-money, bourbon-fueled network that dominated the game on its ear.

“Seeing yourself in a movie is really weird,” Chenery said with a laugh.

Now 87 and living in Boulder, Colo., she returned Thursday to Churchill Downs, where Secretariat’s saga began. Chenery walks with the aid of a cane, but her wit remains as sharp as ever.

“They told me, ‘Penny, it’s not a documentary, it’s a Disney movie,’” she added a moment later. “I’ve adjusted to a revised version of my life.”

Then she paused again, looked to her left at actress Diane Lane – who plays Chenery in the movie — and beamed.

“I’m younger and prettier.”

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Goodell on an L.A. NFL playground: Big dollars and common sense that’ll make it work

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NFL commissioner Roger The Dodger Goodell, a guest on the NFL Network’s “Total Access” show Wednesday night, said that for a team to return to the L.A. area there needs to be a “terrific stadium, a state-of-the-art facility which the fans here in Southern California deserve.”

Great idea. Next, we build a giant Slip-n-Slide so when a team says it wants to move here, it’ll be easier for ‘em to just quickly pass on through as they’re trying to up the ante with their current home market to get a new stadium built for them.

Goodell said of a report that a possible downtown L.A. stadium near Staples Center is in play with the Roski proposal in City of Industry: “We are not aligned in the sense of we’re exclusive to any alternative. … There are some very positive developments. One stadium’s been approved from an environmental standpoint. Another stadium is being developed in the downtown area. These are great solutions for us and hopefully will lead to a better solution overall for our fans in Southern California.”

But then the pending Collective Bargaining Agreement is geting in the way.

“Hopefully, this type of investment where you have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly billions of dollars, into a new stadium, we can make those kind of investments, which will be good for the game,” said Goodell.

NFL Net host Rich Eisen : “So the stadium’s the cart and the CBA is the horse?”

Goodell: “It’s one thing to have approval to get a bill, but you’ve got to be able to finance it. We’re opening a stadium in New York this year which is about $1.7 billion, all privately financed. That’s a tremendous investment that the owners have to make to continue to grow the game.”

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My USC town … your UCLA town … Mr. Hand, why can’t the Dodgers just make this ‘Our Town’ …

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Pipe down, Spicoli.

We’re not going to turn Dodger Stadium into Grover’s Corners, with the weird kid with the Member’s Only jacket from the Slide Rule Club wearing the gray wig and a sweater with elbow patches trying to look like an old man reminiscing about his miserable New England life …

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USC and UCLA can co-exist in Los Angeles. They have for years. Without any ugly turf wars.

They can even play Monopoly together. USC gets the sports car, UCLA gets the old shoe.

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But according to the Dodgers, each has to claim a piece of their territory. Tonight, when the Dodgers face the Pirates, it’s USC night. Friday, it’s UCLA night. They’ll give out caps and T-shirts to prove it fits into their “My Town” marketing stratetgy. That, and a $45 ticket will get you all you can eat up in the upper right-field reserved level.

There are former USC baseball players who’ve been employed by the Dodgers: Ron Fairly, Rod Dedeaux, Len Gabrielson, Ray Lamb, Bobby Mitchell. Did you know: Current USC athletic director and former Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett was drafted by Dodgers, but for some crazy reason picked pro football.

How would the world of sports be different today if he took baseball over football?

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UCLA players on the Dodgers’ roster over the years: Eric Karros, Todd Zeile, Tim Leary, Glenn Mickens, Dave Roberts, Ron Roenicke, Matt Young. Oh, and Jackie Robinson.

How would the world of sports have been different if Robinson took up football or basketball instead of his third (maybe fourth-best sport after track and field) choice?

The baseball venues for both schools are named after former Dodgers: Dedeaux Field and Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Jordan Hershiser, the 6-foot-8 son of former Dodger Orel Hershiser, is pitching these days at USC. He played in the recent Dodgertown Classic — where UCLA beat USC 6-1 in a non-conference game at Dodger Stadium in February.

But we could do on and on … and we should.

Me, the USC graduate, shot an email off the UCLA guy Karros about this Dodger promotion.

I have no status around the USC campus. Karros is a UCLA Hall of Famer, by the way. Two-time All Pac-10 first baseman (with the team from ’86-’88), a .365 career batting average, hit .415 in ’88 with 17 HRs and 54 RBIs. A sixth-round draft pick by the Dodgers … you know the rest. And if you don’t, he’ll get you up to speed.

EK received the email. Responded. More typing ensued:

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TH: EK, gotta hand it to you, the Bruins are off to a crazy start this baseball season. What was it, 12 wins in a row to start the year? 15? I lost track .. all I know is I was at Dodger Stadium two months ago for the UCLA-USC game and saw first hand how solid this Bruins team is. How do you explain this abberation in UCLA sports history — uh, and maybe overlooking that 16-4 loss to Long Beach State the other night?

EK: This aberration in sports for UCLA? Women’s Gymnastics just won a National Title…..adding to over 100 National Titles…where is SC? And Coach Savage and the baseball team didn’t want to peak too early…….lose a few and go to Arizona and take two of three from the Wildcats and retain the 5th spot in the country…

TH: Really, you’re pulling the gymnastics card? You don’t want to “beyond baseball” in this argument. And that stale national titles argument … If you’ve got to count trophies to feel good about yourself … Focus on baseball for a minute — it used to be USC’s dominant sport, like UCLA’s basketball program. And we won’t even venture into football …. I got my ideas about what’s happened to USC’s glory on the diamond. What do you think? Do scholarship limitations have anything to do with the state of college baseball programs — especially private vs. public universities? Can Chad Krueter fix this? You played with and against him, right?

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EK: Focus on baseball? With the state of the team at SC maybe intramural activities ought to be the focus……And our basketball program, we had to have a down year to let the teams in the Pac-10 catch up. You’ve got the scoop on SC, when are the sanctions being handed down? By the way…UCLA just beat Irvine in baseball…

TH: And USC’s baseball team just lost another one, to that juggernaut UC Santa Barbara… after losing two of three to Oregon … but then there’s news that USC’s women’s golf team will go to the post season for the 12th year in a row in search of an NCAA title … oh, wait, that’s South Carolina …. and there was a UCLA player taken before a USC player in the recent NFL draft … and … wait, I keep giving you more amo. … hold on, was Rick Neuheisel really telling the fans who showed up at the Rose Bowl for last week’s spring game that the team was going to win the Pac-10 championship and “see you back here on January 1″? Apparently the Football Monopoly in L.A. really is over. As least UCLA has that going for ‘em.

EK: I like our football team in the hands of “Rick” and even more so that Pete has migrated north. …. football will be like it was in the 90′s, as it should … anyhow, enjoy your evening tonight as it may be the only benefit of supporting SC, a Dodger game….

TH: Thanks. hope you make it out Friday for … oh, that’s right, you’ve got a committment to make a buck up in Seattle for a Fox MLB broadcast. Say hi to Pete for us if you run into him at a Starbucks.

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The Dodgers will have that famed USC women’s basketball coach Michael Cooper throw out the first pitch tonight (no Lisa Leslie?) Garrett and USC men’s coach Kevin O’Neill will also be there. No Lane Kiffin? Friday, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will throw out the first pitch on UCLA night, with AD Dan Guerrero (a former Bruins second baseman) and basketball coach Ben Howland hanging around.

If you get a ticket for the Dodgertown section, you get the T-shirt, plus all-you-can-inhale Dodger Dogs, pastrami sandwiches, chips, popcorn, nachos, drinks … go to www.dodgers.com/mytown for more info.

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 29 — Pastore visits his past, and frankly, it’s a pretty amazing transformation

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The book: “Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed”

The author: Frank Pastore (with Ellen Vaughn)

The vital stats: Focus On The Family publishing, 225 pages, $13.99

Find it: On the publisher’s website (linked here). Also on Amazon.com (linked here)

The pitch: Chapter One:

“It was a clear blue day in Dodger Stadium, perfect for baseball. And my life was perfect, too.
“At age 26, I’d been pitching for the Cincinnati Reds for five years. I had a beautiful wife, a young son, and a baby on the way, a decent fastball, and he cars, condos, and cash of the good life in the fast lane. My dreams had come true.
“I was cruising to a 3-1 victory, with two outs in the eighth inning. I threw a 2-1 fastball on the outside of the plate, something I’d done a thousand times before.
“It’s odd how life can change forever in the blink of an eye.”

Steve Sax of the Dodgers lined the pitch back at him. Pastore put his right arm up to protect his head. The ball crushed his elbow “like a hammer hitting a glass bottle.”

He asked God why he would let that happen, “and that made me madder still. Prayer was for weaklings and losers. … I didn’t believe in God. I was raging at Someone who didn’t exist.”

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Don’t stop here and assume this is using a baseball autobiography disguised as a witness talk to brow-beat the reader into beliving in a higher power. It’s simply a man’s journey — one who believed he was an invincible pitcher on a successful team making great money and having all the spoils of victory — and how he didn’t feel fulfilled.

Pastore, who today has a daily talk show on KKLA-FM (99.5) (linked here) that focuses “on the intersection of faith and reason,” has a way of presenting his journey without making it uncomfortable or unreasonable. He had all the same push-back doubts about those who came at him with a Bible and a belief of something better. He grew up with no faith, in a family very dysfunctional, with a God-given talent of throwing a baseball.

How would he use that talent?

He was a Southern California kid from the ’60s and ’70s — West Covina, Upland, went to high school at Damien. Had his mom pretend to be Catholic so they could get into the private school. He had a girl he wanted to marry — his friend’s little sister, four years younger than him — from a strict Catholic family.

As for that game used in Chapter One, and repeated in detail in Chapter 24 — he was defeating Fernando Valenzuela on his home turf — this was actually the second time in his career where that kind of “Ahhh” moment hit him. Both were at Dodger Stadium.

Three years earlier, on a Saturday nationally televised game, Pastore’s son, Frankie, was born a month early, rushed to the hospital with underdeveloped lungs and given a 50-50 chance of surviving his first week. Reds manager John McNamara gave him the choice to skip his turn, but without much sleep, Pastore decided to pitch that day for the Reds against the Dodgers. He went 7-plus innings and got the win. And his son survived.

Pastore writes:

“This was life and death — a flesh-and-blood situation — and Frankie pulled at something inside of me. I began to realize, in a way that I couldn’t or wouldn’t even articulate, that I may have had all the external signs of success, but there was something wrong. Something was missing. There was a hole in my life that ‘more’ wasn’t filling. … I began to lose faith that baseball would eve rmake me happy and fulfilled.
“I remember looking around the clubhouse at the players one day … most of these men had become rich and famous (but) only a few were happy. That was very disturbing. … The only guys who seemed to be ‘together’ were the guys I regularily made fun of behind their backs: those religious fanatics who brought the Bible into the locker room … those born-again Jesus freaks who believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Somebody rising from the dead.”

There are stories of Pastore learning life lessons from his boyhood idols, Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver. There’s even a better story later when Pastore is released by the Reds — called into manager Pete Rose’s office and told the news. Pastore takes it so passively that Rose becomes enraged.

“‘This God s— isn’t going to help you! So many guys get into religion and this Bible s—. This game of life is about looking out for number one … And here you are with all this ‘Jesus loves you’ crap.’”

Pastore answers: “I do know that God has a plan for evertying. … why do you think He choose you, out of all the players in the world, to be the one to break Ty Cobb’s record? I’m going to pray for you.”

And then you know about what happened to Rose …

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How it goes down in the scorebook: Pastore tells his life story better than we could ever try to replicate here, but it’s in a personable, inviting way that explains his process of challenging himself and his family, rebounding not just from that incident as a player but several times in his post-baseball career, when the IRS blindsided him, and when he was disillusioned by the politics going on at the Christian-faith university he taught at, Biola. Thanks for sharing.

Also: Pastore has a book signing at Barnes & Noble stores in Orange on May 15, in Torrance on May 22 and in Glendale on June 4.

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