Your 2011 NCAA hoops tourney: Probably 68 teams, not 96; all games on TV — CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV — with Turner in the Final Four rotation starting in 2016

From the press release issued moments ago:

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The NCAA today announced a new 14-year television, internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion.

As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 – a first for the 73-year old championship.

Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program.

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

The new agreement sustains the long-term financial stability of the Association. As with the current contract, approximately 96 percent of the revenue generated from this new agreement will be used to benefit student-athletes through either programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools. Further, the agreement ensures student-athletes across all three NCAA divisions will continue to be supported in a broad range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and through scholarships in Divisions I and II.

Beginning with the 2011 championship, opening- , first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semifinal games. CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four including the National Championship Game through 2015.

Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the National Championship game alternating every year between the CBS Television Network and Turner’s TBS.

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 22 — It’s still in the cards … or is it?

On Earth Day, we celebrate what could be the only biodegradable product that baseball ever produced: The bubble-gum card. Because it surely isn’t the hot-dog wrapper:

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The book I: “Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession”

The author: Dave Jamieson

The vital stats: Atlantic Monthly Press, 272 pages, $25

Find it: It’s at Powells.com (linked here)

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The book II: “Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards”

The author: Josh Wilker

The vital stats: Seven Footer Press, 208 pages, $24.95

Find it: Check the official site: www.cardboardgods.net Also at Powells (linked here)

The pitch: In 1983, Pete Rose’s Topps rookie card, issued 20 years earlier, was reaching new heights, just as the Cincinnati Reds star was closing in on the all-time career hits record. A card that two years earlier was going for $65 in baseball card stores was now hitting $375.

“Demand was so high that the hobby’s first substantial stock of counterfeit cards made their way into the market,” it says on page 154.
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With Kevin Millar at MLB Net … what could go wrong?

Less than a month after the Chicago Cubs released him right before the start of the regular season, former Hart High standout Kevin Millar has landed a broadcast career with the MLB Network as a studio analyst. He’ll start next Tuesday.

Millar, who lasted 12 seasons in the big leagues as a first baseman and outfielder, went undrafted out of Hart and spent five years in the minor leagues before the Florida Marlins brought him up in April, 1998. He signed with the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League in ’93 when he was 21, then had two seasons at Single-A and Double-A before was the Eastern League’s MVP (32 HRs, 131 RBI, .342 average).

He hit .274 with 170 home runs and 699 RBI in his career, and is probably best known for his three seasons with the Boston Red Sox. During their 2004 World Series run, Millar hit .297 with 18 homers and 74 RBI. He also played for Baltimore and Toronto.

And he was about the best pre- and post-game interview a broadcaster would have hoped for.

“Kevin Millar brings a fresh and current perspective to MLB Network, having played this past season,” said Tony Petitti, President and CEO of MLB Network. “During the 2009 Postseason, Kevin proved that he can provide valuable analysis and commentary to baseball fans and we’re excited to have him join our already deep roster of on-air talent.”

“Working with the guys at the MLB Network is the next best thing to actually being in a clubhouse,” said Millar. “I am really excited to get started and have some fun.”

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The stuff they’ll be pouring out in the Dodger Stadium parking lot during the next LAPD crackdown on tailgating

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The Associated Press

Quick, what’s the third-largest beer retailer in the U.S.? Chances are you didn’t know it’s 7-Eleven. Now, the convenience chain is getting a step closer to the suds it sells, rolling out a store-brand beer billed as a premium brew at a budget price.

The launch, happening this month at stores nationwide, aims to take advantage of the current economic downturn — a long, cold one for beer sales.

“We’re really working back from the customers’ needs,” said Dan Skinner, 7-Eleven category manager for alcoholic beverages. “They’re looking for exceptional quality at a value price.”

Game Day beer follows the introduction of the Yosemite Road private-label wines in 7-Elevens last year. The idea of the home of Slim Jims and Slurpees turning sommelier had some scoffing. But Skinner said the launch has gone well, with the wines holding the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the chain’s wine sales.

Whether people are ready for 7-Eleven suds remains to be seen.

Al Everett, a web developer in the Washington, D.C., area who blogs about beer at hop-talk.com, is a craft beer enthusiast who wasn’t sure what to make of Game Day.

“If I was tailgating before a game, I’d certainly consider it,” he said. “It’s probably not something that I would have regularly.” Still, he was curious. “I’ll certainly keep an eye out for it.”

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 21 — It’s hard not to have a ball at Hardball Times

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The book: “The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010: Timeless Commentary, Innovative Stats, Great Baseball Writing”

The author: By the staff of HardballTimes.com; produced by Dave Studenmund

The vital stats: ACTA Sports publishing, 364 pages, $21.95 (paperback)

Find it: At the publishers’ website, via HardballTimes.com (linked here). Also at Powells.com (linked here)

The pitch: It’s the sixth annual edition of the big book of baseball stuff — half full of the ’09 review and commentary, and the other half full of statistics and graphics. Or as the editors say, it’s for “the wordy and the nerdy.” … and “our stats are totally awesome.”

Channeling the days of the old Sporting News Official Baseball Guides, THT (as it abbreviates itself) relies on a staff of baseball lovers that includes names that have become familar to those of us who regularily check in on their website for some different takes on how baseball is measured — Joshua Fisher, the former L.A.-based law student who launched www.dodgerdivorce.com; Geoff Young, who covers the Padres at Ducksnorts (linked here); Dave Studeman, who with Pete Simpson created the Baseball Graphs website (linked here); Chris Jaffe, a history instructor by day and self-proclamed stat-nerd by night; Alec Rogers. DC area attorney who retains an affinity for his hometown Detroit Tigers; and Mike Silver, doing PR work for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate), just to name a few of the seemingly dozens who contribute.

Some of this year’s pieces that caught our attention:

== A commentary by Jack Marshall on “The Content of Their Character” (pages 86-93) and how it applies to Hall of Fame voting. Marshall writes: “The turn of the century concept of fame was far removed from today’s Paris Hilton version, for fame was not merely celebrity, but deserved celebrity. ‘Fame’ meant ‘renown,’ accomplishment, acclaimed and admirable. … If the recipe for baseball greatness is going to contain character, integrity and sportsmanship, we had better decide what they are, how we are going to measure them and how much we need to have.” Because the words “integrity, sportsmanship and character” are included in the Hall of Fame voting instructions, along with a player’s “records” and “contributions to the team(s) he played on,” Marshall wants more structure to how that is determined.
According to his standards, Juan Marichal, who has already been voted into the Hall, shouldn’t be in based on his attack on the Dodgers’ John Roseboro in that 1965 game. Marshall: “I think an on-field attack like this is such a major sportsmanship breach that it should preclude Hall of Fame membership.
What about Manny Ramirez?
Marshall: His lack of integrity and sportsmanship disqualifies him for baseball hero status … he’s very popular with the fans, however, and I have no illusions that my harsh assessment has any chance of prevailing.”

== Young’s story on modifying the box score, especially with teams (like the Padres) that fall out of contention early enough, and the measure of the team’s roster should be determined slightly different. For example, taking the major prospects who play on a regular basis, they can be rated on a point system. Batters get one point if they have four or more plate appearances, one poitn if they reach base two or more times and one point if they have four or more total bases. Pitchers get one point for pitching five or more innings, one point for making 15 or fewer pitches per inning and one point if their strikeouts are greater than or equal to the number of innings they pitch.

== Jaffe makes a case for the 1972 World Series (remember it? Reds-A’s) as being the best of all time. “Which is not synonymous for ‘more memorable,’” he points out.

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== Warren Corbett writes a piece called “Paul Richards in a box,” which is adapted from his recent book, “Wizard of Waxahachie” (linked here).

== Mike Fist and Dave Allen tangle with the concept of “PITCHf/x,” a TV graphic that tracks pitch trajectory, speed, break and location for MLB Gameday web applications.

As for the statistics, learn more about Major League Equalavencies (MLE), Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and the latest developments in how defense is measured.

From their stat breakdowns of each team, did you know:

== Just five percent of outfield fly balls allowed by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in 2009 were home runs.

== Dodgers first baseman James Loney had the lowest H-A (-.068) of any NL regular; Dodgers outfielder Andre Eithier had the highest (.079). That’s the home/away split, which takes each player’s GPA (Gross Production Average) and compares the number he generated during home games versus what he did on the road. A postive number is considered good.

== Angels catcher Jeff Mathis had 73 total bases and 73 strike outs.

== The Angels’ +52 corner infield plus/minus stat was the best in the majors last year.

How it goes down in the scorebook: This site, and the book, remind me of David Eckstein. You look at it, and maybe aren’t that immediately impressed after trying to size it up. It’s not SABR; not so much the Baseball Writers of America endorsed or produced commentary. But then you see it perform, give it a chance … and you’re not sorry you did.

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Chick’s dig the Chick presentation today

If you can’t be there in person to see the unveiling of the new Chick Hearn statue outside of Staples Center, Fox Sports West’s website (linked here) will video stream it starting at 4:30 p.m. It will also air live on FSW.

Meanwhile, during tonight’s Lakers-Thunder Game 2, the FSW website will have a live in-game chat with Matt “Money” Smith and Norm Nixon.

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 20 — It’s Fay 3.0

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The book: “It’s What’s Inside the Lines that Counts: Baseball Stars of the 1970s and 1980s Talk About the Game They Loved, Vol. 3″

The author: Fay Vincent

The vital stats: Simon & Schuster, 328 pages, $25

Find it: At Barnes and Noble (linked here)

The pitch: The third installment of the former commissioner’s attempt to get the oral history of the game directly from transcribed conversations with players from the ’30s down through the ’80s comes together with interviews he’s done with Juan Marichal, Cal Ripken Jr., Willie McCovey, Dick Williams, Earl Weaver, Tom Seaver, Don Baylor, Ozzie Smith, umpire Bruce Froemming and, surprisingly, former players association chief Marvin Miller — who Vincent believes belongs in the Hall of Fame. To cover the game’s evolution during this time frame, a discussion with Miller is essential.

After reading several accounts, all with something to offer in different ways, our focus turned to Marichal, one of the game’s Latino pioneers who talks about the racism he faced for the first time when coming to the U.S.

Oh, yes, then there was the 1965 Roseboro incident.

Marchical explains: “I hate to talk about that now because Johnny passed away. … “

But then he does, and it really helps put things into context:

He remembers how on a Friday night, Maury Wills was awarded first base on catcher’s interference when he faked a bunt and his bat ticked catcher Tom Haller’s glove. Giants manager Herman Franks was upset, so he told Matty Alou to do the same to Roseboro — and he did. Roseboro got mad and “Johnny started hollering from the plate to the bench. We didn’t know what he said. I started hollering to him. He didn’t know what I said. …”

Marichal said Roseboro then sent him messages via Orlando Cepeda, Matty Alou and coach Cookie Lavagetto: “He told them to tell me to shut my mouth if I didn’t want to get one behind my ear.”

Then Saturday arrived and Marichal said “I forgot the whole thing.”

Sunday, Marichal pitched against Sandy Koufax. Wills led off with a bunt single, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly. Next time up, Marichal brushed Wills back. Then Ron Fairly hit the deck on a pitch that Marichal said was “almost a strike.” As a result, the Dodger players were yelling at Marichal.

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“When I came to bat, I said to myself, maybe they’re going to throw one at me. But I knew that Sandy doesn’t. I was 100 percent sure that he wasn’t going to do it.”

Marichal remembers taking the first two pitches, the second a strike down the middle.

“For some reason, I don’t know why, I looked back and I saw Johnny. When the ball hit his glove, he dropped the ball and it rolled back. I just looked at that point, then I went back and looked at Sandy. And I stayed there with my bat on my shoulder. And Johnny shot that ball from behind that hit my ear.

“I looked back and I said, what did you do that for? Let me tell you, he called my mother so many names that I couldn’t take it. When he first said that, I said, what? And he said, you heard me, you so and so and so, and then he started charging. A lot of people said that I hit him in the head with a bat, sure. But with a swing that I didn’t think could hurt anybody, because I just moved the bat forward trying to stop him from coming at me with all that gear and everything. Oh, my God, what a fight. That was ugly.”

Marichal said he felt “so bad” because of not only what happened, but how it was portrayed in the media. And he had also heard the story: “When they were leaving the hotel that Sunday to play us, they had a meeting on the bus and they talked to each other, saying, who do they want to get, and Johnny said, leave Juan for me. Leave Juan for me. So you know that was well prepared.”

Years later, Marichal said he talked to Koufax, and told him that he and Roseboro had become friends, that what happened was just part of the game. Koufax confirmed that they had asked him to knock Marichal down, but Roseboro said, ‘Don’t do it, let me do it.’

“But by using the bat, I was the bad guy.’”

Marichal was fined a then-record $1,750 and suspended for nine days.

How it goes down in the scorebook: You’d wish there was a book on tape version of this — and probably there is. But with the pages here, we can hear the voices clearly enough, get to the stories quickly enough, and enjoy them all just the same. We thank Vincent for taking the time and effort to complete this series … knowing there’s the ’90s and ’00s that could be worth looking into sometime down the road as well.

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Also find:

== “The Only Game in Town: Baseball Stars of the 1930s and 1940s Talk about the Game They Loved” Vol. 1 from 2006 (linked here)

== “We Would Have Played for Nothing : Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved” Vol. 2 from 2008 (linked here)

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What’s it like for the Kings’ first home playoff game in eight years? Try kids with beards

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Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill

Kings fans celebrate a goal by defenseman Drew Doughty (8) as Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows skates by during the first period of Game 3 Monday at Staples Center.

From her binocular-friendly seat in the front row of Staples Center’ upper-deck 304 section, Benay Furtivo peered over the Plexiglas barrier in front of her and spotted the logo “Stanley Cup Playoffs” etched into the ice near each blue line.

“Oh, my God, it’s happening – can you believe it?” the long-time season-seat holder from Westchester said, putting both hands up to her cheeks. “It’s almost unreal. It’s been so long. (italic)Too (off ital) long.”

A lot can change in eight years, but loyalty to Kings’ royalty is a nasty habit to break.

It was a full hour before the Kings would play their first NHL home playoff game since April 27, 2002 – that, according to the history books and early Internet accounts, was a 3-1 win over Colorado in Game 6 of an opening-round series they’d eventually lose to the Avalanche in Game 7 back in Denver.

But Furtivo, in her black Anze Kopitar sweater, made sure she sped over from her job at UCLA to be in the building as soon as possible early Monday evening.

“We all can hardly contain ourselves; my friend Tracy’s mom Linda is driving in for this from Barstow,” Furtivo said. “We’re all nuts.”

Or simply stir crazy.

There’s a fine line between teasing a Kings’ fan, and testing them. Since their Wayne Gretzky-led run to the Stanley Cup final 17 years ago, so much has changed – from coaches and GMs, to uniforms and facilities, to slogans and logos.

Manchester miracles and Figueroa flurries are only talked about by fuming fans and seething season-seat holders who don’t need a reminder that their rivals over in the O.C. have already been able to parade the Stanley Cup through their neighborhood.

“It has been frustrating; I don’t like sitting at home watching everyone else in the playoffs,” admitted Kings’ Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller, in his 37th year with the team, before the contest.

“When we’re not in the playoffs, we really feel like we’re out of the loop, out of the league.

“These fans have been so patient, they’ve waited so long. They should want to explode by now.”

They did Monday. Like a wrecking ball. But that’s no shocker.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal paid attention to the Kings’ post-season reappearance with a story about the team, most likely for the first time since former owner Bruce McNall had all his financial shenanigans.

The paper pointed out that, despite the fact they team has long been “the laughingstock of the league,” their average attendance of 17,313 is consistent with what they’ve been drawing since moving from the Forum to Staples Center in 1999.

Who’s laughing now?

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The vocal support was cranked it up early and rarely subsided during Game 3, where the Kings led 4-2 going into the third period. Along with the visual of twirling the white towels given out to everyone as they entered the building, it was as raucous as the place has been in years – especially during a second-period outburst that chased Canucks goalie Roberto Loungo.

So dedicated is the team to its “Back in Black” campaign that the statues of Magic Johnson and Oscar de la Hoya (as well, of course as Gretzky) just outside the building were fitted with oversized Kings playoff sweaters.

The only thing they missing were playoff beards.

Those came via some fans who weren’t even born the last time the Kings were the postseason.

Four-year-old Brian Mantooth of Norwalk was across the street from Staples Center in Nokia Plaza, competing with people far older than him in a make-shift street-hockey game. To celebrate witnessing his first Kings’ playoff with his Kopitar jersey and yellow helmet, Mantooth stood out from the rest of the crowd because his mom helped him “grow” a playoff beard with the help of a black Sharpie pen.

“I had one, so he wanted one, too,” said Wayne Mantooth, who would soon be in his seats in Section 307. “I’ve been a fan since the ’90s, but I finally got season tickets last season. Now it’s paid off.”

Nine-year-old Aaron Garcia of Mission Hills was on his way to his 300-level seat with a neatly-trimmed fake beard, supplied by his dad, Roy.

“Just five bucks, over at Party City,” admitted Roy, who had his own faux version because he admitted his wife wouldn’t let him grow a real one.

“And I don’t think his mom will allow him to wear that one to school,” Roy said of Aaron’s appearance.

Miller admits that if did try to grow his own playoff beard, “it wouldn’t look that good. Besides, I’m not a big fan of them. By the time the team wins the Stanley Cup, the players look like a bunch of vagrants.”

If only the Kings knew what the feeling was like. Even vaguely.

And if only Furtivo could grow a playoff beard.

“I probably would if I could,” she said.

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It’s OK, kids, you can come out now — at least Berman isn’t going to the NFL Network. Or CBS. Or NBC. Or Fox. Or Oxygen. Or …

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It’s all about containment at this point.

ESPN is in lockdown — Chris Berman isn’t leaving the building.

In a press release this morning that clearly explains the situation — it is entitled “Chris Berman Signs Extension to Remain with ESPN” — the network, which continues to spread itself across everything that is ABC, effectively gives the sports viewing public a reasonable plan of viewing attack as it prepares to move forward.

Berman, the (fill-the-blank)-pound gorilla (depending on how many endorsements he has left with Applebys or NutriSystem), was rumored to be in contact with the NFL Network about the possibly of coming over to spread himself across the league-owned channel and perhaps wiping out the Smarmy Germ (also known as (I-AM-ONE) that has infected the place since the hiring of former ESPN anchor Rich Eisen.

In effect, ESPN has chosen to keep the person it hired in October of 1979 to continue as “the lead voice and face” of ESPN’s NFL studio coverage, and do play-by-play on the MLB Home Run Derby, plus work on U.S. open golf.

The rest of the information, from ESPN headquarters:

Berman’s extension ensures that he will remain a fixture on ESPN’s NFL Sundays. His 25 years as host of Sunday NFL Countdown (formerly NFL Gameday) – which pre-dates ESPN’s first NFL television contract – is by far the longest streak ever among all weekly pro football studio show hosts. Berman is also a fan favorite for his signature calls on NFL highlights, for which he earned widespread acclaim as host of the classic NFL PrimeTime from 1987-2005.

“Chris has contributed so much to our company’s success in reaching sports fans for more than three decades, and we are thrilled that one of the most important figures in our history will remain a vital part of ESPN’s future,” said ESPN President George Bodenheimer.

Added ESPN Executive Vice President, Content John Skipper: “Chris will continue to be the face and voice of ESPN, delivering sports news, expert storytelling and, of course, his signature highlights with the same passion, energy and enthusiasm that has resonated with fans since he first arrived in Bristol in 1979.”

Said Berman: “Home is where the heart is, and I am thrilled to be staying home at ESPN for years to come. It’s been a privilege to work alongside my colleagues and an honor to be welcomed into the homes of sports fans for over 30 years. In fact, since this all began in 1979, that means we’ve been together for parts of five decades. I can’t wait to continue the journey.”

This week Berman will also occupy his familiar host position on ESPN’s main set at the 2010 NFL Draft – Thursday, April 22 (7:30-11 p.m. ET) and Friday, April 23 (6-10:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2). Berman has covered the Draft for 30 years and hosted ESPN’s annual telecast since 1987.

At least we don’t have to call Kick-Ass to take care of this potential mess.

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30 baseball books in 30 days of ’10: Day 19 — Way beyond a black-and-white issue

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The book: “Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson”

The author: Timothy M. Gay

The vital stats: Simon and Schuster, 349 pages, $26

Find it: On Amazon.com (linked here).

The pitch: Discovery of how these barnstorming games took place in the ’30s and ’40s, and then kind of lost their steam in the years after the Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson, is necessary information for a baseball fan’s internal database.

But the local connections to all this had us even more fascinated and curious. The index, strangely, is where we ended up turning first, to these references:

Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, 105, 131, 134, 136, 140, 147, 168, 205, 216-17, 242, 254, 255, 258-59, 272.

California Winter League (CWL), 24, 32, 67, 79, 106-7, 134, 135-50, 178-80, 183, 206-8, 251.

Because the Pacific Coast League banned black players, the California Winter League was formed by a promoter named Joe Pirrone. That eventually allowed Negro League players like Satchel Paige to make off-season money barnstorming at places like the old Wrigley Field in L.A., just East of the Coliseum. The games even included Robinson.

So when you look at how race played a role in baseball’s formation, you have to include this as an important part of the time line. As much as how we enjoyed this book focusing on the fun and frolic that Paige, Bob Feller and Dizzy Dean had in these black teams-vs.-white teams, it documents how much fans were accepting of it and, eventally, how major league baseball could no longer deny it, no matter how much Commissioner Landis tried.

“Think how Bill Cosby and Robert Culp stirred the cultural zeitgeist in television’s ‘I Spy’ — and that was after the passage of the 1960s civil and voting rights acts,” Gay writes in his author’s intro. “Paige, Dean and Feller were out on baseball’s bustings before Cosby was born — and long before bigotry became a societal epithet.”

Drawing much of the information from the newspapers of the time — with the L.A. Times referring to Paige as “the lanky Negro ace” — we try to go back in time, like to a game in 1945 when Paige and Feller attracted nearly 60,000 at L.A.’s Wrigley Field, just months before the Dodgers signed Robinson.

And the game in 1934, when Dean and Paige reportedly pitched 13 innings against each other at Wrigley. Dean struck out 15 and give up a run; Paige struck out 17 and pitched a shutout.

Gay interviewed nearly 40 people for this project, including Feller, Paige’s son Robert, and former players like Monte Irvin and Mickey Vernon.

How it goes down in the scorebook: We wish were old enough to have been able to attend a Satchel Paige Night at Wrigley Field — Oct. 24, 1948 was the last one, with a great story (page 272) about how Cool Papa Bell scored from first base on a sacrifice bunt by Paige.

One more review: From Wil Haygood in The Washington Post, via Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf site (linked here): “Gay has written a workmanlike book. It has limitations, some of which are not really the author’s fault. The records of these games, even when they can be tracked down, are not always dependable. The games seem to have been not so much “wild,” as Gay implies in his subtitle, as slapstick. And some of the stories here sound apocryphal: Negro leaguers taking on the Klan and living to tell about it? Gay’s repeated use of “according to legend” doesn’t help, either. Another drawback is that these were exhibition games, played in a relaxed environment. Pride was doubtless at stake, but not the kind of feverish athletic fervor that might have been displayed in a Negro leagues championship game.”

Also, find William McNeil’s 2002 book, “The California Winter League.”

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Also: Any kind of review about this without at least mentioning “Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend” by Larry Tye (linked here) would be unfair. The book came out in late 2009, has been on the shelf for sometime and this was a perfect opportunity to contrast and compare it to this Satch-related book.

Tye helped Gay with material for his book, and then offered a review of it for the back cover.

And then, in the larger-than-live “Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress” by Harry Katz, Frank Ceresi, Phil Michel, Wilson McBee and Susan Reyburn (linked here), one of the “treasures” advertised on the back page is “a rare color portrait taken in 1952″ of Paige, when he was with Cleveland Indians. It is something to stare at a while indeed.

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