30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 11: A life saver, it is

The book: “Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me”
The author: Stacey May Fowles
The vital statistics: McClelland & Stewart, 304 pages, $18, released today, April 11
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website, or the writers’ website

The pitch: Our first encounter with Ms Fowles was through an essay posted on the Toronto Globe and Mail, a beautiful piece that resonated with us about how one can go and sit in a stadium full of people and still find solitude.
“Over the last year I’ve faced a great deal of uncertainty and doubt. I’ve been scared and anxious, worried about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and where it will take me. I’ve felt unsure, and perhaps I’ve made the mistake of looking outside myself, and of comparing myself to others, to find the answers. If only for an afternoon, I needed to go ahead and buy a single ticket and remind myself that maybe I already have all the answers I need.
“And as always, the ballpark generously reassured me. Baseball, it is said, means you’re never alone, but it also teaches you that it’s okay to be all by yourself.”
With surprise and a reassurance there was karma out there somewhere, we came across that full essay in this book, a compilation of her work that proves Fowles is wise beyond her years, for someone who isn’t even 40 yet but has written four books prior to this.
She continues to find baseball as a place of solace as she works on ways to deal with PTSD, anxiety, depression and all sorts of physiological issues related to issues that she can best explain.
Baseball is her ultimate therapeutic journey toward feeling like a normal human being again.
We are so with you on this.
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30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 10: The way the Cubs came to be World Series champs, with a championship author

Tom Verducci, always at work. (Photo by New Jersey Monthly with this 2010 profile)

The book: “The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse”
The author: Tom Verducci
The vital statistics: Crown Archetype/Penguin Random House, 384 pages, $28, released March 28
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website

The pitch: In the editors’ notes from the Sports Illustrated March 27 MLB preview issue, Fox Sports and MLB Network reporter/writer Ken Rosenthal is quoted about Tom Verducci: “He’s the best baseball writer ever, and I honestly don’t think there’s a close second. What he does actually amazes me on a fairly consistent basis.”
As much as Verducci filled that particular issue of SI with all his knowledge and prose, he did even more in this no-words-wasted and timely account of not just how the Cubs came out breaking the curse and winning the 2016 World Series — including coming back to topple the Dodgers in the NLCS — but why it happened with the groundwork laid years before it.
It’s phenomenal to think how short a window of time Verducci had to turn this around from the last out of Game 7 on Nov. 2 to then pounding it out, having it edited, then printed and distributed before Opening Day less than five months later.
Verducci explains in the acknowledgments that there’s something of “The Bernoulli effect” in action here: That is, scientifically, something that explains an increase in the speed of a fluid that occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure in the fluid’s potential energy. What ends up here is a fluid account, even as it connects recent past to current celebration, and also comes without fluff and full of photos.
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Monday media: Bob Miller ends it simply: “Good night and good bye”

Just before the start of the third period of Sunday’s Kings-Ducks game from Anaheim, Bob Miller and Jim Fox had kind words for each other in appreciation of each other’s work in the 27-year TV partnership.
“It’s tough,” said Fox about Miller’s retirement and about to call the last period of his broadcasting career, “but I’m OK with it because you got to call two Stanley Cups. If that had not happened, I’d just be devastated right now.”
“Well,” said Miller, with typical comedic timing, “if that hadn’t happened, I might still be working, too.”
Fox perhaps set the tone of the broadcast in the pregame show when he said he would be “mentally strong” during the game and remember “don’t be sad because it is ending, but be happy that it took place.”
More about Miller’s last call at this link.

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Play It Forward April 10-16: Unless they’re big Jazz fans, the Clippers face the music in the NBA playoffs again

Ranking the top 10 sports events April 10-16 you won’t want to miss:

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan celebrates after dunking the ball while the Jazz’ Gordon Hayward looks back at him during their game at Staples Center on March 25. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

The NBA Finals start June 1. The conference finals begin May 16, and the semifinals launch on May 1. It may be jumping the gun for the Clippers to have any of those dates jotted down on their calendars based on some recent post-season history. But once the regular season ends for them at home against Houston (Monday, 7:30 p.m., TNT) and then Sacramento (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) – a win in either one gives Doc Rivers the most regular-season coaching victories in franchise history – we’ll see again whether the pieces fit together to get by the first round match up against the Utah Jazz, scheduled to start either Saturday or Sunday, in Utah or at Staples Center.
The Clippers and Jazz go into their last two games wedged in at fourth in the Western Conference, jockeying for home-court advantage, as the Clippers hold a tie-breaker by winning three of four meetings this season, including a 108-95 decision at home on March 25. In that one, Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul were hit with technical fouls – what a surprise – as the Clippers were about to surrender a 16-point lead in the third quarter. Crawford sobered up and scored 17 of his 28 points in the final quarter to push the Clippers. Utah finishes up the regular season at Golden State on Monday and vs. San Antonio on Wednesday.
More about the Dodgers’ trip to Chicago, their Jackie Robinson Day festivities at home, the Ducks’ NHL playoffs opener and more at this link.

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30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 9: What once was lost can still be found

The book: “Lost Ballparks”
The author: Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos
The vital statistics: Pavilion Books, 144 pages, $19.95, released April 1
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website

The pitch: Imagine the Cubs’ Wrigley Field as the site of a “lost ballpark?”
Doubtful. Chicago wouldn’t allow it. America shouldn’t allow it.
Besides, the disappearance of the Wrigley Field in L.A. is one Wrigley too many.
What once was lost can still be found, but it’s often not as nice as you’d hope.
The Wrigley that once stood at Avalon Blvd. between 41st and 42nd Place is where the Kedren Community Mental Health Center and Gilbert Lindsay Skatepark, next to the Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center full of soccer fields and the Wrigley Little League, just a few blocks east of the Harbor Freeway and MLK Blvd, as we once discovered for a story in 2009, 40 years after the wrecking ball finally finished it off.
Curiously, a publisher from London, using a printing facility in China, has produced this coffee-table sized publication that is helping author/editors Evanosky and Kos and 16 other contributors recall a brief history in stories and black-and-white and color photo of 58 ballparks. They are organized in order of their demise from 1911 (Palace of the Fans in Cincinnati) to 2015 (San Francisco’s Candlestick Park), and are wise to include L.A.’s Gilmore Field (1958), San Diego’s Lane Field (1958) and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field (1960).
Most of the older, bigger cathedrals, we know about. There are books done separately on many of them (see below, Houston Astrodome). But it’s more about the places we never heard of that came and went that are worth a moment to pause and wonder – could they have been kept, and what led to their disappearance?
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