Play It Forward May 4-10 — Hack-A-Howard vs. Hack-A-DJ, with Reggie Miller back in play

rockets-v-clippersTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Details/TV: Game 1 at Houston: Monday at 6:30 p.m., TNT:

Mayweather Pacquiao BoxingAnother poor choice for Reggie Miller, giving up his TNT courtside seat for Game 7 of the Clippers-Spurs opening round series to Chris Webber so that he could hobnob around the MGM Grand with Charles Barkley and be part of the network posse representing themselves at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. So now Reggie Roundball wants back in for the Clippers’ second-round series? By all means. Kevin Harlan will be impatiently awaiting his arrival in Houston, since it was the Rockets, who from what information we can gather, who eliminated the Dallas Mavs with just five games in the first round and haven’t played since last Tuesday. That gives them plenty of time to practice their free throws, since it will somehow come down to a Hack-A-Howard versus a Hack-A-DeAndre chess match, which always makes for compelling TV. Houston led the NBA by averaging 114.2 points in its first-round series, but it made just 67.9 percent of its free throws, 15th out of the 16 postseason teams. In the regular season, Houston was 27th overall at 71.5 percent. Only the Clippers (71.0 percent, 28th) were worse among playoff teams.
The series continues with Game 2 at Houston on Wednesday (6:30 p.m., TNT). Staples Center has Game 3 (Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN) and Game 4 (Sunday, 5:30 p.m., TNT).


The Ducks take their Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal series to Calgary for Game 3 (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., USA Network) and Game 4 (Friday, 6:30 p.m., NBCSN) before coming back to Honda Center for Game 5 (Sunday, TBA) … All 50 in the world rankings’ top 50 are enrolled for the PGA’s Players Championship, which ends Sunday (11 a.m., Channel 4) … The Dodgers’ road trip takes them to Milwaukee and Colorado … The Angels stay home for Seattle and Houston … More at this link.

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30 baseball books in April 15: What did we miss up on?

The-Simpsons-05x21-Lady-Bouviers-LoverWe didn’t have time to get to everything, and not everything got to us in time. Or, at all.
All you can do is continue to ask for review copies. And keep searching the local book stores. And checking to see when they will be available.
For those who cooperated with review books through the mail, we are grateful.
71TtxzzYmxLAt one point in this annual baseball book review series, we almost threw our own Eephus pitch and was going to suggest the new book by Greg Proops called “The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool” (Touchstone/Simon & Shuster), 310 pages, $25).
Seriously, take a look, because of the amount of baseball material that the comedian had managed to jam into this thing is quite remarkable.
But why not? Baseball is smart, literal, rancorous and cool. And he pulled it off.
(If anything, buy it, then find him for a book signing or a performance of Smartest Man in the World podcast).
So, 30 books later, we have a longer list of things we couldn’t capture, or what’s coming up later:

Some of them sight unseen, they would be: Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15: Rinse, repeat, rank

Person reading a book on the beachPerson reading a book on the beachWe appreciate the kind words from those who have read the reviews this month, inquired more about some of them, contributed ideas and helped facilitate some late arrivals.
To rank them from our favorites to the end of the bench:

1165== “The League of Outsider Baseball” by Gary Cieradkowski

== “The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy,” by Filip Bondy

== ““I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever,” by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster

== “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” by Ed Lucas, with his son, Christopher Lucas

== “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball,” by George Genovese, with Dan Taylor

== “Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary,” by Robert F. Burk

== “Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer,” by Robert K. Fitts

== “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects: A Tour through the Bats, Balls, Uniforms, Awards, Documents and Other Artifacts that Tell the Story of the National Pastime,” by Josh Leventhal

== “Throw Like A Woman,” a novel by Susan Petrone

== “The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life” by Mike Matheny, with Jerry B. Jenkins

PLENTY OF UPSIDE: Continue reading

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Weekly media notes version 04.30.15: Our senses are heightened by all that we’re expected to filter this extended weekend

What will be coming up Sunday:

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

The 30 baseball book reviews for the month of April 2015 have been submitted for your approval, but one Q-and-A that we wanted to expand upon was with Ed Lucas, the blind writer/reporter covering the New York Yankees and Mets for YES Network and The Jersey Journal. He and his son, Chris, put together “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story … A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” which may spur a movie version of Ed Lucas’ life, and was compelling enough for us to do more than just a review of the book.
In the meantime, the book’s website:

What we need to get out there now with the major weekend of sports coming up:

maxresdefault== A frightening thought: Time Warner is coming out “in a stronger position, giving the company greater control over its destiny” after the failed merger with Comcast, writes the New York Times. Time Warner Cable is scheduled to report earnings today, “when industry observers will be looking for clues about whether the company plans to buy, sell or go it alone.” Now, Charter is doing the talking with a TWC merger, which, again, anyone who thinks they know how this will affect the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA distribution is just grabbing at air. But, people will read that and form opinions.
It’s still air.

== From the Associated Press’ Joe Resnick in a story released this morning:

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game at Camden Yards in Baltimore.  (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully says he would have been very uncomfortable if he had to announce a baseball game played in front of no fans.
Scully, who witnessed the 1965 Watts Riots and the 1992 L.A. riots during his 65 seasons in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he thought it was a smart decision by Major League Baseball to have kept the public out of Camden Yards for safety and police staffing reasons when the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2.
Two games had been postponed because of looting and rioting around the ballpark. The turmoil prompted a citywide curfew and began hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
“I felt it was a very difficult assignment for everybody involved. But they made their decision,” Scully said.
“At least now it’s over, done, gone, and without any problems. That was the big thing. If there had been any demonstrations at all, there would have had to be a heavy police presence, which meant they would take the police presence away from where it should be. So I think it was a wise decision.”
The Orioles-White Sox game was shown live on
“My first thought was that it’s historical, if not hysterical,” Scully said. “But it would be very awkward for me. I rely a great deal on the crowd — because to me, the crowd adds all the necessary atmosphere. So not to have the crowd would be like missing your front tooth.”

Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 30: To Infinite Cards and beyond for the radical Cieradkowski

7_LEAGUE OF OUTSIDER BASEBALL-9_zpswp5xkyr9The book: “The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes”
The author: Gary Cieradkowski
The illustrator: Gary Cieradkowski
The vital statistics: Touchstone/Simon & Shuster, 233 pages, $25
Find it: At, at, at, at

USE 81EDul0d+tLThe pitch: There’s nothing quite like seeing a creation by Gary Cierad-
kowski (pro-
nounced Sir-Ad-
For those of us who have known his distinctive art work on the Infinite Card set blog since 2010, a detour from his amazing graphic arts company once located in Long Beach, and then maybe saw his  magazine called “21: Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball,” the arrival of this book is Opening Day all over again.
We have, in fact, saved it as the best for last in this annual series.
USE2 810+oKf1zQLCredit MLB historian John Thorn for nailing it as far as what Cierad-
kowski’s art most resembles – he says it reminds him of the “poster kings of yore – Edward Penfield, J.C. Leyendecker, Fred G. Cooper.”
Can you picture that? Google it instead.
The story behind how Cieradkowski even set out to design these cards, shaped like the old vertical tobacco  inserts that frame this mental journey even more profoundly, and now having these stories attached to them, can be traced back to the 1970s. Growing up a Mets fan, he got into frequent baseball history discussions with his late father, a Brooklyn Dodgers die-hard devotee. They took a page from historian Scott Simkus and became immersed in those who were on the fringe – Negro Leaguers, town team players, players stuck in the low minors, those overseas who became legends.
And even the guys who couldn’t handle the pressure.
Those who have been part of his blogging resume over the years have finally gotten on the same page. Or, at least within the same covers. Continue reading

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