Tag:Jane Leavy
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:44 pm

Love Letters: The Spring is Almost Here edition

Last mail call before spring training. Now, doesn't THAT sound nice? ...

FROM: Bert L.
Re.: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies reign over winter carnival

Your column with trades and teams making them was an absolute riot. Very funny and very factual. Being in South Florida, I loved the Hanley Ramirez bit about hustling and the A.J. Burnett bit about salt and snow trucks. Thanks for the well written and well thought out entertainment.

May need some sand to dump on Burnett as well as salt to make sure he's good and thawed for spring camp and beyond.

FROM: Alan

You'd really put A-1 on filet mignon? You're about as smart as a bag of hair.

Depends on who's cooking the filet mignon. If I'm grilling it, no need for A-1.

FROM: Alex B.
Re.: Contrite Joyce seeks new beginning after haunted winter

Mr. Joyce is an inspiration to me. He has taken the wave of anger head on, stoically endured it, preserving what I believe is the most beautiful thing about baseball: That it is about the controlling of chance, and ultimately about the human element of judgment. I may be alone in this, but I believe what happened in that game is the best argument against replay-officiating in baseball. The controversy of judgment and the finality of the moment has been the spice of our nation pastime since its beginnings. But honestly, I had stopped thinking about that game, and I assumed everyone else did too. I hope that's the case soon, but I will remain his fan. Thanks for writing the piece.

I think he made a lot of fans and, as I wrote, he put a human face on the umpiring profession. And some of those guys really need it.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

Very well written article on Joyce. It was really interesting to see what he has been up to recently. What a class act Joyce is. I am sorry that it had to happen to Armando Galarraga but I am actually glad it did happen. It just shows what true sportsmanship is all about and why baseball is so much classier than all other professional sports.

Another thing: When baseball sells seats to a World Series, the seats are actually there for the ticketholders.

FROM: John B.
Re.: Rangers can't let demand get old before dealing Young

How about this for a deal? Michael Young to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Works for both teams, fills needs and clears problems. Could work!!!

I like your thinking but here's why it won't work: The Mets are not on Young's list of eight clubs to whom he will accept a trade. I don't see Young being interested in playing for the Mets. And Beltran has a full no-trade clause.

FROM: Frank D
Re.: Needing youth, quickness, Angels instead opt for Wells

Love your passion, but I think too many are underselling Vernon Wells. If you look at his numbers in 2008 and 2009, though they were down, they were, in fact, superior to Adrian Beltre -- who got a huge deal and a lot of positives. Wells brings grit, power and pride to the Angels. Coupled with Torii Hunter, you have two pros who will play hard, produce and lead a team fighting for the AL West. They also have the best manager in MLB and he'll know how to get the most out of Wells. Napoli already has been dealt to Texas, and Rivera is an oft-injured 4th OF who jakes it. The Angels gave up nothing, but money to get a quality player with character.

You're right about Rivera, and Napoli wasn't ever a Mike Scioscia favorite. And you're right that Wells is a pro, just like Hunter. But that's a lot of dough for a player where there are other, more significant needs.

FROM: Scott D.

Nice hatchet job on the Angels Scott. It will be interesting to see what you have to say if Wells brings a big bat to go with his contract. Three center fielders in the outfield adds up to a great defensive unit, and Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. If the underachievers from last year play up to potential, we could see the Angels winning the division and more, again. Enjoy your vacation, moron.

If Wells plays a key role in the Angels winning this year, here's what I will say: I was wrong. But I'm not counting on it. I still think Angels need infusion of youth and speed.

FROM: Travis B.

Dear Mr. Miller,

I respect your words but I disagree. The Angels don't need a lead-off man -- Peter Bourjos can do the job. Vernon Wells is the power we needed just in case Kendry Morales can't answer the call. To drive in runs.

Come on, Bourjos batted .204 with a .237 on-base percentage over his 51 games in Anaheim last summer! Unless he grows into his offensive shoes in a hurry, I don't put him anywhere near the leadoff slot.

Likes: On deck in just a few days: The daily spring training Bull Pennings with news, notes, quips, likes, dislikes, the whole package. And, of course, the rock and roll lyrics. A Florida (and then Arizona) travelogue. Stay tuned. ... Could go from a Green Bay Super Bowl title to a Milwaukee Brewers' playoff appearance later this summer. The Brewers have made some great offseason moves. Wisconsin is a fabulous sports state. Could be fun. ... The Eminem/Chrysler/Detroit Super Bowl commercial. If you missed it, it's here. ... Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle is a terrific read. ... Go see The Fighter. You will not be disappointed. Christian Bale is everything you've heard, Mark Wahlberg is good and Melissa Leo -- one of the most underrated actresses around -- is as great as she usually is. ... Hey, the groundhog saw his shadow! Spring is right around the corner. Right?

Dislikes: The waiting for spring training to begin. Seems like it takes forever, doesn't it?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well it's 9th and Hennepin
"And all the donuts have
"Names that sound like prostitutes
"And the moon's teeth marks are
"On the sky like a tarp thrown over all this
"And the broken umbrellas like
"Dead birds and the steam
"Comes out of the grill like
"The whole damned town is ready to blow"

-- Tom Waits, 9th and Hennepin



Posted on: March 13, 2009 10:21 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2009 12:40 am

Book it: Here's 5 More Baseball Essential Reads

 PEORIA, Ariz. -- My compliments to Uncle Larry for his crack list of literary essentials from the baseball world. Yes, perhaps he is biased with wild romantic memories of his youth, but I'm here to tell you: I get as tired of Yankees' propaganda as the next non-New York-raised kid, but he's right on this one: O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto is quite imaginative and entertaining.

He's also especially right regarding Richard Ben Cramer's excellent Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life; Joe Posnanski's The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neill's America; and, of course, Ball Four and The Summer of '49.

Now, if I may, I offer five other essentials not included on this fine list (there are so many great books out there, no list can be definitive, can it?):

A False Spring by Pat Jordan.

A completely overlooked classic first published in 1975. Jordan's elegiac memoir is a moving and wistful look at at a professional baseball career that ended in the low minors. From his high school phenom days when scouts raved to his broken-down end, this book is touching and filled with poignant observations. For extra credit, if you enjoy this, read Jordan's A Nice Tuesday. The hook is a little corny -- it's built around a one-inning minor-league comeback at the age of 56 -- but Jordan expands his reach beyond baseball and looks in the mirror at an aging man whose life hasn't turned out quite how he expected. The guy is a fantastic writer.

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville

Boston, the Red Sox and a larger-than-life baseball figure: The perfect combination for Montville, who could write about ants crawling across the Fenway Park concourse and make it an interesting, insightful and humorous study.

What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?: A Remembrance by Richard Ben Cramer

Cramer took an essay he wrote for Esquire magazine in 1986 and expanded it, and we're all the richer for it. Cramer's use of capital letters, of all things, is outstanding. It captures Williams' booming baritone perfectly -- well, as perfectly as you can in writing. The words leap off of the page, straight into your face. Pick it up as a bookend to Cramer's DiMaggio biography, which Mr. Dobrow included.

Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy by Jane Leavy

A riveting look at one of the true icons of our time, Leavy does a superb job of weaving Koufax's life story through, around and between a wonderfully detailed account of his 1965 perfect game. The perfecto serves as the backbone of the story, and Leavy covers in rich detail the parallel path of that and Koufax's life.

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss

It continues to amaze me how underrated Roberto Clemente remains. Probably in part, no doubt, because he could be cranky with writers (never a good career move for later in life, but that's another story). But Clemente was a poet on the baseball field and a saint in the way he visited children in hospitals, usually without publicity. He dreamed of building a sports city for the children of his native (and beloved) Puerto Rico -- a dream finally fulfilled after his death. Maraniss does a remarkable job capturing a very complex man.




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com