Monthly Archives: April 2020

New baseball reads for 2020: A safe place to find book recommendations

bca420371def8d13bff3052aee412a74By Tom Hoffarth

When will there be good news?

(We’re just looking at the title of the book that “Master of Horror” Stephen King is reading while attending a game at Fenway Park. … From a guy who wrote “Misery”)

Our 2020 spring baseball book review series — 30 baseball book reviews posted during the 30 days of April — has taken a new turn.  We are springing forward. 

We’d like to alleviate some pandemic misery.

As the reviews continue on fartheroffthewall.com we also update the complete list here.

*Day 1 (March 17): “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball,” by Bill Ripken

xe4uGf6Q*Day 2 (March 19): “The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” by Anika Orrock

*Day 3 (March 20):  “The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Having Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime,” by Paul Dickson

*Day 4 (March 23): “Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series,” by Jesse Dougherty

STEALING HOME2*Day 5 (March 24): “Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between,” by Eric Nusbaum

*Day 6 (March 25): “The Cactus League,” by Emily Nemens

*Day 7 (March 26): “The Baseball Book of Why: The Answers to Questions You’ve Always Wondered About from America’s National Pastime,” by the late John C. McCollister

*Day 8 (March 31): “Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution,” by Jared Diamond

91bQ7s2k28L*Day 9 (April 1): “The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife,” by Brad Balukjian

*Day 10 (April 2): “The Cup of Coffee Club: 11 Players and their Brush with Baseball History,” by Jacob Kornhauser

*Day 11 (April 3): “Sixty-One in ’61: Roger Maris Home Runs Game by Game,” by Robert M. Gorman

*Day 12 (April 6): “Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask,” by Jon Pessah

9781629377964*Day 13 (April 7): “S Is For Slugger: The Ultimate Baseball Alphabet,” by James Littlejohn, illustrated by Matthew Shipley

*Day 14 (April 8): “The Babe,” by SABR, edited by Bill Nowlin and Glen Sparks

*Day 15 (April 9): “Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir,” extracted and edited by Alan D. Gaff

*Day 16 (April 12): “Hall of Name: Baseball’s Most Magnificent Monikers from ‘The Only Nolan’ to ‘Van Lingle Mungo’ and More,” by DB Firstman

**Posted on April 13: Our piece for the Sports Business Journal about how the Pandemic Baseball Book Club of authors have bonded to promote their own new publications during this 2020 lock down. (subscription required … and encouraged)

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61f3UEAkZnL*Day 17 (April 14): Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Player” by Jeremy Beer

*Day 18 (April 15): “The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson: The Baseball Legend’s Battle For Civil Rights during World War II” by Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning

*Day 19 (April 17): “Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstar” by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel

*Day 20 (April 19):  “Billy Ball: Billy Martin and the
Resurrection of the Oakland A’s” by Dale Tafoya

81TgstpiOzL*Day 21 (April 21):  “The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves” by Keith Law, which takes the lead from Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 New York Times’ best-selling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

*Day 22 (April 22): “Ballparks Then and Now” by Eric Enders; “Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of all Major League & Negro League Ballparks” by Philip J. Lowery for SABR.

*Day 23 (April 23): “The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated: An Irreverent Look at the Rules of Baseball and how they Came to be What They Are Today” by David Nemec

819Jk6f27YL*Day 24 (April 24): “24: Life Stories and Lessons from The Say Hey Kid,” by Willie Mays and John Shea

*Day 25 (April 25): “Wits, Flakes, and Clowns:
The Colorful Characters of Baseball” by Wayne Stewart

*Day 26 (April 26): “The Resisters,” a novel by Gish Jen

*Day 27 (April 27): “Summer Baseball Nation: Nine Days in the Wood Bat League” by Will Geoghegan (and Summer9Nation)

*Day 28 (April 28): “Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry,” by Joan Ryan

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*Day 29 (April 29):
“One Tough Out: Fighting Off Life’s Curveballs,” by Rod Carew, with Jaime Aron

*Day 30 (April 30): “Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original,” by Mitchell Nathanson

Bonus panels:

*Day 31 (May 4): “Issei Baseball: The Story of the
First Japanese American Ballplayers” by Robert K. Fitts

*Day 32 (May 5): “Buddha Takes the Mound:
Enlightenment in 9 innings” by Donald S. Lopez Jr., Ph.D.

*Day 33 (May 11):  “The Final Game at Ebbets Field” by Noel Hynd
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*Day 34 (May 18): “A High Five for Glenn Burke,” a middle-school age novel by Phil Bildner

*Day 35 (May 19): “Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay,” by Todd Zolecki

*Day 36 (May 28): “Big Sexy: Bartolo Colon In His Own Words” by Bartolo Colon and Michael Stahl

Let’s (L.B.) Post up: When Jerry Tarkanian took Long Beach State to its first Big Dance 50 years ago, the rebel life took hold

By Tom Hoffarth

There is so much to love about this main photo of Jerry Tarkanian with his arm around his son, Danny, as they celebrate an NCAA tournament victory over Weber State in Utah during the first round of the 1971 West Regionals. Just look at the sweatshirt the 9-year-old Tarkanian is wearing as the team’s ballboy.

Tarkanian-Danny-w-Dad.-Ran-SI-in-1984.credit.Don-Grayston.Deseret-NewsA year earlier, Tark took this 49ers program that just entered the Division I territory and won the PCAA, then started a series of head-to-head run-ins with UCLA in the tournament that defined them as more than just a program-on-a-shoestring. They had mined the Southern California landscape for community college talent, and more.

61cPS4-o-ELAnd, thanks to a new book out by Danny Tarkanian called “Rebel With A Cause,” we find out much more about the Hall of Fame coach’s Long Beach experience — four straight NCAA appearances before he went to UNLV — and the admission that he wonders what he could have done had he stayed in Southern California.
Our latest for the Long Beach Post celebrates the 50th anniversary of Tark’s first 49ers tournament team in 1970, and the legacy that continued. Please enjoy…

Obit Tarkanian Basketball

In this Nov. 26, 2005, file photo, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian waves to the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian, who built a basketball dynasty at UNLV but was defined more by his decades-long battle with the NCAA, died Wednesday in Las Vegas after several years of health issues. He was 84.

CTRL+ALT+DEL: A capitalistic re-direct with the Dodgers-AT&T-DirecTV PR “news flash” … details not on SportsNet LA

By Tom Hoffarth

The story was big enough to be on the front-page of Thursday’s Los Angeles Times print edition: “Dodgers’ channel finally plays ball: TV standoff ends and games to be available in almost all of L.A.”

In a tight, one-column piece of real estate allotted to this business announcement that somehow wedged its way into everything far more life-and-death in today’s world, maybe the headline was restricted in what it could actually convey. Regardless, it rang hollow.

The online story could couch it a different way: “After six years, the Dodgers’ channel will be available in L.A. What happened?

91333642_512922749651069_6497779441197098395_nTruth is, nothing substantial has happened.

Other than DirecTV viewers now find Dodgers’ classic reruns on the team-owned SportsNet L.A., arriving on Channel 690 for the time being. Whatever else is streaming on the AT&T  platforms is another element if you’re looking for silver linings.

Without games going on, what’s to celebrate?

More importantly, and to be accurate, is that SportsNet L.A. launched just prior to spring training for the 2014 Major League Baseball season, has been “available” for the last four-plus years throughout Los Angeles — since Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable in May, 2015 and the combined territory covered about 90 percent of the Dodgers’ TV region.

A good many just choose not to drop one system and pick up another to get it. Many of them were DirecTV customers.

Based on years of following and reporting on this back to when the red flags came up when it announced in 2014, and with our current contacts in the business, here’s what we can conclude about all this: Read more