Category Archives: Featured

A REVISED 2021 VISION FOR NEW BASEBALL BOOK REVIEWS: AFTER FURTHER REVIEW, WE BELIEVE IN EXPANSION

By Tom Hoffarth

See ya, 2020. Wouldn’t want to be ya.

Our annual process of trying to review 30 newly published baseball-related books during the 30 days of April was forever altered by last season. We launched early, stayed later, and ended up with more than 60 reviews from March through the odd-looking playoffs, just to keep focused on something other than tragedy and frustration. We were never numb to the mounting death toll that was occurring, and often, burying ourselves in a book about baseball, while the MLB was sluggishly trying to pull off a season, seemed unreasonable. We didn’t need the distraction.

That 2020 baseball review list remains up, and, looking back, it holds up as one of the most impressive collection of titles that we’ve come across in the almost 15 years of doing this. We expect many will have a long shelf life and honors will continue to merit the content covered, the riveting research and the poetic prose that accompanied much of it.

The 2021 season is a tough one to ramp back up. We have other priorities, more commitments and a passion for other things. But we keep trying to chip away, to honor the authors that dedicated their time and effort and talents into these projects, some of which don’t often get on the radar of those who could enjoy it most.

As the reviews this spring continue to pile up on our website fartheroffthewall.com, newest ones at the top, we update the project here as well for easier reference:

*The prelude (Feb. 26): From the 2021 Bill James Handbook, we sought context. He wrote: “It seemed to me that a lot my fellow sportswriters were just absurdly negative about the season. … I felt that a lot of writers were rooting for baseball’s effort to stage a baseball season to fail. In the end, every game except two was played—two of the revised, 60-game effort. Good for the commissioner, and good for the players, for making it work despite the nattering nabobs of negativism. And I enjoyed the show.”

*Day 1 (March 2): “Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke: The First Openly Gay MLB Player and Inventor of the High Five,” by Andrew Maraniss

*Day 2 (March 5): “The Ultimate Los Angeles Dodgers Trivia Book: A Collection of Amazing Trivia Questions and Fun Facts for Die-Hard Dodgers Fans!” by Ray Walker

*Day 3 (March 7): “The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell: Speed, Grace and the Negros Leagues,” by Lonnie Wheeler

*Day 4 (March 9): “Walter Alston: The Rise of a Manager from the Minors to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” by Alan H. Levy

*Day 5 (March 15): “The Best Team Over There: The Untold Story of Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Great War,” by Jim Leeke

*Day 6 (March 19): “The Pioneers of Japanese American Baseball,” by Rob Fitts (plus: “Making Japan’s National Game,” by Blair Williams)

*Day 7 (March 23): “Lights, Camera, Fastball: How the Hollywood Stars Changed Baseball,” by Dan Taylor

*Day 8 (March 29): “Clubbie: A Minor League Baseball Memoir,” by Greg Larson

*Day 9 (April 1): “A Season With Mom: Love, Loss and the Ultimate Baseball Adventure,” by Katie Russell Newland

*Day 10 (April 3): “Turn Your Season Around: How God Transforms Your Life,” by Darryl Strawberry

*Day 11 (April 6): “The Spaceman Chronicles: The Life of the Earthling Named Bill Lee,” by Scott Russell

*Day 12 (April 7): “The Only Way is the Steady Way: Essays on Baseball, Ichiro and How We Watch the Game,” by Andrew Forbes

*Day 13 (April 9): “So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of The New York Mets — The Best Worst Team in Sports,” by Devin Gordon (also: “Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life,” by Bill Madden)

*Day 14 (April 13): “Cobra: A Life of Baseball and Brotherhood,” by Dave Parker with Dave Jordan

*Day 15 (April 15): “42 Today: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy,” edited by Michael G. Long, and “Jackie: Perspectives on 42,” edited by Bill Nowlin and Glen Sparks with Len Levin and Carl Reichers

*Day 16 (April 16): “The Comeback Season: My Unlikely Story of Friendship with the Greatest Living Negro League Baseball Players,” by Cam Perron with Nick Chiles (forward by Hank Aaron)

*Day 17 (April 19): “Two Sides of Glory: The 1986 Boston Red Sox in Their Own Words,” by Erik Sherman

*Day 18 (April 21): “The Best Little Baseball Town in the World: The Crowley Millers and Minor League Baseball in the 1950s,” by Gaylon White

*Day 19 (April 22): “The Short Life of Hughie McLoon: A True Story of Baseball, Magic and Murder,” by Allen Abel

*Day 20 (April 27): “The Great Bambino: Babe Ruth’s Life in Pictures,” by Sam Chase (plus: “The Captain and Me: On and Off the Field with Thurman Munson,” by Ron Bloomberg and “Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer,” by Lawrence Baldassaro)

*Day 21 (April 30): “Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series that Changed Baseball,” by Luke Epplin (plus: “Beyond Baseball’s Color Barrier: The Story of African Americans in Major League Baseball Past, Present and Future” by Rocco Constantino)

*Day 22 (May 4): “Baseball’s Who’s Who of What Ifs: Players Derailed En Route to Cooperstown,” by Bill Deane

*Day 23 (May 8): “Double Plays and Double Crosses: The Black Sox and Baseball in 1920,” by Don Zminda

*Day 24 (May 12): “1962: Baseball and America in the Time of JFK,” by David Krell

*Day 25 (May 14): “Comeback Pitchers: The Remarkable Careers of Howard Ehmke & Jack Quinn” by Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg, and “One Line Drive: A Life-Threatening Injury and a Faith-Fueled Comeback” by Daniel Ponce de Leon with Tom Zenner

*Day 26 (May 21): “Forty Years A Giant: The Life of Horace Stoneham,” by Steven Treder and “The Giants and their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco: 1976-1992,” by Lincoln A. Mitchell

*Day 27 (May 26): “#NeverGiveUp: A Memoir of Baseball
& Traumatic Brain Injury,” by Ruppert Jones with Ryan Dempsey

*Day 28 (June 13): “Cheated: The Inside Story of the Astros Scandal
and a Colorful History of Sign Stealing,” by Andrew Martino

*Day 29 (June 15): “Escape from Castro’s Cuba,” by Tim Wendel; “Big League Life” by Chip Scarinzi; “This Never Happened: The Mystery Behind the Death of Christy Mathewson,” by J.B. Manheim

TOMMY LASORDA: AN APPRECIATION OF HIS CATHOLIC FOUNDATON, THE MESSAGES HE TOOK FROM IT, AND HOW HE PREACHED IT

By Tom Hoffarth

In his 1985 autobiography, “The Artful Dodger,” Tommy Lasorda had a confession to make about when he was growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

“Every Sunday morning when we went to church, my father would give me two pennies to put in the collection basket,” said the Dodgers Hall of Fame manager.

At a spring training in Glendale, Ariz., we caught up with Tommy Lasorda in 2009 and couldn’t resist the photo op.

“Two pennies.

“On a number of occasions, I figured I would split it even-up with the Lord. So when Father Pasto, our parish priest, held the basket in front of me, I’d drop one penny in and palm the other one. And then Father Pasto would hit me on the head with the basket and I’d drop the other penny in.”

Our own two cents: The passing of Lasorda at the age of 93 on Jan. 7 gave us cause to pause. All the times we were in his circle of discussions, probably laughed at his profane jokes, cringed at some of other things he said, smiled when he talked about the latest fundraiser he’d be the guest speaker.

One of the most often used Catholic-related messages Lasorda passed on in his talks to church groups came from his immigrant father, Sabatino, who left Italy to work in the U.S. in 1920, driving a truck for a quarry for Bethlehem Steel.

In his 2015 book, “My Way,” Colin Gunderson, who became Lasorda’s personal assistant with the team for many years, relayed something about when Lasorda was about to leave home and attend his first spring training as a player. He said his father hugged him and said: “Remember: Just because God delays does not mean that God denies.”

So for all of Lasorda’s bombastic personality, heralding the existence of “The Big Dodger in the Sky,” what did his religious upbringing do to shape him? We explored that in the newest edition of Angelus News, the Los Angeles Catholic news organization.

Tommy Lasorda holds court on June 24, 2013. (Andy Holzman/LA Daily News)

More to read:

== In 2013, we sat with Lasorda for a lunch-tuned-dinner Q&A at Dodger Stadium. What brought us there was somewhat non-transparent: We had seen him at a recent Old Timers’ Day and really were concerned about his health. He was, after all, 84 at the time, had some heart issues …
We needed fresh material.
The highlights are here.

== An hour long presentation where Lasorda spoke about sports and spirituality at the USC Caruso Catholic Center in March 2014:


== Among the things you’ll find on Twitter is this Vin Scully narrated piece:

New baseball reads for 2020: A safe place to find book recommendations — 50 and counting

bca420371def8d13bff3052aee412a74By Tom Hoffarth

(Updated 10.9.20)

When will there be good news?

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

Last spring, our 2020 baseball book review series — 30 baseball book reviews posted during the 30 days of April — went sideways, as did most of life. We decided that we would be 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)

IMG_0278

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

911c8hBWIWL
*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:

9781419740374_s3*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

*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

81LBEOl7yaL*Day 37 (June 5): “A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Analytics: Why WAR, WHIP, wOBA, and Other Advanced Sabermetrics Are Essential to Understanding Modern Baseball” by Anthony Castrovince

*Day 38 (June 13): “Cleveland Rocked: The Personalities, Sluggers and Magic of the 1995 Indians,” by Zack Meisel

*Day 39 (June 14): “The New Baseball Bible: Notes, Nuggets, Lists and Legends From Our National Pastime,” updated, by Dan Schlossberg

*Day 40 (June 15): “Baseball Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Baseball,” updated, by Matthew Silverman

IMG_1006*Day 41 (June 20): “Ancient Baseball” by Mikhail Horowitz

*Day 42 (June 22): “Hidden Ball Trick: The Baseball Stats You Never Thought To Look For: Vol 1: 1876-1919 and Vol 2: 1920-1969, by Jeremy Frank and Jim Passon Jr.

*Day 43 (June 23): “I Should Have Quit This Morning: Adventures in Minor League Baseball,” by Kathy Diekroeger

51zTYMhUa0L*Day 44 (June 26): “The Hall Ball: One Fan’s Journey to Unite Cooperstown Immortals with a Single Baseball,” by Ralph Carhart

*Day 45 (July 6): “Tom Seaver and Me,” by Pat Jordan

*Day 46 (July 7): “Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope And Finding a World Championship Team,” by Tim Madigan

*Day 47 (July 9): “Dodgers vs. Yankees: The Long-Standing Rivalry Between Two of Baseball’s Greatest Teams” by Michael Schiavone

*Day 48 (July 14): “Working a ‘Perfect Game’:  Conversations with Umpires” by Bill Nowlin

*Day 49 (July 15): “Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played into Bankruptcy in One Year,” by Rick Allen

9781629377636*Day 50 (July 16): “The Milwaukee Brewers at 50: Celebrating a Half-Century of Brewers Baseball,” by Adam McCalvy; 
And …
51v5XNSmudL“Turning 50: The Brewers Celebrate a Half-Century in Milwaukee,” by Tom Haudricourt

* Day 51 (July 25): “Baseball in St. Louis: From Little Leagues to Major Leagues,” by Ed Whertley

* Day 52 (July 28): “Queen of the Negro Leagues; Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles,” by James Overmyer

* Day 53 (July 31): “Goodnight Em,” by Johnny Doskow

* Day 54 (Aug. 3): “Mutt’s Dream: Making The Mick,” by Howard Burman

* Day 55 (Aug. 5): “Mr. Met: How a Sports-Mad Kid from Jersey Became Like Family to Generations of Big Leaguers,” by Jay Horwitz

* Day 56 (Sept. 1): “SABR 50 at 50: The Society for American Baseball Research’s Fifth Most Essential Contributions to the Game,” edited by Bill Nowlin

* Day 57 (Sept. 2): “Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection,” by Thomas and Ellen Zappala, with John Molori and Joe Orlando 

* Day 58 (Sept. 21): “A Year of Playing Catch: What A Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me About Life,” by Ethan D. Bryan.

* Day 59 (Sept. 25): “How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed” by Thomas W. Gilbert

* Day 60 (Oct. 9): “Dalko: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Fastest Pitcher,” by Bill Dembski, Alex Thomas and Brian Vinander

The Norman Chad column that the Washington Post didn’t run, and why Clay Travis can’t outkick the truth that you “never sling mud against people who roll in it”

By Tom Hoffarth
We have what shouldn’t be considered an abnormal admiration for Norman Chad.
His arrow-piercing accuracy in writing about sports and the media over the years for the Washington Post (he started there in the mid-’70s) continued on a short-lived run at The  National, some other time at Sports Illustrated. He wrote a book.
It wasn’t until his side gig on ESPN poker telecasts regulated his “Couch Slouch” writing to whomever he could collect in a loose network of newspapers able to afford his far-below-wholesale compensation price, just to give him ink on a Monday and let him exercise his freedom of speech. We tried to get our local employers to run it at the nomal fee he was asking. Somehow, we couldn’t break the plane of that goalline.
(This is all in addition to the fact we became neighbors in the late ’90s for awhile in the Melrose area of L.A., between Fairfax and La Brea, a short walk to Pink’s Hot Dog Stand or the Formosa Cafe. The highlight was also having Michael Buffer living in our eight-unit building on Fuller Avenue. He was quiet. His wife was nice. We came to her rescue once during a power outage and he was out of town. We rarely saw him taking his tux to the cleaners as one might expect).

In cranking out sports-based columns during the sports-starved COVID-19 Era of our existence, Chad had already found some well-found foils when he did a March 10 column about trolls who came after him for having the audacity to write: “Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy is a disease for which there is no cure.”
Barstool responded in how you’d expect Barstool to respond. Apparently they haven’t read the Wikipedia page created about him which pretty plainly explains how he operates based on his history.
Then came a column two months later, on May 10 about why we might be better off with fewer sports to digest during this serious times.  The Washington Post and others ran it in print on May 11.

Some more heck broke loose.

That column caused an uproad,” Chad emailed us in reply to us letting him know that one Internet aggregator said he was being “eviscerated” on social media for what he wrote. “It was a B- piece on my part, and I guess I’m glad those folks have never run my other stuff.”
Some figured it out. Too many didn’t. Smart folks came to his aid.

The only thing better than a Chad mis-trending piece was how he’d respond to it.
May 18 came, and we saw nothing. Same on May 25.
We reached out to Chad again on email. He explained that the Washington Post decided to kill his latest piece. Why?
“I can’t really answer that,” he wrote back. “The Post, like all my outlets, has the option to run or not run my column each week. The Post apparently felt the column was not up to its standards.
Chad-columns“Anyway, largely because of the newspaper industry cratering, the column only runs in seven outlets – down from a high of 18 several years back: The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, Spokane Spokesman Review, Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise, Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette  Mail and houston.sportsmap.com (a Houston-centric sports site). All outlets other than The Post ran it.”

With Chad’s permission, here is that May 18 column that was not widely circulated, but perhaps it will gain some traction (and we will send him a check for $1.25 for giving us permission to re-run this: Read more

The L.A. Business Journal side of thing: When you get 45 minutes with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and he owns up to a whole bunch of things

IMG_0061The assignment from the Los Angeles Business Journal was to come up with a Q&A that would celebrate his being named the magazine’s “Business Person of the Year” for 2020.
The emphasis would not just be on how he brought the NFL team back to its Los Angeles home, but how he did so by promising to create a $5 billion superstadium in Inglewood.

Research on Kroenke isn’t all that robust. He’s known as “Silent Stan” for a reason.

But Stan is definitely a man with a plan.

So figuring out what books he might be interested in — and pass along — and pushing that toward a series of questions about where he developed his interest in buying pro sports teams, how he modeled some of that after watching Jerry Buss buy L.A. property, buy teams and arenas, then have his children operate it, and why the current SoFi Stadium might some day accommodate flying cars — you read it here first.

Under the headline “Eyes on the Ball,” here’s our six-page spread, with a bio box and a look at his favorite books.

We also jumped on with Rich Hammond at The Athletic L.A. “11 Personnel”  to talk more about surprises that came up in the conversation that Rams’ fans may have not heard before.

stan-kroenke

From January, 2016, from Sports Illustrated, the latest Q&A we could find with any sort of substance on what made Stan Kroenke “the most powerful man in sports.” https://www.si.com/nfl/2016/01/18/stan-kroenke-owner-los-angeles-rams

Remembering Hank Gathers: A statue at LMU 30 years later, and the force of nature returns … along with the tears

It was just a moment. It came after the blousy material dropped to reveal a statue of basketball legend Hank Gathers, located just outside of Loyola Marymount’s Gersten Pavilion Feb. 29. It came after the faintest beat of a gasp was immediately followed by applause and cheers, broad smiles and — this being 2020 — selfies.

Still, there was a moment when, Chris Knight said, amid the laughter and hugs he shared with former teammates who played with Gathers, that he suddenly, in a fleeting space of silence, “could hear Hank’s mother crying above it all.”

For Angelus News, Steve Lowery walks us through the moment when the Gathers statue was unveiled 30 years after his death on the court, right before Easter, and the incredible run the Lions went on with the NCAA Tournament in his honor.

This is a tearjerker and breaks your heart all over again.

 

The side of Kobe Bryant you may not know about

EP8onAVU8AA_4ojTom Hoffarth and Steve Lowery worked hours together last week, with editor Pablo Kay in Rome, not long after reports about a helicopter crash in Calabasas, to produce this cover story for the Feb. 7 edition of Angelus News.

Bryant took his Catholic faith serious. He was at his home parish, Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach hours before he left from John Wayne Airport in the final trip to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks.

Where did his faith come from? Did it help him come to terms with his rape trial in Colorado? Did it help him reconcile his marriage?

In 2001, Bryant married his wife, Vanessa, herself a Catholic, at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point. Father Sallot at OLQA said that he and Kobe had chatted about his desire to receive the sacrament of confirmation in the future.

We try not to judge, but report the facts.

RIP, Kobe, Gianna and all their friends, parents, coaches and families.

 

The vodcast: Pearlman, Dufresne, Vanderpool, the USFL … preposterous fun, ready on two …

What if we told you there was a pro football league that existed more than 30 years ago, contrived as a complimentary spring exercise to the NFL’s fall season, but then one owner in particular based in New York couldn’t help himself, drove it off the cliff at the expense of his supposed business partners, and later would be doing the same things in the White House.
Egads.
We could also tell you this particular story was already an ESPN original “30 For 30” doc  called “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL.”
51cgUKUBGuLNevertheless, we booked Jeff Pearlman on  TheDrillLA.com vodcast based on his book: “Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL.”
Crazy, sure. It’s been
 discussed on shows as diverse as NPR to ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”.  From NESN to the Peter King podcast ...
From FS1’s Colin Cowherd to DirecTV Audience Network show host Rick Eisen. Plus, it has been featured in Forbes and The Christian Science Monitor, and The Associated Press Sports podcast.
We have a different spin.
A true spiral.
One inspired by a left-handed Mormon who made the Los Angeles Express something we still look fondly back on.
The Southern California-based Pearlman, the former Sports Illustrated writer now working for The Athletic who did the incredible Lakers’ book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s in 2014, carves out some time here to spend with us.
More context: Chris Dufresne of TMG Media Sports.com, which focuses on college football coverage, was the Los Angeles Times beat writer for the L.A. Express starting with their 1982 birth up until the final courtroom drama that ended with a jury agreeing that the NFL did in fact monopolize pro football, but the USFL was owed just one dollar in damages.
Add to this: Tom Hoffarth covered the Express for several years as well for the South Bay Daily Breeze.
And … Steve Lowery and Steve Vanderpool were part of the Express public relations team and knew all the ins and outs of what went on in the offices.
They got the band back together.
Here is an hour of discussion that Pearlman said in a parting Twitter DM that “was preposterously fun” to do … hope he has the same feeling after watching it here (and where in the world is Bob Rose these days?):

In 2013, Pearlman prepped us by writing this for Sports Illustrated.
And here’s more on Pearlman’s website linked here.
And an excerpt here on Bleacher Report.

THE VODCAST: PETROS PAPADAKIS PACKS A PUNCH IN THE PROCESS

With no introduction needed — aside from that he’s the co-host of KLAC’s “Petros & Money Show,” a college football analyst at Fox Sports, and the former captain of the worst team in USC football history (before this season) — Petros Papadakis (@Theoldp) found an hour to squeeze in with us between yoga, a hair cut, prepping for UCLA-Fresno State and taking his son Fletcher to Lowe’s to look at the latest washing machines. We are grateful.
For this one, Steve Lowery (@stevelowery12), Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) and producer Jon McKelvey (@McKLVTheJon) try to keep up as we ask about: The soft L.A. sports media, his favorite curse word, what profession he’d be doing if not for this, his favorite literary figures, dealing with people who view him as too hard/too soft on USC, and why he feels it’s important to keep the art of dialogue alive (and doing so on the Clay Travis Show).
It was worth the wait to have him come by the Carson studio:

MEASURING UP: THE TRICKY BUSINESS OF HEIGHTS AND WEIGHT

By Steve Lowery

They say that numbers don’t lie. Then again, Mark Twain, who is way smarter then They, said there are “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”
As this terrific piece by David Fleming for ESPN The Magazine makes clear, even those numbers we take as gospel — Kevin Durant is 7-feet tall, for instance — are actually completely open to interruption and general fudging. Read more