Tag Archive | "Reviews"

Movie Review – No No: A Dockumentary


Originally published on BaseballdeWorld.com

There was a lot of talk around the baseball world a little over a year ago when  documentary premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. No No: A Dockumentary was the film in question and was just recently added to Netflix.

Before hearing of the film I knew just a little about Dock Ellis. I knew he was a very good pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in their heyday of the early 1970s. I had also heard all of the stories of drug use. He has said many times, including in the film, that he never pitched without being under the influence of some drug.

When I first heard of the film I thought it was all about the game in San Diego in 1970 when he reportedly pitched a no-hitter under the influence of LSD. However, it was more than just this incident and in fact a documentary on Ellis’ life.

The story about the no-hitter was an interesting one and something that I can’t even imagine taking place in today’s game, or anytime for that matter. But what made the film great was the insight into his life during and after his playing career.

Before watching the film I looked up Ellis’ stats. I thought going into watching it that he was maybe close to a 200 game winner and had a solid career. That really wasn’t the case. He was good, but mostly for a short time. Perhaps it was the drug use that shortened the effectiveness of his career.

He did have a nice career. He pitched over 12 years in the big leagues, pitching for five different teams. Most of his success came early on with Pittsburgh, but he did have good years later in his career both with the New York Yankees and even a decent year with the Texas Rangers.

But the biggest thing I found from the documentary, and what was the most touching, was the work he did after his playing days were over. There is a good bit on that as well as he eventually got clean and began working with others that were in need of help. He had a lot of experiences to share and became quite a councilor from the sound of it.

Over all it was a great documentary and I really enjoyed it. It is one that will be added to my collection, and I highly recommend it to any baseball fan. It also reminded me that I wanted to read the book The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven by Aaron Skirboll. Of course that is a story for another day and one that I hope to bring soon.

In the meantime, if you have Netflix watch No No: A Dockumentary. It is just under two hours and it is really good. You can also rent it on Amazon streaming.

Here is the trailer from www.NoNoADockumentary.com:

Posted in Movies, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood by Kevin Kaduk


Wrigleyville is the well known area surrounding the ever popular summer spot of Wrigley Field. There are restaurants and bars and plenty of baseball fans to be found on a summer afternoon. Many baseball fans have wondered what it would be like living in the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field for a summer of baseball and fun. One such fan did so. And he wrote a book about it.

Kevin Kaduk’s Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood is the story of Kevin’s summer in Chicago. The former Kansas City Star sportswriter, and current editor of Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog, gives us a peak into life in Wrigleyville.

I admit I was quite excited when I first saw the book for sale. Although it came out in 2006, I did not find it until about a year ago. Recently I finally got the chance to pick it up from a used book store and give it a read. Sadly, I have to admit it was a letdown.

Kevin starts off telling us about how the idea came about. He was off writing about  high school sports in Kansas City, which he freely admits not likely very much although he liked who he worked with and for. I found it a bit annoying to listen to his complaining of a good job in a good city. I can fully understand the longing to be somewhere else though. He decided to take action.

Leaving Kansas City he took up residence a few blocks from Wrigley Field and set about writing about his encounters.

Some of the things I enjoyed reading about. Getting a glimpse about what it was like to deal with scalpers day in and day out was interesting. I’ve always found scalpers to be interesting people.

He also had run ins with the ballhawks out on Wavelyn and Sheffield. The ballhawks are the guys who wait for homeruns to leave Wrigley Field in order to collect a souvenir. I always thought it would be interesting to take in a game with the ballhawks. He was there the same season when there was a movie being made about them as well, Ballhawks.

However, what stood out to me the most about the book was it was more of a barhopping, girl chasing, conquest seeking journal. I was interested in learning about the establishments that surround Wrigley, and Kevin does a good job providing information on them, including some interesting backgrounds. That aside, there was a bit too much about drinking and chasing women.

If he was going to talk about the drinking, I would have rather heard some interesting stories from the bleachers. He includes a little of this, but not enough for my liking to be honest.

One thing I felt that was lacking, but I understand why, was the lack of information and stories about the rooftops overlooking Wrigley Field. He does try a few times to get onto the roofs, but in the end there is little information other than how hard or expensive it can be.

Overall it is a decent book. If you are a diehard Cubs fan, I would say go get it and give it a quick read. It isn’t that long and it’s an easy read. However, do not think that this is the book to read to gain valuable insights and secrets into the fabled Wrigleyville.

Posted in Books, MLB, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Slouching Toward Fargo


On the cover it claims it is “A Two-Year Saga of Sinners and St. Paul Saints at the Bottom of the Bush Leagues with Bill Murray, Darryl Strawberry, Dakota Sadie and Me”. The book is Slouching Toward Fargo by Neal Karlen, and I enjoyed every bit of the book except the “Me” part.

The book is about the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League mostly during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The team, and league, were still in its infancy and full of interesting people on and off the field.

How the book started it seems was that writer Neal Karlen was sent by Rolling Stone to do a piece on Bill Murray who was part owner in the club. He was there to do a hatchet job on Murray and as fate would have it on Darryl Strawberry as well.

Over the course of the first year Karlen has some interesting run ins with Murray, Strawberry, as well as others. These stories are entertaining, but I got a little tired of hearing how Karlen was there to do the hatchet job.

The characters of St. Paul were amazing. You have the great Bill Murray who in my book is one of the funniest men of all time. You have Darryl Strawberry who is there trying to make his way back to the Major Leagues by showing that he is now a good guy. Then you have Mike Veeck the president and co-owner of the Saints who had been blackballed from Major League Baseball for things that happened years ago. Not to mention there is an outfielder with no legs, a pig that delivered baseballs, a blind announcer, the first woman player and a nun who gives massages at games.

It’s a cast of characters that would make any story interesting, and Karlen does a good job of writing about this. But what I didn’t like is how Karlen kept inserting himself in the story. As a reader I want to read about the Saints, not how the writer was burned out and didn’t love baseball anymore.

With that being said, the book is still very good. The people of this town and team make this book. Everywhere you turn there seems to be someone just as interesting as the last. You get a taste of what life is like in the lowest of the low minor leagues where people are working and playing for the love of the game.

Mike Veeck’s “Fun is Good” motto really shows through in the writing and you can imagine the fun that people had at the games. And even though the book was written about a time that is now more than 15 years ago, it’s still a great read.

The ballplayers, former MLB guys and career minor leaguers alike, are interesting, funny, and you even finding yourself rooting for some of them even though all this happened nearly two decades ago. There are just a lot of likable people that you will be looking up on Google and Baseball Reference to see how they performed after the time of the book.

So get past the part of the writer inserting himself a little too much into the story, in my opinion, and give this a read because it’s definitely worth it. It’s been out for some time so you should be able to find a cheap used paperback copy somewhere.

I give this book a rating of 3.5 gloves.

vintage-baseball-glove_HALF

Posted in Books, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Out of My League by Dirk Hayhurst


Originally posted on BaseballdeWorld.com

Former MLB pitcher Dirk Hayhurst made a splash in the book industry with his first best seller The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran which talked about life in the minor leagues. Now he is back with his second best seller, Out of My League.

Out of My League is about Dirk’s ascension to the big leagues. The book takes you through the twists, turns, and turmoil of a minor league pitcher trying to make his way into Major League Baseball.

Hayhurst may not be a future hall of famer, but he definitely delivers with this book. Dirk’s humor shows through right away from the first few pages where he had me laughing right away. He takes you through an off-season of a low-paid minor league pitcher who not only has to work out and stay sharp but also has to find an off-season job to keep himself afloat.

From the hi-jinx dealing with his grandmother, to finding a car that he can afford that will run long enough to get him back to baseball, to some spring training humor this is a great book.

However, this book is about more than just baseball. It’s one man’s journey on and off the field in the pursuit of his lifelong dream of pitching in the major leagues. During the time before making it to the big leagues, Dirk meets his wife. He tells of this courtship which adds to story as he is trying to keep the chase alive but at the same time making someone apart of his life.

Through his new wife and the struggles he has with making her apart of his life, we see another side of the game that is overlooked all too often. Dirk struggles with planning a wedding and trying to make the jump from AAA to the big leagues. It’s an interesting and emotional ride.

Dirk shows us a different side of the Major Leagues. It’s not an inside look at the underbelly of the league or an expose on the things that go on into the clubhouse, but a look at rookie struggles. We forget sometimes that there is a pecking order that needs to be followed in the game, and Dirk does a good job of showing us just how difficult falling in line can be.

Most people see making the big leagues as the ultimate prize with nothing but gold paved streets. Sure there are five star hotels, and Dirk gives us a brief look at that, but his journey is more than that. It’s more on the mental side of things for a struggling rookie just trying to stay afloat. Making the big leagues is one thing, but staying there is a completely different deal and this is what Dirk shows us.

He gives us an inside look at rookie hazing, relationships with managers and players for a rookie, but he delves deep into the self-doubt and paranoia a rookie can experience while at the same time realizing his dream. It’s a mental struggle that many can’t handle, and Hayhurst shows us why. He shows us the cold side of baseball where if you don’t produce they don’t have sympathy for you. We are shown how a few words from the right person can tear you apart mentally and put enough doubt in you that can be hard to overcome.

But as quick as you are torn down, someone can see something in you that picks you right back up. It’s a rough business and the ups and downs can be brutal on a person’s pysche.

Through it all you find yourself rooting for Dirk to do well, even if you know how things turned out. The self-doubt and loathing that he goes through puts a new spin on life in baseball and makes for an interesting read.

If you read The Bullpen Gospels, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. If you haven’t read The Bullpen Gospels, what are you waiting for. Go pick up both books. They are both great reads. Out of My League is a great insight to the struggles and mental side of the game that is rarely seen. Pick it up today.

Next I’ll be reviewing Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novelby David B. Stinson, so stay tuned for that in the coming days.

Follow Baseball de World on Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to join our Newsletter.

 

*Included in the review are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase a product, our site will receive a small commission which goes toward the upkeep of the site.

Posted in Books, ReviewsComments (0)

Movie Review: One Hit from Home


I’ll watch just about anything that deals with baseball. So when I saw earlier this week that a baseball themed movie came out on DVD, I jumped at the chance to check it out.

One Hit from Home is the story of a struggling ex-major leaguer who returns home in the midst of a disappointed career.  He  runs into a bit of trouble and is given the choice of jail or coaching a struggling college team.

It’s quite strange in fact. They say he was a huge disappointment, but when they talk about him playing in the big leagues they make it sound like he was good. The reason he quit was he hurt his knee. They never say it was because he couldn’t cut it. So why was he such a huge disappointment? I don’t get it.

I could go into the story line in more depth here, but I won’t bother. It wasn’t a great movie or even a very good one.

I don’t mind not so good action when they are playing the game, but this was some of the worst at times. At one point a team turns to a hard throwing pitcher and out comes some Incredible Hulk wanna be who obviously has never thrown a baseball before.  Most of the actions isn’t this bad, but at times it is.

The story line was way too predictable and honestly the acting wasn’t great at times. Overall I would rate it a single glove on the Baseball Journeyman ranking system. If you have some time to kill and there is nothing else on maybe give it a shot. However, I wouldn’t recommend paying even a dollar to see it which is why I am not wasting too much time going into more details. It’s just not worth the effort.

 

 

 

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Movies, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Have Glove Will Travel by Bill Lee


I have never seen former MLB pitcher Bill Lee play in person. I was too young to see him pitch during his prime, but I am a huge fan.

Bill Lee has played baseball for what I am guessing is 50+ years now. In his book Have Glove, Will Travel: Adventures of a Baseball Vagabond, Lee tells tales about his days after being blackballed from Major League Baseball.

This was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. Bill Lee is quite easily one of the most interesting players to come along in the last half century. He has openly talked about smoking pot, run for president, and even became friends with a guy who was notorious for hating pitchers in Ted Williams.

The stories Lee tells in this book give an interesting perspective on the game of baseball. He still plays to this day because of his love for the game. After his release from baseball for his outspoken comments regarding the Montreal Expos, he was never able to return to the elite league where he once dominated. Instead he took his show on the road, literally.

He tells of going to Russia during the Cold War to play baseball which is a good story but mostly for what happens off the field. Lee has never shied away from talking about his partying, and he didn’t disappoint when heading to Russia.

He has taken his game to Cuba several times, and has a love for the people of the island there that shows in his writing about his trips. They love the game in a similar way he does, for the joy of playing it. It seems Lee was born a few decades too late as he would have been a great fit in the era of the barnstorming teams of the 1920s.

Lee was a fabulous pitcher with the Red Sox, and he touches on the Curse of the Bambino giving his thoughts. He always has some interesting viewpoints and when you bring up exorcism it can be pretty entertaining.

Most of his stories are humorous but not all of them. He tells a touching tale of a poor woman in Cuba who is generous by giving him fruit from her tree when she has nothing else to give. All because he was kind enough to come in and say hello to her shy little boy. It’s a touching tale that is moving, especially the second time he returns a few years later.

Despite many people thinking he might be a little crazy or “off his rocker”, Bill Lee is a pretty down to Earth guy. He knows that athlete heroism is overblown, and he points out there hasn’t been a single athlete that kids should look up to except one, Jackie Robinson. He also points out that there are other true heroes out there, and he points to the men and women who stood tall and helped others on 9/11. Those are the real heroes that people should look up to, and I’d have to agree with him.

This is an easy read, and once you get into it you won’t want to put it down. I’d highly recommend it to any fan of the game, even Yankees fans. You can pick it up almost anywhere, including Amazon. So pick up a hard copy or the Kindle version and enjoy.

If you are interested in Bill Lee, you might also like Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey about one of his trips to Cuba.

Using the BaseballJourneyman rating system, I give this book 4 gloves:

 

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Books, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Deadball by David B. Stinson


Nostalgia is a part of baseball that stays with us as we get older. I can remember watching games as a kid at old Arlington Stadium that is now a parking lot. When I go back to Arlington and visit The Ballpark, I think back to when I was a kid watching games with my dad and brothers. But what if I could get back to Arlington Stadium just once more to sit in the bleachers like I did when I was a kid. This is the thought and feeling I got when reading David Stinson’s Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel.

In this novel, Stinson tells of a former minor leaguer, Byron “Bitty” Bennett, who’s love of the game extends past the history of his beloved Baltimore Orioles, but to the old parks that once served as the stage for some of the greatest players and teams to have ever played the game. However, his connection to the game is more than that of just a former player. It’s more spiritual than that.

Bennett does his best to study the history of the game in Baltimore, but he does more than just read. He uses his knowledge and old photos to try and visualize the places where the game he loves so much was once played. Visiting these ballparks he is introduced to and slowly incorporated into a society of believers that resembles something out of Field of Dreams.

As he ventures around to various old stadiums in Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, he slowly sees more and more of something he can’t quite explain. Slowly he sees more at each stop. He starts by having conversations with players that he thinks are either ghosts or someone playing a practical joke. He isn’t quite sure.

Slowly he sees more and more as he continues his journey. He begins to see the stadiums as they were during their hay day. But it is more than the stadium. He begins to see the ticket takers, fans, and vendors even conversing with a few over time. He struggles with what he sees and the conversations he begins to have with people. He isn’t quite sure if what he is seeing is real or just a dream.

The few people he tells of these visions don’t believe him only furthering his frustration and struggles with reality. However, Byron continues looking for answers from the present and the past.

This book did a great job weaving the present with the past. It’s entertaining, and keeps the reader guessing what will happen in the end. I was actually surprised in the end in a good way.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It has increased my interest in the parks that have long disappeared, and took me back to my childhood to the park where I grew up watching games that is long gone.  It’s a journey to the past that engages the reader opening your mind to possibilities that are often overlooked.

I would highly recommend this to anyone. Baseball fans will love the history that is incorporated into the story, but I think anyone would enjoy the book for the story of Byron and his struggles with reality. I can only hope Mr. Stinson decides to write another book.

In the Baseball Journeyman rating system, I give this book a full 5 gloves. Pick it up and I think you’ll find yourself rooting for Byron “Bitty” Bennett like I did.

 

*In full disclosure, I was given this book by the author to read, but all my opinions about the book are mine and mine alone. Any items given to me for review purposes are always fully disclosed, but in no way does that mean a positive review will be given. As well, my reviews contain affiliate links. If you click and then purchase an item I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your understanding.

 

Posted in Books, ReviewsComments (0)

Movie Review – Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey


Bill Lee may be known as the Spaceman, but you could very easily call him Mr. Baseball. Lee has a passion for the game that really comes out in the film Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey. Bill Lee joins a team from San Diego on a trip to Cuba for a little barnstorming trip.

It’s an interesting ride in that you not only get to see a different side of Bill Lee from what you might see on TV in interviews, but you get to see a small insight on baseball in Cuba.

Nobody on the trip to Cuba from the US was ever paid to play baseball with the exception of Bill Lee. This is a group of adults who love the game. Traveling to a game on a bus and getting off together as a team is their major leagues. To do that in another country  has to be an absolute thrill. Throw in that you are doing it on an island that is baseball crazy and it has to be a trip of a lifetime.

All of the Cuban players are older adults who have played their entire lives, and it shows. They play good baseball and put the American team to the test in each game. Not only do the players show a love of the game, but you see people showing up to games as fans to watch that love it. Some show up to practice their English, some show up to see the former major leaguer play, and others simply want to watch baseball.

Everywhere the players go they are greeted by friendly people and most are fans of the game. It’s an amazing insight, albeit small, into a culture that has almost been closed off completely to Americans. The opposing teams and people on the streets are interested in talking about the old guys who played with Lee, and they know them. They remember Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, Fisk, and others.  It’s amazing how much the casual fan knows there.

Another aspect of the movie that is interesting is seeing the fields they play at. Of course, they are all older but the field itself always looks like its in pretty good shape. You see some nice fields with makeshift fences at times or old concrete stands that were erected in the 50’s or earlier.

A lot of the movie is about Bill Lee and his history which is pretty interesting. I enjoyed it especially since I only know Lee from what I have read because he was out of baseball before I can remember watching. He had a lot of interesting things to say and was quite a character. I can easily see how he got the nickname Spaceman, but don’t get fooled into thinking he isn’t an intelligent man. He reminds me of a baseball version of Dennis Miller. He uses a lot of references that most people won’t understand which to me makes him even more interesting. In the day of internet and Google, you can actually search some of the references with the click of a mouse.

He’s also part Satchel Paige in that he is still playing into his 60’s (I believe he was 58 at the time of the film). He talks about Paige in the film as well saying he is his idol for having played so long at such a high level. The both have some interesting quotes as well.

You get some insight on Bill from some of his contemporaries and others that he was around in the game of baseball. Fred Lynn, Dick Williams, Luis Tiant, and others are interviewed about Bill Lee. They all have something interesting to say and when you combine that with some old interview footage it makes for an interesting look at the man himself.

This film has made me more of a fan of Bill Lee and has made me want to read some of the books he wrote. You can also catch Bill on another trip to Cuba in the Film Gift of the Game

I highly recommend watching this film. It’s only just over an hour long so its not a huge time commitment, but it’s extremely interesting. Take an inside look at baseball in Cuba, if only for a minute. And get a look at Bill Lee and you can’t help but love his love of the game whether you are a Red Sox fan or Yankees fan or anyone in between. I give it a rating of 4 gloves.

 

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Movies, ReviewsComments (0)

Movie Review: Gift of the Game


In 1980, writer Randy Wayne White was in Mariel Harbor, Cuba to help a friend retrieve his family during the Mariel Boatlift. After the week plus that he spent under armed control in the harbor by the Cuban military, he swore he would never go back.

Twenty years later, White set out for Cuba to try and resurrect a children’s baseball league founded by Ernest Hemingway many years before. He set out to find a team to go with him to bring equipment to the kids where Hemingway taught the game years prior. His team would include a priest, his son, and along with many others two former Major Leaguers in Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Jon Warden.

It took them a year to get the people and equipment in place, not to mention talking the American government into allowing them to go. But with equipment in hand, they set off for Cuba and what took place showed how great this game is.

The original plan was to go to the same area where Hemingway lived to seek out the old players from Hemingway’s Gigi Stars team and try to resurrect the children’s league. Things don’t always go as planned, especially when you are in a place like Cuba.

After first arriving, they were denied by the Cuban government help in finding the former players and were told they couldn’t even play a pick up game. So White, with names of the old players in hand, wonders the streets looking for them and finds some of them. They are greeted by smiles and hugs from Hemingway’s former players who are eager to talk about playing baseball with the great writer. They meet with several of the team members and agree to return in 5 days with the equipment to give to the children and hopefully restart the league.

Back in 1980, White had heard about a pitcher nicknamed “the man with 100 moves” and he was anxious to see if he could find him, so he set off to see. Finding the area where he lives, White was told he was not home but to come back the next day. Little did he know that would not be necessary as Perfidio (sp?) Perez would come find him after hearing they were looking for him.

Throughout their trip, White and the guys saw kids playing baseball everywhere with homemade bats and balls. The bats would be hand carved out of tree limbs and they would fashion balls out of anything they could find. It was amazing to see the love of the game there. They don’t have cable TV, Nintendo, and things like malls that take up so much of the attention of kids in other parts of the world. Seeing the looks on the kid’s faces when the guys would stop their bus and hand out equipment was priceless. Holding a real ball or bat in their hands their smiles would light up the night sky.

Twice White, Lee, Warden, and the rest of the guys play pick up games. They were usually out manned but everyone involved always had a great time. After every game a party would spring up and dancing, eating, and drinking would spring about. Just the simple happiness seen in the people of the land was infectious. But it wasn’t always the case.

In downtown Havana things were quite different. There people were much more aware of the police presence around them and were quick to quiz the Americans if they were some sort of police. On one hand you can see the passion for the game and the pure simple joy they get out of it, and the next minute you can see the oppression and fear that these people experience on a daily basis.

Perhaps the best example was from the former players themselves. After returning to hand out the equipment, they were told there would be no game and no party. The joy in their faces had gone and they were very serious. It turns out that higher ups had deemed it wasn’t going to happen and they had no choice but to follow suit. A compromise was soon had that there would be no game, but there would be a party.

The government had allowed the guys to play one sanctioned exhibition game with the Cuban Over 40 team. These were all ex-players who could still play a bit. While the game highlights and banter were fun to watch, the real excitement came after the game. This is when a government official came with armed soldiers to take all the equipment they had brought. They took everything from the bus that they had on them. Luckily they were smart enough to pay someone to hide a lot of the equipment for the kids so when it came time to give it out it was there.

I really enjoyed this film. Bill Lee is always fun to watch. He is a great ambassador for the game and always funny. I was not familiar with Jon Warden but the grew on me very quickly. He is a fun-loving and funny guy who just wants to make people smile. But the best part of the film was the kids. They benefited in the form of equipment and were very excited anytime a hat, ball, glove, or bat was handed out. It’s a shame that they are unable to get the proper equipment needed for the game. There is, and always has been, a wealth of talent there.

I highly recommend anyone who is a baseball fan to watch this film. I was able to rent it through Netflix, but was unable to find it on Amazon. I give it a rating of 4 gloves:

If you enjoy this film, you might also want to check out Bill Lee’s journey to Cuba to share the game in Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Movies, ReviewsComments (0)

Book Review: Boomerang Baseball by Nicholas R.W. Henning


I am always looking for books on baseball to read, but rarely do I run across one that is fiction. That was the case when I came across Boomerang Baseball.

With the Australian Baseball League (ABL) restarting this year, I got hooked on trying to watch some of the games online. It has been a great way to get my baseball fix during the winter, and the ABL has been a lot of fun to follow.  While doing a little reporting on the ABL at Baseball de World I was able to meet, through his comments, Mr. Henning. This has been a blessing as it has not only introduced me to baseball fiction, but Mr. Henning has provided a lot of insight on the league.

When I found out Mr. Henning was an author, I was anxious to read one of his books. So I picked up a copy of Boomerang Baseball. I read about half of it on my trip to Charlotte late last year, then lost the book on the flight home, so I picked up another copy.

The book is about the early life of Trent McKnight. Told in an autobiographical style, it’s an interesting ride as Trent battles with his on-again, off-again relationship with baseball as well as the little problems that each of us go through during our formidable years.

I picked up this book mainly because it dealt with baseball, and I hoped to see some insight about a country, Australia, where baseball isn’t played as much as other sports. And I wasn’t let down. I really enjoyed reading about Trent taping baseball shows on TV and watching them over and over. This brought back a lot of memories of when I was young and staying up late, with the volume nearly all the way down as to not wake my parents, to watch baseball on ESPN. Or Trent finding somewhere to buy baseball cards or find equipment. I grew up in a small town and can remember the days when I got to go to a bigger city to a large sporting good store. Seeing all of that baseball equipment was like Christmas all over again.

But the book is more than baseball. Being a bit older now, I can look back on Trent’s struggles knowing I went through a lot of similar things. Ever since I can remember I wanted to play professional baseball and there comes a time when you find out that that dream just isn’t going to come true. That isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Trent goes through this same ordeal over the years as he struggles with finding out he isn’t the elite player required to continue on with a baseball career. But that’s not all he struggles with.

I think I can safely say we have all had issues with the opposite sex, and Trent is no exception. Seeing him go through different phases of becoming a man was really entertaining. He struggles with playing baseball with girls, and then later going through a lot of the normal growing pains of a teenager/young adult. There are a lot of other issues Trent runs into like overcoming self-doubt, a temper, bullying, and failure. These are things that everyone must deal with at one point, and Mr. Henning does a great job incorporating all of this with Trent’s baseball life.

I also learned a lot about Australian baseball. There are a handful of Aussies that have made the major leagues like Grant Balfour, Damian Moss, Peter Moylan, and David Nilsson. But did you know Graeme Lloyd was the first one to win a World Series title with the Yankees in 1996? I didn’t until I read the book.

The ending was perhaps the best part of the book. I don’t want to give it away, because I think you need to go out and read this book. It’s a feel good story of a kid who goes through his struggles and successes. But the book is more than just baseball, it deals with life too. I really enjoyed the book and think you will too. So go out and pick up a copy. I got mine off of Amazon.

Mr. Henning also has a 2nd book that deals with baseball. The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento is a story about an Australian ball player traveling to the US to pursue his baseball dreams as he plays in the minor leagues. After reading Boomerang Baseball, this has gone into my “must read” list.

You can find all of Nicholas R.W. Henning’s book on Amazon and you can follow his blog at http://nicholasrwhenning.blogspot.com/. I would highly recommend picking up one of his books as I thoroughly enjoyed mine. In my own personal way of rating, I would have to give this book 5 gloves.


Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Books, ReviewsComments (0)

New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

Polls

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
film izle yerli film izle
üniversite taban puanları lys konuları