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Current Books & Discussions > January - Roger Angell

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message 1: by Lance (last edited Jan 01, 2018 07:57AM) (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the January author Roger Angell. Here is a listing of his books for those who have not decided which book or books of his to check out.

A Pitcher's Story: Innings with David Cone
The Summer Game
Season Ticket
Let Me Finish
The Roger Angell Baseball Collection: The Summer Game, Five Seasons, and Season Ticket
This Old Man: All in Pieces
Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion
Game Time: A Baseball Companion
A Baseball Century: The History of the National League
Late Innings: A Baseball Companion
Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader

For the record, I am starting with "The Summer Game." More if time allows for the month.


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 193 comments Went with your recommendation and ordered a used copy as it's not in my local library system. I have a free copy of Late Innings coming to me via Paperback Swap.
I didn't meet my goal of reading 6 baseball books last year. I only read 4 including the mystery Murder at Fenway Park.


message 3: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Baker Lance wrote: "This is the discussion thread for the January author Roger Angell. Here is a listing of his books for those who have not decided which book or books of his to check out.

[book:A Pitcher's Story: I..."



message 4: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Baker To all: There is one Roger Angell "book" missing from the list Lance posted. I put book in quotes because it is a selection of previous writings. It is ONCE MORE AROUND THE PARK. This volume was published by Ballantine Books in 1991, and may be available at abebooks, and other used bookstores and web sites. The book has his excellent take on the 1975 World Series, AGINCOURT AND AFTER, with great analysis and wonderful imagery descriptions of all the various deliveries used by Luis Tiant. Highly recommended, as are all Angell's work. But if I had to pick one Angell piece to read, find GONE FOR GOOD, about Steve Blass several years after he retired from MLB when he could no longer get ball in the strike zone.


message 5: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
Thanks, Wayne. Added Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader to the list. Didn't add the Steve Blass book as when searched the Goodreads data base I didn't find it. But it is one that can certainly be discussed as it sounds very interesting.


message 6: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Baker Lance, Gone for Good is an Angell article about Steve Blass from his typical New Yorker pieces. You should be able to find it in several of the anthologies. I am guessing that it was written in mid or late 1970s. Gone for Good first appeared in the Five Seasons anthology...it starts on page 223 of my mass market paperback edition of Five Seasons.


message 7: by Patrick (new)

Patrick The Blass essay is superb and extremely moving. It has remained timely because of other players who have suffered from the yips or "Steve Blass syndrome", such as Steve Sax, Mackey Sasser, Chuck Knoblauch, and Rick Ankiel.


message 8: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Patrick wrote: "The Blass essay is superb and extremely moving. It has remained timely because of other players who have suffered from the yips or "Steve Blass syndrome", such as Steve Sax, Mackey Sasser, Chuck Kn...". I would add Jon Lester to that list too but he has managed it


message 9: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
Harold wrote: "Patrick wrote: "The Blass essay is superb and extremely moving. It has remained timely because of other players who have suffered from the yips or "Steve Blass syndrome", such as Steve Sax, Mackey ..."

Dale Murphy had it too...why he switched from catcher to outfield. That worked out well for him.


message 10: by Patrick (last edited Jan 01, 2018 06:17PM) (new)

Patrick Here is an interesting consideration of Jon Lester's problem:

http://www.stack.com/a/the-psychologi...

An intriguing element of this issue for me is that I think of pro athletes as totally confident guys. I have always frankly envied that. But it appears that insecurities are universal.


message 11: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Patrick wrote: "Here is an interesting consideration of Jon Lester's problem:

http://www.stack.com/a/the-psychologi...

An intriguing element of this iss..."
I remember guys getting hypnotized to beat the yips.


message 12: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7426 comments For once I have a book being discussed and I can't find it.


message 13: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Yes I had to finally buy it on Amazon but i won't get it for another week or more. A used paperback is cheaper


message 14: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10911 comments C. John wrote: "For once I have a book being discussed and I can't find it."

I have his 5 SEASONS, if you can`t find yours, I`d send you mine
Mike Linn


message 15: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7426 comments Thanks Mike. The problem is it's in one of the boxes where I didn't enter the box number in the notes section when I catalogued my library here. Hopefully I can have a good search once the kids have gone back to school on Monday.


message 16: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10911 comments C John, just out of curiosity, I went back to see if I owned another Angell book & sure enough after a bit found ONCE MORE AROUND THE PARK, so if you can`t find yours, you`re still welcome to either one you want to read. Let me know after your search next week & I`ll give you my email address & we could work out my sending you whatever you need. No reason to spend if we don`t have to.
Mike Linn


message 17: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7426 comments Will let you know.


message 18: by Lance (last edited Jan 07, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
Just posted my review of The Summer Game on my blog and here. Just as good as I had hoped and my review contains a few of the quotes I wanted to highlight. I especially liked his essays on the Mets, both the 1962 version and the Amazin' 1969 version.

http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...

There was also another aspect of his writing that I didn't mention in the review, but enjoyed immensely while reading - his description of ballparks. Whether it was the Polo Grounds when the Mets were the tenants, the brand new parks in LA, Queens and Houston (the description of the scoreboard in the Astrodome was priceless) or some of the quirks of Fenway, I thought he would do well as a tour guide at these parks.


message 19: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
One other thought - this doesn't apply just to Angell but to all authors when describing the state of the game and the problems it faces - no matter what decade, the same issues are with us now. Whether it is too many corporate faces and not enough true fans at World Series games, the money that television provides altering the game, or the greed of the owners that harms franchises (moving, poor on-field performance or both), it seems that the old adage is true in baseball - the more things change, the more they stay the same.


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 193 comments Harold wrote: "Yes I had to finally buy it on Amazon but i won't get it for another week or more. A used paperback is cheaper"

I ordered The Summer Game used from Amazon on Jan. 1st and it came yesterday, the 6th.


message 21: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments I fear his prose may be above my head. I read your review and I fear it will be like reading George Will's Men at Work.


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 193 comments Lance wrote: "One other thought - this doesn't apply just to Angell but to all authors when describing the state of the game and the problems it faces - no matter what decade, the same issues are with us now. Wh..."

This is reassuring to me as I wondered about reading Angell's work that goes back and covers several decades.


message 23: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
Harold wrote: "I fear his prose may be above my head. I read your review and I fear it will be like reading George Will's Men at Work."

I had the same thought - but an online dictionary/thesaurus is a wonderful thing.


message 24: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Lance wrote: "Harold wrote: "I fear his prose may be above my head. I read your review and I fear it will be like reading George Will's Men at Work."

I had the same thought - but an online dictionary/thesaurus ..."
LOL!


message 25: by Patrick (new)

Patrick As a writer and editor for the New Yorker, Angell aimed his work at a very sophisticated, educated audience. That's a given. He also considers everything within a larger context of baseball history, and assumes some familiarity with that history. Most fans and players would probably NOT connect with his work.


message 26: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10911 comments As long as we can understand 3 out of 10 written baseball words, we`re HOFers.
Mike Linn
I batted almost .300 vs. Will


message 27: by C. John (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7426 comments If I could read Karl Barth I should have no trouble with Roger Angell.


message 28: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Michael wrote: "As long as we can understand 3 out of 10 written baseball words, we`re HOFers.
Mike Linn
I batted almost .300 vs. Will"

I was closer to the Mendoza line Mike.


message 29: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Patrick wrote: "As a writer and editor for the New Yorker, Angell aimed his work at a very sophisticated, educated audience. That's a given. He also considers everything within a larger context of baseball history..." That's what I liked about Halberstram's works.


message 30: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10911 comments Harold wrote: "Michael wrote: "As long as we can understand 3 out of 10 written baseball words, we`re HOFers.
Mike Linn
I batted almost .300 vs. Will"
I was closer to the Mendoza line Mike."


That may be amigo, but you were in the game
Mike Linn


message 31: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
I was happy that with the Angell book I was able to follow prerty closely. Without too much bragging, I would say I was in Gwynn/Carew/Boggs territory. Not close to Cobb/ Lajoie, however


message 32: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 10911 comments Just curious about something, how would Cobb with all we know about his demons, do in a more modern voting atmosphere like today ? Does one think that a psycho racist would out vote a Babe Ruth of today or would he be perceived more like a talented Jim Piersall ? Just curious, of course, he did outhit Piersall by 95 points!!
Mike Linn
I don`t know Lance, Gwynn / Carew/ Boggs is pretty great hitting company


message 33: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Mike I think the Cobb legend has been debunked to a large degree especially his alleged racist views and acts. Even his maliciousness on the base pads has been explained and dismissed as a myth by Charles Leershen in his book. So I think Cobb would be a 98 to 99% winner on the firat ballot. Frankly Leershen does a lwayerly job in refuting virtually every story that Stump put forth.


message 34: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
But Harold, remember social media is king today and can have negative effects that even factual evidence won't help. Once someone today would out Cobb as a racist, all the actual facts in the world wouldn't save him from the court of public opinion.


message 35: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments I understand but if there were was no proof in the form of witnesses it would be hard for the public to turn against him. Look how long fans stuck with Pete Rose until the Dowd report. Even afterwards millions still would still vote him into the hall


message 36: by Lance (new)

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 12703 comments Mod
Facts didn't help the three young men at Duke - they never were allowed back to the school or were admitted at any other college.


message 37: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 36 comments Just finished The Summer Game by Roger Angell and very much enjoyed it.

My review may be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 38: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 6 comments Just finished Once More Around the Park. In addition to the excellent Blass essay mentioned above, I quite enjoyed In the Country, an essay about a low minor league pitcher and his girlfriend. The same essay relates the story of Danny Thomas, a promising outfielder who seems to have lost his mind, and then his major league career, and finally his life, by suicide, in an Alabama jail. Angell writes beautifully about these characters, and many others in the other essays in the collection.


message 39: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments I'm still reading Angell's The Summer Game but couldn't resist this.
Those of us who saw him pitch will not be surprised by this from Bob Gibson after he KO's 17 in the 68 World Series, When asked by a reporter if he was always competitive, Gibson replied, "I guess you could say so. I've played a couple of hundred games of ticktacktoe with my daughter and she hasn't beaten me yet. I've always had to win. I just have to win."


message 40: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Reminiscent of the scene in Mommie Dearest when Joan Crawford outswims her daughter and exults, "I'm bigger and I'm faster. I will always beat you."


message 41: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Patrick wrote: "Reminiscent of the scene in Mommie Dearest when Joan Crawford outswims her daughter and exults, "I'm bigger and I'm faster. I will always beat you."" I think if Gibson reads your post, he'll bean you.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

I heard an interesting story recently. I was talking to Lindy McDaniel about Ernie Banks but afterward he was just telling a few stories and I was wisely keeping my mouth shut.

McDaniel pitched for 19 years and was one of the straightest straight arrows the game ever knew. After retiring from baseball in 1975, he has been a minister and still preaches at a church in Texas. He regularly led devotions for the teams on Sundays and for about 10 years while playing he printed a monthly newsletter called "Pitching for the Master," which had inspirational Bible stuff and sent it to every major league player.

He said that one mistake he made was to send it to everyone every month, "I was young and enthusiastic, but I should have just sent it once or twice and then continued only for the guys who wanted it. A few guys got irritated and said something about it. . . One guy particularly really made a big deal . . . (I kept my mouth shut and waited) . . . it was Bob Gibson."

"He jumped me in the tunnel one day before a game in San Francisco. He started yelling about me sending that to him. He said, 'Don't mess with me, I'll burn your house down.' [may have deleted a few colorful metaphors that McDaniel has never been heard to utter]. Some of his teammates were there trying to calm him down and told me not to pay attention to him."

"I asked him, 'What do you object to, my writing, the Bible or God?' He shouted, 'All three.' It was strange because we had been teammates for about 3 or 4 years and always got along. We played quite a bit of bridge on the plane trips. But he went through a phase; I think he became very militant in the late '60s."

That's not anything to put in a book, but I love hearing the little, out-of-the-way stories that give insight about what goes on sometimes away from the field.


message 43: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments That's a fscinating story Doug. It doesn't surprise me. Gibson still seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Boy I sure do remember Lindy. Great name!


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

It was a little surprising to me because it had nothing to do with a game--I knew Gibson had a terrific game face and intimidation was part of his game, but this was off the field, with a relief pitcher, who he had been teammates with for 3 or 4 years (before McDaniel was traded to the Cubs).

There's a time to be competitive and a time to just be an anti-social jerk. Gibson did appear to have a chip on his shoulder for years, and it can't all be blamed on race.


message 45: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments I really enjoyed the remembrances and especially the last chapter. Unfortunately the timelessness of the game is about to change.

Roger Angell can paint images with his prose. This collection of essays is an ode to the game he loves. It is filled with insights into the game and the emotions it generates in us and instills itself in generations of families. There are so many wonderful metaphors-too many to mention but I'll pick a few. In describing a slowly emerging 64 Mets team, "Stengel has called on Jerry Hinsley and two other rookie pitchers Bill Wakefield and Ron Locke for spot duty. They have responded with eager gallantry-often of the kind once displayed by Eton sixth-formers taking to the air against Baron von Richthofen."
And while watching the 65 World Series after the Twins went up 2-0, he made this observation: "The fans around me were all laughing and hooting,'it's all over now'. I hope he meant the game and not the series. After I had visited the clubhouse and heard sandy Koufax's precise, unapologetic, and totally unruffled analysis of the game, I came away with the curious impression that the Twins with two straight victories, were only slightly behind in the series."
And this about my personal baseball idol Willie Mays during a Giant/Dodger division race, "Watching him this year(1971) seeing him drift across a base and then sink into full speed, I noticed all at once how much he resembles a skier in mid turn down some deep pitch of fast powder. NOBODY like him."
And then there is the last chapter especially the last page which brought me to chills. Read that chapter and the last page and you will understand Angell's love affair with this game above any other.


message 46: by C. John (last edited Feb 04, 2018 01:27PM) (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 7426 comments It figures. My sole Roger Angell book is eluding me and given the mail system I opted not to take Mike up on his offer. not sure it would get here in time. A quick check shows that the library system has several of his books. One of them is at one of the other branches in Nanaimo so I place a hold. I get it and discover it is a collection of pieces by various New Yorker writers with only one by Mr. Angell. His recounting of a college game he saw with Ron Darling pitching for Yale against Frank Viola. He was in the company of Smokey Joe Wood for this game. I found the article enjoyable. it was easy to read and informative. I noticed that the only names I recognized from the college game were Darling's and Viola's.


message 47: by Patrick (new)

Patrick That particular Angell piece is very good. I relate to it personally because, as a Yale undergraduate (1976-1980), I saw a number of games at Yale Field. The most memorable was with Bart Giamatti during the spring of 1978. Giamatti had just been named President of Yale University with his tenure to begin that fall. Some friends of mine and I wanted to get to know him, but realized that demands on his time would be ferocious. I had the idea of inviting him to watch a Yale baseball game with us, on the grounds that he would not refuse. And he didn't!

So five of us - myself, Jenny R, Bill W, Bill K, and Steve D - had a great afternoon with the man and indeed got to know him.


message 48: by Harold (new)

Harold Kasselman | 17744 comments Patrick wrote: "That particular Angell piece is very good. I relate to it personally because, as a Yale undergraduate (1976-1980), I saw a number of games at Yale Field. The most memorable was with Bart Giamatti d..." That is awesome. I would have enjoyed that immensely. It was a tragedy that he died so soon after his appointment as commissioner


message 49: by Patrick (new)

Patrick It was among the most enjoyable and memorable afternoons of my life. Bart was, we discovered, an immensely entertaining and enthusiastic man. One of a kind.


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick wrote: "That particular Angell piece is very good. I relate to it personally because, as a Yale undergraduate (1976-1980), I saw a number of games at Yale Field. The most memorable was with Bart Giamatti d..."

That is a very interesting piece of history, Patrick. Especially in light of what came later.


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