Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Most [Terrible] Time of the Year

It's that time of year again. The time when radio stations start playing Christmas music between their weekly NFL predictions, when a forecast for snow is still exciting rather than daunting, and when baseball is rarely in the news. Sure, SportsCenter might spend thirty seconds on trade possibilities and minor pickups, but until a major free agent is signed, people are more worried about touchdowns, power plays, and free throws than home runs and strikeouts.

That being said, I would like to apologize in advance: there won't be lengthy posts every day for a while. I'll try to put something up for you guys daily, but I can't promise anything - especially since the end of semester rush is here, and I think my professors are literally trying to bury me in work.

Needless to say, this is not my favorite time of year, but it brightened up a bit yesterday when I got a package in the mail:

The Teammates by David Halberstam is about Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr, and the special relationship they shared as teammates and friends. It was recommended to me by several of my readers, and though I'm just thirty-six pages in, I would like to thank you all, as I can tell it's going to be a mainstay of my baseball library for years to come.

It was Never About the Babe is by Jerry M. Gutlon, and promises to be an interesting read, as it discusses the racism that was inherent in the management of the Sox for many years. There was no "Curse of the Bambino" (though Dan Shaughnessy thanks you for believing in it and buying his books), and this book will explain exactly why and how the Red Sox failed for so long.

As far as curses go, I'd like to take this opportunity to express my belief that there's something to that Billy Goat thing in Chicago... 101 years? Really?

And last but certainly not least is The 2010 Bill James Handbook. You've heard me say this before, and you're sure to hear it again, but I love Bill James. I pulled out the Handbook at lunch on Friday to show my friends (I could barely contain my excitement), and they just stared. I opened it up to show the pages of player stats and equations for fielding prowess, and they remained silent. Finally, one of them asked the ultimate question: "Explain to me again how you hate math?" Oh, if only there was a course on baseball statistics! Even once I explained the genius that is Bill James, they judged me. Sure, they nodded politely at all the right times, but none of them really got it, and that's fine.

Hopefully I'll be getting some more baseball books for Christmas, so I'll make it to Spring Training alive and (reasonably) sane. Until then, I'll carry on my illicit love affair with Bill James and Co., and my friends can judge me all they want.


  1. Thank you for the great ideas to put on my hanukkah wish list. i have a hard time buying myself books especially anything over $10. I own all the major Red Sox ones including the ones about World Series wins etc, but a lot of the others I don't. If only there were a class all about Red Sox literature. I think we should try to make it together!!!