Table of Contents


Teetering cups, gimlets, barbeque, smack talk at the symphony, fans, mom, eloping, eavesdropping,

baseball curious, bathroom lines, legendary stories, enjoying life.


SECTION ONE: Baseball, the Musical

Introduction: Father of Baseball, Alexander Joy Cartwright, Henry Chadwick, Mills Commission,  Abner Doubleday, Cooperstown, Hall of Fame, interloper.

  1. OWNERS : The Cincinnati Red Stockings, National League (NL), American Association (AA), Chris Von der Ahe, Beer and Whiskey league, Frank and Stanley Robison, Patsy’s Perfectos, Connie Mack, Gene Autry.
  1. SUPREME TREATMENT: National Association of Base Ball Players, National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, whew, the reserve clause, antitrust lawsuit, Curt Flood, free agent, Flood v. Kuhn.
  1. HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO: Milking goats, Ty Cobb, nefarious behavior, President Herbert Hoover, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, precocious negotiator, Marilyn Monroe, The Curse of the Bambino; No, No, Nanette; Jose Canseco, Ruben Sierra, Froot Loops.
  1. STUFFED SALARY: Catfish Hunter, big contracts, labor pains, cancelled World Series, U.S. Congress, rampant steroid abuse, the Mitchell report, Curt Flood Act of 1998.
  1. CHANGES IN THE AIR: Buffalo wings, the Gilded Age of baseball, H.C. Dodge, boodle, the first World Series, Boston Braves on the move, Chavez Ravine, expansion, pennant, postseason, television, more boodle, more expansion, the wild card, league championship series (ALCS and NLCS), interleague play.
  1. BRANCHING OUT: Negro Leagues, Josh Gibson, Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, taunted, shunned, separated, money, recognition, Larry Doby, Satchel Paige, Bill Veeck, Roy Campenella, Willie Mays, Don Newcombe, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Elston Howard, questionable ethnicity, John McGraw, Chief Tokohama.
  1. ALL-STAR GAME: The All-Star Game, reserves, Midsummer Classic, All-Star break, Cal Ripken, Jr., a broken nose, Alex Rodriguez, a couch, Mike Mussina, fragile egos, Bud Selig, fans throwing bottles.
  1. HALL OF IMMORTALITY: Cooperstown, baseball writers, Tom Seaver, first ballot guys, Roger Clemens, the hat debate, benchmark statistics, Mark McGwire, Pete Rose, banned, Black Sox, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ted Williams, second-class immortal?

SECTION TWO: The Foul Pole is Fair

Introduction: Town ball, rounders, hitting, running, catching and throwing, Newton’s three laws of motion, Veni, vidi, vici.

  1. SOME OF THE PARTS: Nine innings, top and bottom, making the tag, pitcher’s duel, a slick baseball, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” extra innings, fair ups, belligerent stares, kid barfing on couch, purists, charity.
  1. HITTING THE BASICS: A good pitch, the seven ways, a hit, batting average, batting title, the Mendoza Line, Ted Williams, frozen in time, extra base hits, slugging percentage, Mark McGwire, power and strike outs, Babe Ruth, power and average, RBI, Triple Crown, Carl Yastrzemski, clutch player, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz.
  1. IT TAKES MORE THAN BALLS: Base on balls, the strike zone, intentional walk is in the make, baseball’s rules, hit by pitch.
  1. STRIKE THE BALL NEXT TIME: Strike, swing and a miss, called strike, struck out looking, don’t argue balls and strikes, ejected, threw bats, five-game suspension, heading back to the dugout in shame.
  1. SOMETHING HAS RUN AFOUL: Fair ball, foul lines, oblivion, contact hitter, work the count, Richie Ashburn, maniacal, stretcher, foul territory, hitter’s park, bunted fouls, fair poles, more rules.
  1. RUN LIKE YOU MEAN IT: Piano legs, stop sulking, Manny Ramirez, fined an undisclosed amount, Sissy Mary, Charlie Hustle, Wonder Dog, stolen bases, Ty Cobb, Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, scrappy runners fluster fielders, Sam “Wahoo Sam” Crawford, Willie Wilson, Hank Aaron, dinnertime.

SECTION THREE: Managing Hardball and Hardheads

Introduction: Respect, not for long, get it twice a day, Polansky, equipment bags, train schedules.

  1. LET’S TAKE A WALK: Local layabouts, Team S-P-I-R-I-T!, roster bloat, town ruffians, strategy changes, armchair manager, nattering criticism, Cap Anson, vaudeville, player-managers, Mel Ott, Pete Rose, Tony LaRussa, tort law, media scrutiny, rich guys acting badly.
  1. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE SEEMINGLY COMPETENT: Rorschach tests, vicious firings, Rogers Hornsby, despised, winning percentages, John “Mugsy” McGraw, loved, Connie Mack, no saint, Joe McCarthy, wallowed in the minors, the Panama Canal, Casey Stengel.
  1. SACRIFICE: Gus Schmelz, sacrifice fly, the bunt, hit and run, small ball, scoring position, Tahiti, tag up, psychologically damaging, defensive strategy, setting up the double play, force out, walk the bully, Barry Bonds.
  1. KID GLOVES: Pitcher coddling, pitching rotations, relief pitchers, starting pitcher, pitch count, Felix Hernandez, Billy Martin, unnurturing environment?, pitching wins championships, Sparky Anderson, six no-name starters, World Series, Captain Hook, no Big Kahuna, Pedro Martinez, damn Yankees, Aaron Boone, sentimental moment, pencils and whiskey.
  1. A CRITIC BY ANY OTHER NAME: “Fantasy Leagues,” Ozzie Guillen, laughing, throwing bottles, Bob Ehmke, Game One, persuasion, “QuesTec,” Earl Weaver, ejections, Bobby Valentine, faux mustache, Lou Piniella, George Steinbrenner.

SECTION FOUR: Assume the Position

Introduction: Nasty odds, position players, torment, amazing plays, highlight reel, embarrassing plays, blooper video.

  1. WAKE ME WHEN IT’S OVER: Fine defensive play, yawn, underappreciated statistics, Gold Glove, Ozzie Smith, choreography, shimmy to the left, Boudreau Shift, 1946 World Series.
  1. THE CATCHER AND THE HORN: Field-position numbers, 6-4-3 double play, the horn, grotesque hits, Johnny Bench, soprano, Mustached Morsel, team ambassador, cowboys in Boston, Lou Gehrig, Bill Mazeroski, thwart the hit and run, the hot corner, fearless, Brooks Robinson, The Wizard, feline-like midair snatches, infield fly rule, shenanigans, fielder’s choice.
  1. ENQUIRING MITTS WANT TO KNOW: Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Tinker to Evers to Chance, Franklin Pierce Adams, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” Harry Steinfeldt, Los Angeles Dodgers, longest-tenured infield team, in need of a ditty.
  1. BATS IN THE OUTFIELD: The “cutoff man,” Endy Chavez, daydreaming, sizing up the competition, Skates, “The Man,” a strong middle, Willie Mays, five-tool player, putouts, Babe Herman.
  1. UTILIITY: Jack-of-all-trades, Lenny Harris, reliable backup players, Rich Aurilia, Where’s Waldo?, bling.
  1. HE NEVER SAW THE ERROR OF HIS WAYS: Mistakes, paid to make the play, official scorer, Ernie Koob’s no-hitter, Darren Lewis, Jose Canseco, off his head, Bill Buckner, between his legs.

SECTION FIVE: A School Boy’s Perfect Profession

Introduction: Utopia, prima donnas, ace, starters, entertaining material, quirky, misbehave.

  1. IS THAT A CAN OF PINE TAR IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?: Great Aunt Julia, Candy Cummings, the curveball, imaginary rectangle above home plate, pitching statistics, Cy Young, doctor the ball, the FBI, women’s suffrage, Ray Chapman, Carl Mays, denied accusations, suicide and measles, dead-ball era, Black & Decker, Gaylord Perry, smirking farm boy, knuckleball, junkball, screw with a batter’s groove.
  1. STRETCHING OUT THE CANVAS: Tommy Bond, fans like winning teams, stockpiling pitchers, lefties and the pick-off throw, Nolan Ryan, seven no-hitters, perfect games, the Holy Grail, Jim Bunning, Father’s Day, 1964.
  1. MEASURING THE MAN: Wins, Cy Young, Greg Maddux, different eras, complete games, Denny McLain, strikeouts, Roger Clemens, Whitey Ford, fast games, ERA, Jose Lima, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb blushes.
  1. SEND IN THE CLOWNS: The backup guy, relief pitching, the pitch count, middle relief, super special reliever, the closer, torturous statistics, bullpen, Sparky Lyle, Mike Marshall, college boy, Trevor Hoffman, blown saves, Moe Drabowsky, the hot foot.
  1. THE BATTERY: Partners, signals, stealing signals, Bobby Thomson, Doug Mirabelli, crazy ride through Boston, wild pitches, Mickey Owen, dropped third strike, tools of ignorance, the pitchout, Todd Zeile, calling a good game, shake-off signals, mound visits, Lefty Gomez, Thurman Munson, good barbeque, catcher interference, ouch.
  1. THE BRUSHBACK, THE BEANBALL, AND THE BRAIN: Disguise pitches, The Professor, good motion, control pitcher, contrite fastballers, the brushback, Don Drysdale, the beanball, Dock Ellis, LSD, Robin Ventura charges mound, highlight reel material.

SECTION SIX: Let’s Get Organized

Introduction: The batting order, the stadium buzzes, millions upon millions, gut feelings, chicken dinners.

  1. THE MADNESS TO THE METHOD: The best lineup, tricky mental gymnastics, leadoff hitter, OBP, screw with a pitcher’s groove, Rickey Henderson, advance the runner, laying in the weeds, Nellie Fox, set up guy, average and power, Roberto Clemente, Nicaraguan earthquake, cleanup guy, Lou Gehrig, Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Bob Boone.
  1. AND IF THAT DOESN’T WORK: Pushed to the brink, alternate hitters, cocktail napkins, Bobby Bragan, no best lineup, little standup figures, Billy Martin and the Minnesota marshmallow salesman.
  1. DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT: More offensive brawn, 1973, Charlie Finley, battered veterans, Edgar Martinez, platooning.
  1. TWEAK THIS: Kilroy pictures, Bob Brenly Rolodexed, 1988 Tigers, pinch hitters, Houdini, Dusty Rhodes, Lenny Harris, the left hook, Herb Washington, swirlies, Tony LaRussa, Alvin Dark, lineup chicanery, Don Ferrarese, a father’s prerogative.

SECTION SEVEN: Wanna Get Lucky?

Introduction: Quiet knowledge, business dinners, trepidation, earphones.

  1. THE SUGGESTIONS: National Archives, . . . track . . . every . . . single . . . pitch, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Triple Crown, memorabilia, Phil Rizzuto, Wasn’t Watching, Little Suzy, Hank Aaron, Polansky, commitment, alternating with your kids, soak up sunshine, new shoes.
  1. GIVE YOURSELF A FIGHTING CHANCE: Get a pencil, sharpen it on the concrete, game-day essentials, EnormoTele, quick refresher course, other symbols, identify plays, K, 6-3, F8, SF-9, the runner advances, coloring, fielder’s choice, spare the other runner, generic markings, hash mark, dots, go hog wild, don’t get picky.
  1. LET’S GIVE IT A GO: New Mexico biker bar, Wade Boggs, National Public Radio, annoying commentators, fine autumn day in 1995, replacements, messy managerial decisions, runners left on base, clutch player, tricky situations, Cone’s collapse, pitching woes, “Donnie Baseball,” young A-Rod, batting around the order, Will he makeit?!?, cynical minds, Mike Hargrove.


Poison apple story, carpool schedule, Jack Norworth, baseball fables, Polo Grounds, Katie Casey, had the fever, Harry Caray’s throaty rendition, flatline, state your mind and run, dicey situations.