Column: The author never tires of writing, watching baseball | Sports

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No matter how many work stoppages Major League Baseball owners and players throw at us, loyal baseball fans tend to come back despite violent protests to the contrary.

A love of the game is what drives veteran author Peter Golenbock to write about baseball and buy season tickets, first for his home state, the New York Yankees, and now for the Tampa Bay Rays. , near his current residence. At 75, he still plays in a softball league and produces baseball books.

Golenbock’s latest book is ‘Whisper of the Gods’ and it records the thoughts surrounding some of the greatest players of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. part of his days as Texas Rangers manager and the insight into how moves are made – including the one that brought Nolan Ryan to Arlington.

With the 99-day lockout settlement and a season about to begin, albeit a bit late, Golenbock doesn’t buy the theory that baseball fans have become desensitized to these periodic hiccups.

“There are still millions of real fans out there, who really love the game and got mad at how the owners extended this long enough to shorten the season,” Golenbock said in a phone interview. “There is a lot of anger about it. There was nothing resolved that couldn’t have been resolved four months ago.

“Eventually some very wealthy heads prevailed and determined what was best for baseball and the fans.”

Indeed, newbie players will win a minimum of $700,000 rather than the “paltry” $525,000 they had to make do with. The designated hitter finally arrives in the National League. Company logo patches may begin to appear on uniforms. Defensive changes could be banned from next season, removing an analytical strategy that should be perfectly legal if a team wants it. Two more teams were added to each league’s playoffs, along with a variety of measures that hamper small-market franchises like Tampa Bay and Oakland.

Golenbock said it’s a game that now wants to be more about power and less about finer strategic points.

“It’s the same game, but there are analyzes that want to get rid of sparrows and sacrifices and even base stealing,” he said. “They want to see three-point home runs all the time. You would get a lot of walks, strikeouts, and homers. It’s a matter of whether you want to hit .300 or .225 with a lot of homers.

He added that 1970s slugger Dave Kingman – the quintessential all-or-nothing power hitter – was 30 years ahead of his time and would be “lioned” today.

Golenbock wrote on a variety of sports topics, including books on the Dallas Cowboys and auto racing. But he’s best known for baseball, having gained national prominence with “The Bronx Zoo,” which was written with former Yankees pitcher Sparky Lyle.

“Baseball is actually a religion,” Golenbock said. “You can be a Yankees fan or a Texas Rangers fan. Regardless of your political spectrum, whether you are far left or far right, none of this matters. Baseball brings people together. It brings joy.

“You seem to find that baseball players are more intimate with each other. In football, defensive players should not hang out with attacking players. They wear helmets and face masks. There are things that divide people in football.

The latest book released last week brings together a treasure trove of Golenbock’s conversations with some of the game’s greatest players who have since passed away and weren’t included in previous books on the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Cardinals and Cubs, among others.

Memorabilia from big names like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Stan Musial, Roger Maris, Gene Conley, Marty Marion and more fill the book. Golenbock recounts the time Williams called him to come to his house so he could tell her emphatically why Shoeless Joe Jackson is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Golenbock sees the book as a sequel to the 1966 classic “The Glory of Their Time” by Lawrence Ritter, which was later made into a documentary film. This book, which told the stories of those who played with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, inspired Golenbock while he was editor of the student newspaper at Dartmouth. “Whispers” takes the generation of legends back to the middle of the 20th century.

Now that Major League Baseball is back at home plate, it’s never a bad idea to devour a book about its history.

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