Baseball is my favorite sport, no doubt about it. (Hockey is #2, but that sport is on life support thanks to last year’s strike and the lack of a serious national TV contract – The Outdoor Life Network?!) Baseball is amazingly resilient. Despite strikes, the lack of a salary cap and today’s steroid problems, I keep coming back. I guess it’s mostly because it’s the game I was raised on. I have great memories of going to Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh and watching Roberto Clemente play right field. What an unbelievably talented guy he was. (I’m also the proud owner of 2 seats from Three Rivers Stadium – a nice gift from my sister who bought them at auction before the stadium was demolished.)
I also remember watching Hank Aaron hit #715 against Al Downing. Aaron was and is a class act, which is why it’s so painful to watch Barry Bonds closing in on his record. Quite a few people are apparently interested in the Bonds story, hence the success of the recently published Game of Shadows. As I write this post the book is #5 on Amazon. That’s the same ranking it had overall last week according to Bookscan. For the week, this book outsold the likes of The Da Vinci Code, The World is Flat, The 5th Horseman and every single Sudoku book out there!
The 2006 season opens tomorrow night and I can’t wait. It’s time for me to start reading one of the many baseball books I didn’t get to last year. I think I’ll start with The Pirates Reader. For anyone who is interested, my favorite baseball books include: The Boys of Summer, Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Ball Four.
I never read Jose Conseco’s book from last year. I also won’t be reading Game of Shadows. The Sports Illustrated excerpt from that book gave me everything I needed to know. Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth will always be the home run champs in my book.
P.S. – Since the Pirates are always mathematically eliminated by the second day of the season, I’ll turn my attention to my other favorite team: Go Yankees!