Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Recently Published Sports Books

The Wait Is Over: The New York Rangers and the 1994 Stanley Cup by John Kreiser (Foreword by Neil Smith)
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Sports Publishing; 20th Anniversary edition (May 6, 2014)

Kreiser revisits the 1994 Stanley Cup victory as the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game series. Kreiser recounts the entire season as he interviews numerous folks involved. For Rangers fans wanting to relive the glory, this book is one to check out.

This Day in Philadelphia Sports by Brian Startare and Kevin Reavy (Foreword by Charlie Manuel)
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Sports Publishing (June 3, 2014)

What Startare and Reavy have done is take Philadelphia sports fans on a tour one day at a time. Want to know what happened on a certain day? They have it covered.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review - Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher

Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher by Rob Goldman (Foreword by Reid Ryan)
Hardcover: 366 pages
Publisher: Triumph Books (April 1, 2014)

Rob Goldman brings an interesting perspective to his biography of  Nolan Ryan in that he was the bat boy for the California Angels during the 1970s.

When one thinks of The Ryan Express, they think of the 100 mph fastball, over 5,700 strikeouts during a career that spanned 27 years and a historic seven no-hitters.

Ryan wrote a memoir or two but what Goldman presents is, for the first time, a comprehensive biography of one of the greatest power pitchers of all time.  Because it is the first book written about Ryan since the 1990s, it may just be the definitive biography as it goes all the way through the 2013 season when Ryan exited his post as CEO of the Texas Rangers.  Perhaps in an afterword for the paperback edition, there will be mention of his signing on with the Houston Astros as an executive advisor in early 2014.

There's some mention of Ryan's life before he was first scouted by the New York Mets but most of all that, I imagine, would have been touched upon in one of his previously published books in the 1990s.  This book, for the most part, follows Ryan's career as a player and executive.

Stories are told by some of baseball's all time greats including Dave Winfield and Pete Rose as they share their take on Ryan.  Others include journeymen, teammates, coaches, trainers, and clubhouse workers.  There are many never-before-heard stories about Ryan and personal recollections of games, including those no-hitters.

Goldman explores what made Ryan the pitcher that he became.  This coincided with his trade to the Angels in the early 1970s.  Maybe if Ryan wasn't out for so many days or weeks at a time due to his army commitments in the late 1960s, he would have done better with the Mets.  But by being out for days and weeks at a time, it just was not possible to build a pitching rhythm.

Ryan's personality on the field could not be more unlike who he was off the field.  Here's a guy that offered advice to Randy Johnson after a game against the Seattle Mariners in 1992.  Without that intervention, Johnson does not become a future Hall of Famer.

Previous books may have said what Ryan accomplished in his playing career but this one goes further in explaining how Nolan accomplished it.

There were people that were key to extending Nolan's career as a pitcher and they included Tom Morgan, Jimmie Reese, Gene Coleman, and Tom House.  Ryan was one of the early pitchers to pioneer strength and conditioning to his routine.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Book Review: Dirty Daddy by Bob Saget

Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian by Bob Saget
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: It Books (April 8, 2014)

To many, Bob Saget is known as Danny Tanner, the father on Full House.  I grew up watching Saget star as Tanner on the long-running ABC sitcom and watched many reruns during my years in college when they aired on ABC Family.  To me, he'll always be the host of America's Funniest Home Videos...which was YouTube before YouTube.

But there's more to Saget than meets the eye.  Oh, yes, there is.  Saget's memoir, Dirty Daddy, is by no means a book for those that think his humor is closer to that of Full House.  Far from it in fact.  Saget's stand-up act is as far from clean as it gets.  His book, just like his stand-up, is just as...dirty.

Saget's sick, twisted sense of humor does not stop him from delivering a memoir that is uproarious, uncensored, and heartfelt.  Saget's book is sincere, hilarious, and especially, dirty.  Saget's voice is felt throughout the uncensored book, which explains why it was such a quick read for me.

It's not just all comedy in Dirty Daddy.  There are heartbreaking stories from Bob's life as well.  He saw many of his uncles die to heart attacks at relatively young ages.  Two sisters died at young ages as well.  But, despite the heartbreak, the stories are genuine.  Saget uses humor to get through his pain and dark times in his life.  He made the decision a long time ago that he would never drink and drive or drive and text.

Having three daughters of his own, Saget offers some parenting advice along with advice about relationships.

There's those who influenced Saget, be it in life or comedy: his family and legendary comedians such as Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Johnny Carson, and George Carlin.

There's a place for immature humor, or humor for mature audiences only, as well as family comedy.  It comes as no surprise that there are some behind-the-scenes stories of Full House.  Saget shares why he took up Comedy Central's offer to roast him and what changes he made them do.  There's the appearances on Entourage and The Aristocrats, solidifying Saget as a true original with a dirty sense of humor and unique personality, not to mention the cameo in Half-Baked.

I highly recommend Saget's book but with a word of caution:  If you are not familiar with his stand-up act, you'll never look at Bob Saget in the same way again.