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Supporting the Battle Against Alzheimer's Disease

Mike SteffanosFriday, June 15, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Later this month the Mets will host the 3rd Annual Alzheimer's Awareness Day at Shea Stadium. I've been contacted by the publisher of Once Upon A Game: Baseball's Greatest Memories by New York Times staff writer Alan Schwarz. Here is a portion of the press release:

"In baseball, the past is always present," George Will writes in the foreword to ONCE UPON A GAME: Baseball's Greatest Memories. Just in time for the start of a new baseball season, Alan Schwarz, author of the critically acclaimed The Numbers Game, has assembled a stirring and beautifully illustrated tribute to the past, a collection of personal recollections from the game's greatest stars and celebrities. To honor the book's theme of the preservation of memories, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association.

Once Upon A Game Among the reflections Schwarz captures:

  • Ernie Banks on the moment he coined the immortal line "Let's play two!"
  • Yogi Berra on failing his first professional tryout
  • Mike Piazza on his backyard batting lesson with Ted Williams
  • Roger Clemens on beating a traffic jam to strike out twenty Seattle Mariners
  • Terry Francona on managing Michael Jordan
  • George H. W. Bush on meeting Babe Ruth
  • Kevin Costner on the making of Bull Durham and Field of Dreams

Other luminaries who look back with Schwarz include Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Dom DiMaggio, Ozzie Guillen, Ken Griffey Jr., and many more. Each reminiscence is taken from an exclusive personal interview with Schwarz (with the exception of a few recollections from long-deceased players, such as Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel).

A book that belongs on every fan's shelf, ONCE UPON A GAME reminds us what a special game baseball is because of the lasting memories it generates.

I like the tie-in between preserving baseball memories and supporting the fight against Alzheimer's. I'll be reviewing this book at some point soon.

Speaking of book reviews, all of the work I did before we moved into the new house put me shamefully behind on a pair of books that I was sent for review. I will rectify that very soon. Here's a heads up on both books in the meantime:

With the Subway Series picking up again tonight, the subject matter of Banned in the Bronx couldn't be more timely. Here is some info from the book's web site:

Banned in the Bronx Baseball fans will relive the past 50 years of America's greatest pastime through the eyes of the Yankee Hater. This book chronicles the year-by-year account of each baseball season with little or no mention of the success of the New York Yankees, but rather a highlight of their failures. This is the Yankee Hater's narration of 50+ years of baseball, life and everything in between.

For more than 50 years Gene Hutmaker has observed baseball from every possible vantage point - a player, coach, umpire, and most importantly, a lifelong fan. His ability to recall obscure facts and stats has earned him the moniker 'The Baseball Rainman'. He recently retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 40 years and is a Viet Nam Army Veteran. He is married to Josephine (37 years and counting) and has two sons (both Yankee fans), co-author Michael, a University Dean, and Christopher, a former All-State baseball player and Wall Street Executive.

I have had this book the longest, so it will be my first review. The book can be purchased directly from the web site.

The Knuckleball From Hell is an irreverent novel by longtime Mets fan Michael Wayne. Here is some info from the web site:

The Knuckleball From Hell Are you a New York Mets fan, baseball fan, or sports fan? Or do you enjoy humorous, quirky, offbeat and irreverent stories? Or do you like your books to have liberal sprinklings of love and sex?

If your answer to any of the above questions is YES!, then this is the book for you. The Knuckleball From Hell is not only the funniest baseball book to come out in awhile, but also the funniest book to come out in a long time.

If the Marx Brothers and Three Stooges teamed up to form a baseball team, they'd be right at home in The Knuckleball From Hell.

Here you will meet chicken wing eating Department of Homeland Security special agents, a Rastafarian quantum physicist, Hare Krishnas, the superhero Donutman, surfer dudes, a vodka-imbibing Russian Cossack first baseman, a Kalahari bushman third baseman, two New York bus drivers who become the Mets general managers, the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" remade as the light hearted romantic comedy "Mockingbird," a mysterious stranger from Transylvania, and much, much more.

The Knuckleball From Hell tells the story of a fictional Mets team that is horrendous and been driven into the ground by its bankrupt owner, while the protagonist is a high school phenom who only wants to pitch for the Mets. Unfortunately, he blows out his arm and his career is seemingly over, until he has a chance encounter with a Professor on the lam from chicken wing eating Department of Homeland Security special agents, enabling the kid to join the Mets with a new pitch -- the Knuckleball from Hell.

So come along and check it out. And don't be afraid, although you may go on the disabled list after reading it for a sprained funny bone.

More information on the book, its author and how to buy it can be found on the book's web site. We'll get a review of this one up as soon as possible, too.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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