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Long Balls, No Strikes: What Baseball Must…

Long Balls, No Strikes: What Baseball Must Do to Keep the Good Times…

by Joe Morgan

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0609605240, Hardcover)

The 1998 season was a year of wonders, to be sure, but attendance remained lower than it was before the '94 strike, 14 clubs suffered box-office declines, and the TV ratings for the World Series were in the tank. "Baseball is back," Hall-of-Fame second baseman Joe Morgan observes, "but it's not back all the way." One of the National Pastime's most engaging and entertaining explainers--as broadcaster, author, and spokesman--Morgan steps up in complexity from the basics of his last effort, Baseball for Dummies, to take some candid swings at what's right with the game these days, what's wrong with it, and how the wrongs can be righted. Naturally, he insists that baseball's owners and the players union put their house in order, and here he's not afraid to point fingers and name names. He hates that an owner like the White Sox's Jerry Reinsdorf can cry "about the lack of fiscal responsibility" in the game and then break the bank 18 months later to sign Albert Belle, a move that was so expensive he had to dismantle his team to pay for it. "Who," asks Morgan, "twisted his arm to do that?" Nor does he keep still about baseball's less-than-excellent record on minority hiring in executive and managerial positions. On the field, he strongly advocates a return to more base stealing and a higher mound, the dumping of the DH, and a less fluid strike zone. In a nice touch, he recruits the opinions of prominent baseball names--like union head Donald Fehr, manager Dusty Baker, executive Mike Veeck, and pitcher David Cone--and then comments on them. He presents a strong case for why former teammate Pete Rose's only admission to the Hall should be by ticket.

For Morgan, the 1998 season opened a window, but that's all it did. "How we utilize this opportunity," he writes, "will determine whether baseball can reclaim its title as the National Pastime, or will become a sport that has passed its time." --Jeff Silverman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)

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