Bessie Sullivan: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.
If you are a sports fan, summer is a great time to watch baseball, to me it seems like the ultimate activity for a lazy summer afternoon. It is also a sport you can tune in and out of so you can do other things while it’s on, lots of gardening in my childhood was done with the radio tuned to an Expos game. I know I am not alone in the love of baseball because books keep being published on the subject and they keep arriving at the library.
Today on Library Moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about a recent book about baseball.
Sherrill Sherwood, Collections Development: Jeff Passan is the lead baseball columnist for Yahoo Sports and has recently published his book The Arm: inside the billion-dollar mystery of the most valuable commodity in sports. Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on pitchers—five times the salary of all NFL quarterbacks combined. Pitchers are the lifeblood of the sport, the ones who win championships, but today they face an epidemic unlike any baseball has ever seen. One tiny ligament in the elbow keeps snapping and sending teenagers and major leaguers alike to undergo surgery, an issue the baseball establishment ignored for decades. For three years Passan has traveled the world to better understand the mechanics of the arm and its place in the sport’s past, present, and future. He got the inside story of how the Chicago Cubs decided to spend $155 million on one pitcher. He sat down for a rare interview with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, whose career ended at 30 because of an arm injury. He went to Japan to understand how another baseball-obsessed nation deals with this crisis. And he followed two major league pitchers as they returned from Tommy John surgery, the revolutionary procedure named for the former All-Star who first underwent it more than 40 years ago. Equal parts medical thriller and cautionary tale, The Arm is a searing exploration of baseball’s most valuable commodity and the redemption that can be found in one fragile and mysterious limb.
Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Did you know that if you unwound all the yarn in a baseball it would reach from the street to the top of the Empire State building? And did you know that they used to use fish eyes in the centre of baseballs to give them bounce? If you like strange and amazing facts, or baseball, or strange and amazing facts about baseball, then you should read Baseballogy. Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester, who along with being the author of the popular Neil Flambe series is also a former sportscaster, Baseballogy covers everything you didn’t even know you wanted to know about baseball. From the history of the game, including a timeline of what country’s started baseball and when, to the physics of what bodily fluids make a spitball swerve best, to how baseball players have gotten bigger since the 6’2 Babe Ruth towered over his teammates. Especially good for reluctant readers, Baseballogy has colourful illustrations and graphics, that make the science and art of baseball come alive whether your young reader is already a fan or just getting started.
Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: If you have ever watched a Toronto Blue Jays broadcast you will have heard the slightly nasal twang of Buck Martinez. Martinez has been in and around professional baseball for nearly fifty years as a player, manager and broadcaster. Currently he is the play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays, he has witnessed enormous change in the game he loves, as it has morphed from a grassroots pastime to big business. Not all of the change has been for the better, and today’s fans struggle to connect to their on-the-field heroes as loyalty to club and player waivers and free agency constantly changes the face of every team’s roster.
In Martinez’s recent book Change Up, he offers his unique insights into how Major League Baseball might reconnect with its fan base, how the clubs might train and prepare their players for their time in “The Show,” and how players might approach the sport in a time of sagging fan interest. Martinez isn’t shy with his opinions, whether they be on pitch count, how to develop players through the minor-league system, and even if there should be a minor-league system at all. Always entertaining, Martinez shares brilliant insights and inside pitches about summer’s favourite game.
Official summer is nearly here, and there are several ball diamonds to be found in the County including the one in Haliburton Village that has just been relocated from near the arena to Glebe Park. The beauty of this new location is that you can take in a game, wander the sculpture forest, and even visit the Haliburton Highlands Museum depending on what time of day you happen to be there. That’s it for this week’s episode of Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 CanoeFM.
*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM June 12th – 18th, 2016.