Monday, March 14, 2011

And now for something completely different

It seems sometimes like the books I read flow into each other, offering different takes on overlapping themes. Last spring after reading Willie Mays, I hit Joe Cronin, in which Mark Armour discussed the Red Sox's heel-dragging approach to integration, including passing on the opportunity to sign Mays. Within a short span over the summer I read Satch, Dizzy and Rapid Robert and Rickwood Field, about the historic stadium that hosted so many great barnstorming contests.

Reading 1921 set me up wonderfully for Diamond Ruby, which is set in the same era. There were the Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle bios, which obviously touched on each other at points, as the Henry Aaron book meshed in spots with the Mays one. And When the Game Changed and Big Hair and Plastic Grass covered so much of the same '70s ground that they were combined into one review.

Thus far this year, I'm zigging and zagging all over the map. I started with John Thorn's Baseball in the Garden of Eden, about the sport's early roots. Next up came Jonah Keri's The Extra 2%, about the new regime's efforts to turn the Tampa Bay Rays from doormats to contenders. Then it was on to Neil Lanctot's new Roy Campanella biography. This week I took another 180-degree turn, starting Pitching in the Promised Land, about Aaron Pribble's season in Israel. Four very different books with very different styles.

I've still got quite a stack to work through, and it may be awhile yet before I get to any with common themes. There's even a cookbook on the way, called Diamond Dishes, which supposedly features meals cooked by actual big league stars. I'll pick out a couple of recipes to test out and have a little fun making something new. Next time Evan Longoria drops by for dinner I can serve up one of his favorites. (I might skip Miguel Cabrera's recipe, though. I'm a little concerned about the after effects.)

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