Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

Month: May 2016

NBA books that reflect the 21st century state of the league

The 3-point shooting prowess of the Golden State Warriors has led to many declarations about how they’re revolutionizing the game of basketball.

rise and fire, shawn fury, new sports books, nba booksWhile the jaw-dropping exploits of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and company have turned “small ball” into a formula for NBA championship success, the improbable evolution of the Warriors style was long in the making.

In “Rise and Fire,” Shawn Fury recounts how the game of basketball was transformed in the 1930s with the creation of the jump shot. At the time, a grinding, post-oriented game yielded low scores and little entertainment value.

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Sports Biblio Digest, 5.29.16: America’s ‘Summer of Soccer’

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

 Also In This Issue: Humorous Soccer Books; The Trailblazing C.M. Newton; America’s Best Sportswriter; 100 Runnings of the Indianapolis 500; New Sports Books

lionel messi, summer of soccerHere we go again.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend in the United States is the start of the summer season, and Sports Illustrated took a departure from its usual cover topics to portray Lionel Messi under the headline: “Summer of Soccer.” Continue reading

Soccer Books That Made Me Laugh: The Sports Biblio Podcast

I began writing about and deeply following soccer in the early 1990s, before the Internet and the abundance of televised games in the U.S. that younger fans have grown up with. Soccer books, especially those with an international perspective, were critical to my education in the sport.

all played out, soccer booksSince then, I’ve read and collected several dozen soccer books, and in more recent years they’re by American authors and some are specifically about American soccer. Soccer’s growing reception as a spectator sport in this country, with more respectful coverage from the baseball- and American football-obsessed U.S. press corps, seemed far-fetched when I began my journey. Continue reading

Throwing the books at the FIFA corruption case

For most of his nearly 16-year reign as president of FIFA, the international soccer governing body, Sepp Blatter seemed untouchable.

american huckster, soccer books, fifa corruptionIn early 2002, he was re-elected to a second term after spurning accusations by one of his top assistants, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, of criminal wrongdoing, including fraud and financial mismanagement.

A few months later, on the eve of the World Cup, the Swiss-born Blatter happily declared that “Vee haff svept avay Meestah Kleen!” Watching from the World Cup media center in Seoul, I was aghast. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest 5.22.16: Lots of baseball and running books

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also This Issue: Emil Zátopek Biographies and “Night Running;” The Undefeated Launches; Of Book Whores and a Bookslut; RIP Jim McMillian

great american novel, baseball and running booksSo many baseball books, so little time to read all the ones I’d like.

Even lists of baseball books can seem exhausting, as I mentioned this week in a short compilation of my favorites. They were listed for the simple reason that I enjoyed reading them.

Since I like really good send-ups, Philip Roth’s “The Great American Novel” made that short list, as it punctures the sentimentality and weighty gravitas that far too often passes for taking baseball seriously. Continue reading

Review: ‘The Selling of the Babe’ recounts the rise of Ruth

In the opening pages of “The Selling of the Babe,” his new account of how Babe Ruth came to be a New York Yankee, author Glenn Stout drops the following note about the World Series in 1918, when Ruth led the Boston Red Sox to a championship:

the selling of the babe, babe ruth, glenn stout, baseball booksIt was the last fall classic in history, Stout writes, “in which no one on either team struck a home run.”

The business and insider baseball machinations that followed, involving Red Sox owner Harry Frazee and his Yankees counterpart, Col. Jacob Ruppert, form the heart of Stout’s inquiry.
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One writer’s annual ’30 for 30′ list of baseball book reviews

Props to Los Angeles-area sportswriter Tom Hoffarth, who for several years has posted 30 baseball book reviews in as many days at the start of each Major League season on his website Farther Off the Wall.

grand old man of baseball, connie mack, norman macht, baseball booksA longtime media writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, Hoffarth then ranks the books in order of how he liked them, putting them under subheads such as “top shelf” and at the other end, “teetering on the Mendoza line.”

The reading for this “30 for 30” undertaking is done well in advance, of course, and the reviews are briskly-paced, informative and peppered with humor and sometimes wry observations. Continue reading

A compilation of baseball books that won’t bury you alive

I haven’t been able to find a reliable source of information on the sheer volume of baseball books that have been published since the early 1970s—around the time I became a fan of the game as a kid—but I would think the number figures to be in the thousands. Perhaps the tens of thousands.

lords of the realm, john helyar, baseball booksAs I’ve written previously, even a baseball bibliography geared toward me and my fellow baby boomers is as exhausting to contemplate as it must have been to compile.

As I paged through baseball book reviewer and blogger Ron Kaplan’s excellent 2013 book 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die,” I thought to myself: If I could slim this down to perhaps 100 that I haven’t read, would I be able to complete that abridged amount? Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest 5.15.16: Remembering Tony Cozier

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also In This Issue: Vin Scully, SI Cover Boy; Farewell, Upton Park; WNBA’s 20th Season; New Sports Books; RIP, Howie Garfinkel 

tony cozier, west indies cricketTony Cozier is being remembered around the world as the beloved longtime radio commentator on the West Indies cricket scene, helping forge an identity for the sport in the Caribbean as “the honeyed voice of cricket.”

Cozier, 75, died in his native Barbados this week. In a cricket journalism career that dated back to the late 1950s, Cozier was lauded for his knowledge, delivery and passion. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest 5.1.16: Justice for the Liverpool 96

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also In This Issue: Leicester City’s Historic Feat; Andrew Luck’s Book Club; Remembering Ozzie Silna and Blackie Sherrod

hillsborough: the truth, liverpool 96Earlier this week a jury in Sheffield, England, ruled that police negligence directly led to the deaths of 96 fans of Liverpool Football Club during an FA Cup match at the Hillsborough ground in 1989.

Outside the courthouse, family members and friends of those who perished in a crush of fans in the Leppings Lane stands broke out into renditions of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the Liverpool team anthem, relieved after pressing for justice for more than a quarter-century. Continue reading

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