MLB Bookshelf: New Expos Chronology Captures Team's Emotional Rise And Fall
Author Jonah Keri has released "Up, Up, & Away," the story of the Expos' time in Montreal, and while the book is a chronological history, a "tribute to Keri's skill is that it never reads like a textbook," according to Bill Beacon of the CP. Keri's work is "thoroughly researched and based on extensive interviews with the key owners, managers and players in the team's history." It covers the franchise "from its beginnings as one of former big-thinking mayor Jean Drapeau's projects to its rise as a contending team that never quite won it all, to its demise amid empty seats and resentment" (CP, 3/27). The GLOBE & MAIL's David McGimpsey wrote the book is a "compelling narrative of a team without a sense of destiny, a team always shadowed by its unlikelihood and its discounted otherness." Seeing the franchise "as a story rather than as a lost cause, Keri manages to weave anecdotal insider information through clear-eyed detailing of the franchise’s business." It is "frequently funny and uplifting but still in tune with the litany of 'what ifs' which surround any shipwreck story" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/29). The NATIONAL POST's Mike Spry wrote the book "isn’t just the definitive history of the Expos; it’s a love letter to a city, and a wish for their return" (NATIONAL POST, 3/29). In Edmonton, John MacKinnon wrote Expos history is "freighted with anecdote and memorable characters." Keri’s book "covers most of them -- at once the book’s great strength and chief weakness." The portions of "Up, Up & Away" that deal with the '94 team and the "slow, multifactorial demise of the team in Montreal are surehanded and well-presented" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 3/28). BASEBALL AMERICA's J.J. Cooper wrote the book is a "must-read for Expos fans and a worthwhile read for fans of baseball history." However, it "won’t be very revelatory to diehard baseball fans" (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 3/26).
ROSE'S THORNS: On Long Island, Matthew Price wrote SI's Kostya Kennedy "explores the life and legacy of one of the game's most controversial players" in her new book, "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma." Kennedy "does not apologize for Rose's flaws" and "asks you to weigh the lurid allegations against Rose, and the crooked company he kept." Kennedy in the book asks, "What is the price of sin? Should forgiveness be granted only to the contrite? Does someone deserve harsher punishment for having let down his followers, for having fallen from especially great heights?" Price noted the "challenging, sometimes overwritten book offers no easy answers" (NEWSDAY, 3/29).
POISON IVY? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Joseph Epstein reviewed columnist George Will's new release, titled "A Nice Little Place On The North Side." The argument of Will's book on Wrigley Field is that the "atmosphere of nostalgia, the historical feel of the Cubs' home stadium, 'is part cause and part symptom of the Cubs' dysfunctional performance.'" How "dysfunctional it has been he sets out in dismaying detail, statistical and anecdotal." Epstein: "The question is: Has the antique elegance of Wrigley Field been an enticement for the team's owners to do nothing to improve the team, since the fans, allured by the field's fading grandeur, come out in any case?" The book is "replete with the amusing trivia that in baseball constitutes lore," and Will "takes us through the various owners of the Cubs" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/22).
A BRAWL'S BACKSTORY: MLB.com's Mike Bauman reviewed John Rosengren's "The Fight Of Our Lives: How Juan Marichal And John Roseboro Turned Baseball's Ugliest Brawl Into A Story of Forgiveness And Redemption." One of the book's strengths is that Rosengren "puts each man in the context of place and time." Marichal is "frequently troubled by social and political upheaval in the Dominican Republic," while Roseboro "continues to encounter prejudice in baseball, even as the civil rights movement makes long-awaited progress in American society." So Aug. 22, 1965, the day of the Marichal-Roseboro incident, is "presented to us only after the personal histories of the two men and the political and social histories of their times are in place" (MLB.com, 3/25).
SOMETIMES YOU WANNA GO: Author John Feinstein on Friday appeared on PBS' "Charlie Rose" to promote his latest book, "Where Nobody Knows Your Name." Rose said the book "takes us behind the scenes of life in the minor leagues of baseball." Feinstein said these players, despite being in the minors, have "beaten the odds" to get there. He said the "way I got the title for this book" was because former Cubs P Mark Prior was attempting a comeback playing for the Triple-A Int'l League Pawtucket Red Sox and as he was coming into the game as a reliever, "nobody in the ballpark notices" because the fans are fixated on a promotion called "Whack An Intern" ("Charlie Rose," PBS, 3/28).