Confessions of a Baseball Purist: What's Right--and Wrong--with Baseball, as Seen from the Best Seat in the House

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9780801863165: Confessions of a Baseball Purist: What's Right--and Wrong--with Baseball, as Seen from the Best Seat in the House
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In Confessions of a Baseball Purist Jon Miller takes us on a journey into the heart of baseball as he's seen it from the best seat in the house. He brings to life the emotion of the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record, the history-soaked drama when the Giants and the Dodgers faced off in a crucial pennant-race series in September '97, Eddie Murray's fitting return to the Orioles to hit his 500th home run; and the day Edward Bennett Williams―then-owner of the Orioles―approved the plans for the creation of Camden Yards. But Jon doesn't shy away from pointing a finger at the darker forces at work in the game: the follies of radical realignment; excessive reliance on novelties such as widespread interleague play; and owners and general managers who can't make a move without discussing the economic ramifications, even though that's the last thing their fans want to hear about.

True to the broadcaster's art, Confessions of a Baseball Purist calls the game the way Jon Miller sees it: with wit, with style, and with absolute candor. For the baseball purist in all of us, Miller provides a rallying cry, some warm memories, and reasons to keep believing in the game we love.

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Broadcaster Jon Miller didn't know he was a baseball "purist" until acting commissioner Bud Selig accosted him with the moniker on national TV in 1993. "At one time," writes Miller in retrospect, "the label 'baseball purist' could've been worn as a badge of honor. Any legitimate fan would've been pleased to be thought of as a purist. But I suppose that to Mr. Selig, a purist was a lonely old man hunched over a windup Victrola, thumbing through a 1929 Who's Who in Baseball, fretting that the game just hasn't been the same since the Babe retired." In Confessions Miller admits to being a purist--loosely defined by him not as a forlorn fan stuck in a period-piece movie but as a fan knowledgeable enough to realize that baseball evolves for the good of the game--despite what myopic owners might try to perpetrate in the short term. In a chapter titled "The Good Old Days Are Now," Miller reminds die-hards of the old adage about things changing and staying the same. To wit, here's Ty Cobb in 1925: "The great trouble with baseball today is that most of the players are in the game for the money." Miller goes on to suggest that the 1990s will be remembered in 20 years as a "golden age" of hitting and that accusations of juiced balls, watered-down pitching, smaller ballparks, and expansion still cannot account for this decade's abundance of outstanding batters. The voice of the San Francisco Giants (and formerly the Baltimore Orioles) holds forth on everything from interleague play (it's good for the game but messy) to traveling with Cal Ripken (a game of Strat-O-Matic baseball reveals just how competitive the Iron Man really is). Occasionally he whiffs--as when he suggests that ballparks install 20-second time clocks to keep pitchers hurling at a reasonable pace. But ultimately what comes through the anecdotes and arguments is his tremendous love for the game and a generous capacity for recognizing the quality of the present and not just the past. --Langdon Cook

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An updated edition for baseball fans

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 1998
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