Monday, April 18, 2011

the book from where i sit

Just finished reading Doug Glanville's The Game from where I Stand over the weekend. It fulfilled my quota of a baseball book every April, a little personal reading exercise I've participated in for the last 5 or six years.

Baseball and books seem to go hand in hand together. Perhaps because unlike some other, faster paced sports, in baseball there can be a story within every pitch.

But that's not what Glanville approaches in his book. The Game From Where I Stand is more of a very brief life story about a man who's primary occupation has been baseball for the past few years. Glanville does a good job of heaping praise; for example his admiration for Tom Glavine isn't anything groundbreaking for anyone who's been exposed to Glavine's personality from beat writers. He does an even better job of respecting the privacy of others, whether it be a female associate or a player suspected of juicing (whose name has not been revealed by the Mitchell report).

In that respect, his book fails in the shocking expose category, a category easily catered to by the TMZing of mainstream society. His stories are real, but in keeping somethings held back you get to understand that Glanville is a man of integrity who will not attract attention to himself by using others.

I'm not saying I want an expose of a book like Canseco's Juiced, far from it. Although releasing a name or two as a suspected "juicer" surely would have put Glanville's book on a more populated book tour and perhaps garnered a greater release, it would have lowered the class of the book.

This book has class. It's about baseball from the viewpoint of a professional major leaguer who's played very recently. His anecdotes are heartfelt; and if you're an Expos fan, you will enjoy his take on Montreal.

It was fun to read, a good insight into another major leaguer. To that extent I will provide a single excerpt of a passage that spoke to me;

We call it advancement, the act of getting closer to something ahead or in front of us. But when we lock in on that target as the next step, sometimes we forget what got us here. The need to demonstrated success, the show, and glitter all play into why we can end up chasing illusions that take us away from our true selves.
All players battle with this in some form, and most get lost for at least a moment or two. (If you are lucky, that's the worst of it.) But when you get disoriented, you just have to be courageous enough to turn around, regroup, and look for home. That place where you can look closer of the matchup of needs versus wants.
Even if you have to go back down those stairs for a while.

morass n: swamp