Catching up with my own press: a whole mess o’ interviews

September 6th, 2007 → 9:38 am @

I’m a couple of weeks late on this, but back in mid-August, Red Sox Monster blogger Dan Lamothe posted a lengthy interview with me about all manner of subjects Sox-related. Lamothe’s a smart guy, and he got me thinking about many a subject. Way back in late July, Gelf’s Michael Gluckstadt interviewed me in advance of my August 1 reading as part of the Varsity Letters series; that piece is also an interesting read. And just yesterday, Andy Smith of Bugs and Cranks ran a post addressing speculation that Dan Duquette is being considered for the Pirates GM position; my thoughts, along with those of others, are here.

Post Categories: Dan Duquette & Feeding the Monster Readings & Interviews

This week: Happy endings with Joe Posnanski

July 30th, 2007 → 9:04 am @

July has been a slow month for me (at least on the FTM blog count); already, August looks to be a more satisfying time for those of you who need some more Mnookin in your mornings. Or evenings, as it were: this Wednesday night, I’ll be reading at New York’s Happy Ending Lounge as part of the Varsity Letters Reading Series. Best of all, I’ll be joined by two other writers: Sally Jenkins, author of “The Real All Americans: The Team that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation,” and the inimitable Joe Posnanski, author of the excellent Buck O’Neil biography, The Soul of Baseball. I first met Posnanski in August ’05, when the Jose Lima and the Royals were routing Schilling and the Sox in KC’s Kaufman Stadium. I’m a big fan of his work — baseball fans would be well served by regularly reading his column in the KC Star — and his presence there guarantees a classy evening. The Happy Ending is at 302 Broome St between Forsyth and Eldridge; the reading starts at 8 pm, and books and booze will both be available for sale (although I’ll only sign books).


Don’t yet have your copy of Feeding the Monster, the Boston Globe and New York Times bestseller that’s been called “Red Sox porn”? Can’t make it on Wednesday? Don’t worry — now’s the perfect time to buy your copy (available from Amazon for only $10.20 (cheap)…and you can even get your copy inscribed with one of these free, signed, personalized bookplates. They’re really nice. Seriously: ask anyone you know who has one.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings & Joe Posnanski

Putting it all into perspective…

June 14th, 2007 → 10:55 am @

Several readers have written in to ask me why I haven’t used Tuesday’s typically ill-informed Murray Chass column as an excuse to take some more swings at my favorite punching bag. The story, “A Chance of Yankee Thunder at Boston,” posited that the Yankees could overtake the Sox before the All-Star break: “At the rate at which the Yankees are slashing into Boston’s lead in the American League East, they will pass the Red Sox in the standings by July 4.” To give you a bit of perspective of just how stupid a comment like this is, the Yankees were cutting into the Sox’s lead during a stretch in which they were undefeated and the Sox were playing below .500. That’s like saying after a night after a Devil Rays victory that Tampa should be projected to win every single game from there on out.

But logic has never been Murray’s strong point…and, indeed, after dropping another game at Fenway last night, even the natives are getting restless. The Sox are 5-7 in May, while the Yankees are 10-2, and are winners of eight straight. That seemingly impregnable 14.5 games is at 8.5 games; a hearty figure that would be cause for celebration any other season but now seems like reason enough to start gnawing those fingernails. And, indeed, expect to see plenty of stories (and hear plenty of the-end-is-nigh segments on the radio) in the days to come. (An aside: how is it that sportswriters are never forced to explain why they proclaim a team invincible and deeply flawed within a period of several weeks…when nothing has changed except for the vagaries of a long season? But I digress.)

So here’s a short list of reasons not to worry…

* Just as Okajima was not going to finish the season with a .0001 ERA, the Yankees pitchers are not going to keep on performing this consistently well. I remain convinced that Clemens is a #3 AL starter, and nothing in his first start made me think any differently. Pettitte has been pitching above his level, and I’d expect Mussina to resemble the 5-inning mediocrity much more than I’d expect him to keep on looking like an ace, as he did last night.
* There are several trends that are unlikely to be sustained. Posada isn’t going to end the season looking like Ted Williams (just as Alex Cora wasn’t going to hit .400 all year…and Pedroia wasn’t going to end up at .200). Manny isn’t going to end the year having remade himself as a singles hitter. And JDD — who’s been among the MLB power leaders for the last half-decade — isn’t going to look this anemic all year, either. (By the same token, I’m assuming Abreu has actually turned a corner.)

* Even Boston’s pitching staff falters a bit — and they will — the rotation looks to be strong and deep enough to end the year pretty near the top of the heap.

* Even the worst teams go on tears. Three years ago, the Devil Rays won 12 in a row. (Granted, 11 of those were against the AAAA-NL, but still.) The Yankees are better than they looked for the first third of the season; they’re not this good. Their rotation is too old; too many key players are scuffed up (Damon) or about to enter exile (Giambi). The next three-and-a-half months aren’t going to be a cakewalk. But this isn’t going to be 1978 all over again, either.

So gnaw those fingernails. Just don’t reserve a spot on the Tobin. You’re much more likely to need to keep October free…


Want to hear me discuss this, and much, much more? Head down to NYC’s Professor Thoms tonight, where I’ll be reading, talking, signing books, and encouraging copious consumption of alcohol in the hopes that that’ll spur book sales…

Post Categories: 2007 Season & Feeding the Monster Readings & Red Sox & Red Sox Fans & Yankees

All I want is to be next to you

June 3rd, 2007 → 10:44 pm @

Sadly, I’m not talking about a Police reunion show. (I saw the Synchronicty tour way back in ’84. My dad fell asleep and I didn’t impress Suzanne Connors enough to get a kiss. It was still a great show.) I want to be next to all of you, and thankfully, I’ll be getting a chance in the coming weeks, with readings scheduled in New York, Boston, Cambridge, and Winchester. Check out the appearances page for all the down and dirty details; here’s you chance to get an honest-to-goodness signed copy of Feeding the Monster. And seriously, what could possibly be better beach reading during a summer like this? (If you can’t make it, you can still order the hardcover from Amazon for only $17.16 (cheap!), or, starting on Tuesday, the paperback from Amazon for only $10.20 (cheaper!). And, of course, free signed and personalized bookplates are still here for the asking. They’re really nice. Seriously: ask anyone you know who has one.)

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings

Dover, here I come!

April 4th, 2007 → 9:54 am @

The beginning of the baseball season means more than just frustrating Opening Day losses and tendentious handwringing about Schilling’s start. It also means that…I’ll be in a town near you* talking about Feeding the Monster and the 2007 campaign. That’s right: next Monday, I’ll be at the Dover Public Library at 56 Dedham Street in Dover; the wonderful men and women there have even provided easy-to-follow directions from virtually anywhere (in the greater Boston area). If you didn’t get a chance to heckle, badger, or berate+# me last summer, here’s your chance. Don’t let it pass you by.

* So long as you live near Dover, MA.

+ Or praise.

# This is also your chance to get me to actually sign your book. Of course, if you can’t make it, free, personalized bookplates are still available to put into the copy of FTM you’re about to purchase from Amazon for only $17.16 (cheap!).

Post Categories: 2007 Season & Feeding the Monster Readings

Your one-stop holiday shopping

December 4th, 2006 → 11:16 am @

Holiday season is upon us, and what better gift to buy the loved ones and relatives in your life than a personalized, inscribed copy of Feeding the Monster? (That’s a rhetorical question: there is no better gift.) Don’t know what to get that irascible uncle? Having trouble finding something meaningful for your brother in law? Your worries are over. Readers from Hawaii to Maine to Afghanistan (for real) have all written in with describing the bliss and joy they’ve brought to others. So don’t delay! Order today!

For you Boston-area fans that want some in-person love, I’ll be in the Prudential Center B&N on December 14th from noon until two. And I promise I’ll shower beforehand.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings & One-stop holiday shopping

Reflections from (three-quarters of) a week on the road

November 6th, 2006 → 11:37 am @

Last week was the final chunk of concentrated Feeding the Monster appearances for the year, with readings at the Baseball Analysis at Tufts student organization, the Millbury Public Library, a Boston-based investment firm, the annual convention of the Boston chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, Needham’s Temple Beth Shalom, and the Woburn Public Library. Without further ado…

* Despite the sauna-like heat in a basement lecture hall, the members of Baseball Analysis at Tufts — one of the cooler student groups around — managed to not only stay awake but ask perhaps the most interesting and educated questions of any audience I’ve spoken to thus far. I don’t know what’s in the water in Medford, but it sure makes those kids right smart. Schwag: one extra-large Tufts t-shirt. (Apparently they think I’m built more like Papi and less like Pedro.)

* The best things about speaking at a place of employment are: a) everyone’s happy to see you — it means less time working!, and b) everyone realizes what a good holiday gift a signed copy of FTM makes for their in-laws and loved ones alike. Schwag: peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and beer. (I didn’t partake of the latter.)

* The Friends of the Millbury Public Library make damn good brownies. Schwag: a take-home plate of blondies, chocolate cookies, and some sort of coconut concoction.

* The intimidation factor of speaking in front of a local SABR chapter is outweighed by the intellectual stimulation provided by an audience that has, as should be expected, a different take on almost everything having to do with the game. Schwag: a pen. (Technically that was pilfered, but still.)

* Jews sure do know how to eat. (No schwag at this one, but lots of bagels and lox.)

* Jim Schreider, my 11th-grade math teacher, looks almost exactly like he looked in 1988. He was one of the most enjoyable teachers I had; yesterday I learned that he misses NNHS about as much as I do, and now gives private SAT lessons to Boston-area students. (If, for some reason, you need SAT lessons look this guy up.)

* The Woburn Public Library, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson (who also designed Boston’s Trinity Church), is one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever been in.

* The Mystic River Lakes are gorgeous.

* The New England Mobile Book Fair rules. (I already knew that, but it never hurts to point it out again.)

There are some more dates coming up, including one this Wednesday at the Springfield Public Forum and one next week at a Fenway Fundraiser. And if you’re interested in having me come to speak at your place of employment, let me know…

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings