As you can see my blog centers on baseball, but it is more than that. My blog is about baseball in a broad way, covering baseball history and nostalgia, but also current baseball issues.
I am a longtime fan and still lace up my “spikes” (only rubber, metal is forbidden) for the senior softball circuit. But I’m not one of those who long for the good old days and engage in endless debates about how much better baseball was way back when. I have a profound appreciation for baseball’s rich history, and I am insufferably nostalgic, but I thoroughly love today’s game with its panoply of young stars and exquisite TV coverage. I’m a fantasy baseball fanatic and still enjoy going to live games especially our local minor league teams. Oh, and did I mention I have written two baseball themed books, Mickey Mantle’s Last Home Run and Grandpa Gordy’s Greatest World Series Games. These two books by no means qualify me as a baseball expert but they should at least confirm my passion for the game. Both books deal with the history of the game, the nostalgia, the drama, and the quirkiness as will my blog. And my blog will go on to address the importance of baseball as a grounding influence in life. As our national pastime it has served as the foundation for countless interpersonal relationships in a way that keeps things from coming apart. Almost like how gravity keeps the solar system from drifting apart baseball has served as a force to bind together friends, as in TJ and Jonathan the main characters in Mickey Mantle’s Last Home Run, and generations as Grandpa Gordy tells the stories of the greatest World Series Games to his two grandchildren. So Back Home with Baseball signifies how baseball can serve as a foundation, a home so to speak in time of constant change and never-ending stress.
The “back home” in my titled also pays homage to my muse and literary guiding light, the legendary songwriter and Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan and the title to his fifth alum the brilliant “Bringing It All Back Home”. My take on the meaning of Dylan’s album title is that with this fifth album Dylan was returning to his roots. Dylan burst on the scene in the early 1960’s with his incredible folk classics like Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times they are A Changing but in his heart, he was always just a rock an’ roller. His genius allowed him to focus in on the social currents of the time and he was able to make an indelible contribution to the emerging cultural ethos with his early albums and songs, however he never wanted to be the leader of a movement. He wanted to be a rock an’ roller like Little Richard or simply a song and dance man. And that is what he did when he plugged in for his first electric alum Bringin’ It All Back Home, which had such rock classics as Maggie’s Farm, the blues-rock gem It Takes a Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry, and what some say was the first ever rap classic Subterranean Homesick Blues. Although he brought it all back home on side one, I must mention that Dylan continued to with his amazing folk song writing on his incredible side two which included the masterpiece Mr. Tambourine Man. Thus, Back Home with Baseball brings us back to that solid and indelible foundation that baseball has provided me and probably many of you.
One of my earliest memories is of playing baseball in our backyard with my brother. We called it the “Mickey Mantle Yogi Berra Game” where my brother got to be the Mick and I was Yogi. Although my brother being the oldest got to first pick and of course chose the Mick I was perfectly content to be the less glamorous though extremely popular Yogi. These and many other wonderful baseball memories grounded me as they did TJ in my book. And would become even more important as we got older the world began to become much scarier and more complex. As in my book Mickey Mantle’s Last Home Run, I will deal with these issues. My book is set in 1968 the year of Mantle’s last home run and the year when our country appeared to come apart at the seams not unlike when Roy Hobbs in the Natural blasted a ball so hard, he tore the cover off. I will touch on the events of that tumultuous year and how they relate today. But as in my books I will try to remain optimistic and focus on the themes of friendship and family. Of reconciliation and redemption. And I’ll even endeavor to go beyond these issues and talk about how we can improve things from simple steps like getting reluctant readers to enjoy a book, to planting trees and of course to learn how to drag a bunt.
I hope you enjoy my blog. Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment if you care to and subscribe if you’d like to see more.