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A Very Solid Book

One of my favorite non-sports books is One More Time, a collection of columns by the late Chicago newspaper columnist, Mike Royko.

Royko was a huge Cubs fan, and dabbled in writing about baseball from time to time, mostly lamenting about how miserable the Cubs were.

One column, not in that book, but in The Fireside Book of Baseball, Volume IV, is a review of the Keith Hernandez book, "If At First," the updated version which includes "the exclusive inside story of the 1986 Championship Season."

Needless to say, Royko was quite unhappy to receive this book and it served as fodder for a hillarious column. The piece was called "A Very Solid Book."

To pay tribute, I've tinkered with his wording slightly, to share my own story about a book I hope never to receive.

A colleague brought to my attention a new hardcover book that had just come out. I seldom review books in this blog. But in this case, I'm going to make an exception.

The book is called "Living on the Black" and one of the authors is Tom Glavine, who is the former pitcher for the New York Mets baseball team. Actually, he didn't write it- John Feinstein did. But the words and story originated with Glavine.

I will begin my review by saying that this is a very solid book. The moment I saw it on the shelves of my local library, I threw it against the wall as hard as I could.

Then, I slammed it to the floor and jumped up and down on it. I beat it with a chair for several minutes, until I slumped onto my couch, emotionally and physically spent. Although slightly scuffed, the book was still intact.

It is also a book that can cause excitement. When I was told about it, I was immediately stirred to emotional heights. I shouted:

"Why are you showing me that piece of (profanity)? I say (profanity) Glavine and (profanity) the Mets and (profanity) you too!"

Returning to the library, I flung the book against the wall and gave it a kick. It still remained intact. I told you it was a solid book.

It is a book that can move a sensitive reader to tears, as I discovered when I mentioned its existence to a man who has been going to Mets games since 1962. He choked back a sob, a tear trickled down his cheek and he said: "Why them? Why not us?"

And it's a powerful book. As reviewers like to say: It can hit you right in the guts. This was proven when I talked about it with another Mets fan who said "Excuse me. I'm going to throw up."

But enough of generalities. Let us consider the contents of this book.

On one page, it reads: "I choked. I choked. I choked. I choked. And yes, I was merely a spy for the Braves from 2003 to 2007."

I know that sounds incomprehensible, but that's the way the story reads when you rip the pages of a book in half, one by one, and then insert new ones with your own text.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not doing that out of spite. I'm a good sport, a cheerful loser. The fact is, I have found this to be a useful book.

I have been tearing out the pages and crumpling them into little wads. When I have about 30 or 40, I put them into my fireplace under the kindling and light them. They're excellent for getting a fire started.

True Metkos know...During Mike Royko's tenure as a newspaper columnist, the Mets had 26 walk-off wins against the Cubs.

If you're interested in purchasing One More Time by Mike Royko, click here

PS: Kudos to Willie for coming as close as he could to knocking the man who made the last out of the 2006 NLCS

PPS: Don't know if anyone saw it, but my adopted Rays got a "chalk-off" win on Saturday. The Rays wore St. Petersburg Pelicans jerseys in tribute to the 1989 Senior Professional Baseball Assocation championship team. That squad included former Mets: Dock Ellis, Jon Matlack, Joe Sambito, Butch Benton, Sergio Ferrer, Gary Rajsich, Lenny Randle, Steve Henderson, Jerry Martin and Pat Zachry.


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