Friday, November 22, 2013

Having a blast at the St. Louis Jewish book festival

Overdue in posting about my wonderful experience at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival earlier this month.

I was part of the Sports Night panel with Oliver Horovitz, author of An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course. I will admit to a bit of jealousy as Horovitz had a "local presence" and the post-discussion line up for his book was about twice as long as mine. Childish, to be sure. Nevertheless, the hosts were most amicable (Alan Spector, one of the program's sponsors, is himself an author of Baseball, Never Too Old to Play the Game).

The panel, which was moderated by Tom Ackerman, sports director of KMOX RADIO, brought out a lot of baseball and golf fans "of a certain age" (more, it seems, of the latter; I guess more people play golf than baseball, Spector and myself notwithstanding). Horovitz and I answered Ackerman's thought-provoking questions before the audience chimed in with their queries and comments (again, mostly directed at the golf guy; how I hate him).

Right off the bat (heh) my visit started off nicely when I was met at the airport by a gentleman who had gone to high school with Art Shamsky and knew Ken Holtzman. He regaled me with stories of having attended the Aug. 19, 1951, game between the St. Louis Browns (who would become the Baltimore Orioles two years later) and the Detroit Tigers. The significance of that particular contest between two mediocre teams? It marked the one and only apperance of "Bill Veeck's midget," Eddie Gaedel. The return ride the next morning provided similar interesting baseball conversation with the woman who drove me. They truly love their baseball in St. Louis.

Many thanks to Joel Marion for providing the photos.

"And a good time was had by all."
With Oliver Horovitz, center, and Tom Ackerman. I'm not used to being the shortest guy in the picture. But I learned an impoortant photo tip from Joel Marion: keep your hands behind the back of your fellow subjects to hide "peeking fingers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

'501 Baseball Books': Soon to be an international best-seller?

501Cup A dozen Frenchmen (French people?) can't be wrong.

Found this on the Facebook page for Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf:
INSOLITE | Ron Kaplan, célèbre pour son ouvrage "501 livres que les vrais fan de baseball doivent lire avant de mourir" et son blog Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf, a profité d'un voyage à Paris pour venir visiter les locaux de la Fédération Française de Baseball et Softball !
This is the translation, as provided by Bing:
UNUSUAL | Ron Kaplan, famous for his book "501 books that the true baseball fan should read before they die" and Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf blog, took a trip to Paris to visit the premises of the Fédération Française de Baseball and Softball!
Hmm, have to have a chat with those folks at Bing.
The post already has more than a dozen "likes" from local readers.

I had been informed by the Federation that there were no French-language baseball books in France. Peut-etre this will change soon?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Du base-ball

The day after I got off the plane from my appearance at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival (Nov. 6), my wife and I got on a plane for Paris (France, not Texas), an extension of our 25th anniversary celebration.

We did the usual touristy things, but I also had the opportunity to visit the Fédération Française de Baseball et Softball, aka, the French Baseball Federation, a small office located in the 12th "arrondisement," (as the districts in Paris are called).

According to Francois Collet, the gentleman who runs the bureau (as offices in France are called), there are about 10,000 people who play baseball and softball in France, as opposed to two million who play soccer. Obviously, there's a lot of catch-up to do.

I gave Collet a copy of my 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die (I was disappointed to hear that there are no French language baseball books in France). Who knows, maybe this will be the catalyst that creates a more general interest in the game. In return, Collet gave me a jersey from the national team. Tres jolie.

But that's not the only place to find baseball. I picked these up in a gift shop in the Eiffel Tower.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis

A reminder, I'll be gone for awhile. Leaving for St. Louis tomorrow for the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival where I'll be appearing in ...


Moderator: Tom Ackerman, Sports Director KMOX RADIO
Oliver Horovitz AN AMERICAN CADDIE IN ST. ANDREWS: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course Wait-listed at Harvard, Horovitz took his 1.8 handicap and spent a year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he became a caddie on the famed Old Course. This hilarious memoir is an irresistible, behind-the-scenes peek at the world’s most celebrated golf course—and its equally famous caddie shack. Certain to entertain golfers and anyone who dares to remember stumbling into adulthood and searching for one’s place in the world.
Ron Kaplan 501 BASEBALL BOOKS FANS MUST READ BEFORE THEY DIE Sportswriter and blogger Kaplan’s first book is a fun and useful guide for finding the best baseball books among the mounds of titles relating to this book-inspiring sport. Kaplan does not pretend to be anything but a longtime fan, knowledgeable and opinionated about both classic and obscure titles published since 1882. Only the best-read fans will fail to find something new in this handy reference.
“The ultimate guide to baseball literature. If you love baseball or books or any combination thereof, you should pick this up now.” -A. J. Jacobs
Sponsored by: Ann & Alan Spector; Berger Memorial Chapel/Richard & Linda Stein & Emily Stein MacDonald; Brown Smith Wallace, LLC Co-Sponsored by: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri; St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame at the JCC
ADMISSION $15 – FREE with Series & Series PLUS Tickets
Buy Tickets Now!
See you on the other side.