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MLB Reports ‘Junior Reporter’ Haley Smilow Interviews Boston Red Sox Reliever Craig Breslow

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Saturday May 11th, 2013

Craig Breslow is one of the better LHP specialists in the whole game of baseball.  He has appeared in 361  Games and has lugged 344.1 IP - yielding a 3.01 ERA.  With Hanrahan and Bailey hurt for the Boston Red Sox, his role in the present future will be vital,  He just returned to the lineup from a inflamed shoulder.

Craig Breslow is one of the better LHP specialists in the whole game of baseball. He has appeared in 361 Games and has lugged 344.1 IP – yielding a 3.01 ERA in his Career spanning 8 seasons. With Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey hurt for the Boston Red Sox, his role in the present future will be vital.  He just returned to the lineup from an inflamed shoulder.  So Far the 32 Year Old from New Haven CT has a 4.50 ERA in 3 Appearances in 2013. The LHP was signed to a 2 YR Contract worth $6.25 MIL – with a Team Option for 2015 before the season began.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

Haley Smilow was a busy reporter last year.  So much so, that we probably wont  be able to keep up with her to post them in time.  In her latest interview  –  Haley talked to Craig Breslow (of the Boston Red Sox)… She asked him about being a Yale Grad.. Also, who is the biggest prankster he has ever encountered.

Haley pulls no punches in asking the Relief Pitcher about his life in this candid interview.  Amongst other topics discussed were:  What Breslow  does for charity work and what advice he might have for young people.

 Yale Grad Craig Breslow:

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Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

Note from Alex Mednick:  I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace.  For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams).  Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc).  Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU.  Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball.  I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive.  Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry

Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick – Interview with Author Paul Dickson

Tuesday April 24, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Today is a big day in the world of baseball, as we are proud to announce the release of the Paul Dickson Biography, “Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick.” Probably the most important person to influence the game of baseball as we know it today, Bill Veeck was a baseball pioneer. From night games, interleague play, racial integration and so much more, Bill Veeck is responsible for many of the key changes to the game that we take for granted. I was very excited to hear that Paul Dickson had written this book, as all baseball fans that truly love the game must get to know Bill Veeck. With so much information to cover on such an important baseball figure- Paul Dickson was certainly up for the role as biographer. 

As the book is launched today in stores, I had a chance to catch up with the author and cover many topics. From the life and times of Bill Veeck, to the process in creating the book and the road ahead for Paul Dickson. You are in for a treat today folks, as you will get to know about the book directly from the author himself. In talking to Paul, I was blown away by the dedication and commitment he showed in putting together The Greatest Maverick. From the number of people he interviewed and the amount of research he undertook, Paul went to great lengths in putting together the book. Now as Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick hits the bookshelves, you will find out why the book will be an important addition to your baseball library.

 

Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with baseball author, Paul Dickson and his newest baseball book – Bill Veeck – Baseball’s Greatest Maverick:


JH:  Thank you for joining us today on MLB reports Paul. Your new book “Bill Veeck- Baseball’s Greatest Maverick” is about to be launched. You must be very excited!

PD:  Very excited, Indeed. The book releases on Tuesday April 24, 2012. My publisher is Walker & Co. The year is important because it is the 50th anniversary of Veeck’s own biography Veeck: As In Wreck, a groundbreaking book which still commands an immense readership. But that book was Bill’s own story—a true autobiography—mine a true biography.

For example, Veeck’s book has a paragraph on his experiences in a war zone in the South Pacific during World War II. It is a full chapter in my book. This is the situation where Veeck was wounded and this is where he became part of a cohort of men who saw combat and came to baseball. Few know that Yogi Berra was in the second day of the D-Day invasion or that  Monte Irvin went in on the 6th day. I interviewed a lot of war vets for the book including Irvin but also the late Bob Feller, Ralph Kiner, Jerry Coleman, and Lou Brissie who lost part of his leg in combat but came back to pitch for Connie Mack. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Book Review “All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It!” by Curtis Granderson

Tuesday December 27, 2011

“All You Can Be”:  BY Curtis Granderson

(Triumph Books:  2009)

MLB reports – Virginia Califano (Guest Writer):  My adoration for Curtis Granderson began to develop ever since he suited up the pinstripes. Once he homered in Opening Day against the Red Sox in 2010, I was sold. And ever since then, he has given me more and more reasons to love him – especially after his MVP-worthy 2011 effort. What’s not to like about the guy? He’s a real professional – the epitome of what it means to be a Yankee. He was voted one of the friendliest players in baseball by his fellow ballplayers. He’s friendly, but maybe not if you’re an opposing pitcher. The guy can hit. Like, well. And he’s been known to flash the leather. And okay, maybe I have a little “thing” for him…I mean just look at him. He’s adorable. Gotta love that smile. And he’s so smart. I could listen to him talk or watch him play all day long…

I didn’t really think it was possible to admire Curtis Granderson any more than I did. But I came home yesterday to a package at my door from Brad, the young man behind The King Of Sports Blog of the FanVsFan Network. It was Curtis Granderson’s book, “All You Can Be: Learning & Growing Through Sports.” Brad thought I’d enjoy reviewing it. He was right.

Needless to say, my infatuation with Curtis Granderson has blossomed even further. “All You Can Be” gets two thumbs up from me.

“All You Can Be” is a children’s book written by Curtis Granderson that consists of Granderson’s lessons to the youth. He shares his personal experiences to give the children further reason to listen to his advice. Although I still consider myself a kid, I’m technically an adult, but I still enjoyed this book. I think “All You Can Be” is an inspirational book for people of all ages, even though it was targeted to the youth. The lessons Granderson shares and the values he wants to instill transcend the scope of time.

The book is creatively arranged so that each chapter is a different “inning” in the game of valuable lessons. Inning one is “Have Fun,” followed by, “Choose the Right Friends,” “Play with Passion,” “Be a Leader,” “Value Your Family,” “Be Yourself,” “Listen and Learn,” “Think Positive,” with the 9th inning as “Never Be Satisfied.” On each page front- and-back prior to the start of a new chapter, there is a selected piece of artwork from a talented student of a New York City Public School. These pieces represent the students’ interpretations of their corresponding chapters. A section entitled “Extra Innings: Dream Big!” consists of eight more honorable mention works of art. Placed within the text, Granderson includes personal photographs of his youth that complement the theme of the chapter.

Along with being beautifully arranged, Granderson’s “All You Can Be” is reader-friendly. The 48-page book is easy to read and moves very quickly. The font is big enough that my Grandma read it with ease (and she too enjoyed it). Granderson highlights key ideas throughout the text in red italic fonts. My favorite part was in the chapter “Be Yourself,” where Granderson recalls being self-conscious about his big “clown feet.” How could people have picked on Curtis Granderson in school? It didn’t bother him for long, though. It just created another lesson for him to share with us.

The ideas presented in this book are things kids should hear everywhere: follow the right people, never give up, be confident in yourself, etc. Then why is this book so special? I think it’s because Granderson shares his personal experiences with us. Kids might think, “Yeah, yeah, everyone says that stuff.” But when Curtis Granderson says it, and he proves that it worked for him, we’re all probably more apt to listen. Granderson stressed the fact that although we are all from different backgrounds and are raised in different environments, we all go through the same things in life. That’s why it is important to listen to people, because they’ve been through it, and can help you learn from their experiences. The values may be simple, but they are solid. And they are the values that got Granderson to where he is today – not only in the professional sense, but in the personal sense as well.

I love the fact that Curtis Granderson always wants to give back. I always thought he was nice, but after reading “All You Can Be,” I knew it was no façade. Curtis Granderson is a genuinely compassionate man with solid values, and his words in this book come from the heart. The stories he shares are ones I think we all can relate to. I know I wasn’t always as confident in myself as I am today, but as Granderson assured, through the love of those who care for me, I’ve grown to really believe in myself, just as he has. In a way, it’s somewhat comforting to know that even a guy as seemingly-perfect as Curtis Granderson has dealt with the same things as we have.

Even though this is a children’s book, I think everyone can learn from it. Granderson teaches the young generation what is important, and reminds us older people that adapting those simple ideas makes us grow to all we can think we be, and then keep on growing.

Curtis Granderson’s “All You Can Be” is a simple yet inspirational work. 

And thank you, Curtis my sweet, for all the great work you do both on and off the diamond.

Thank you to Guest Writer Virginia Califano for preparing today’s book review on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Virginia.  

You can also  find Virginia Califano on Twitter (@VirginiaC816).  Feel free to also check out:   http://pinstripepartisan.com or http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Howard Megdal Interview: Author of The Baseball Talmud and Wilpon’s Folly

Sunday December 25, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  I had the opportunity this week to post on our site  my review of the Howard Megdal classic baseball book, “The Baseball Talmud”.  Today, MLB reports presents my interview with the baseball author himself, Howard Megdal.  We discuss many aspects of Howard’s life- from the process of writing “The Baseball Talmud” to a look to his recently released book “Wilpon’s Folly”.  I am looking to forward to getting my hands on his third book and learning Howard’s take on the Wilpon family and state of the Mets.  If “Wilpon’s Folly” is anything like his previous works, Howard will have another winner on his hands. 

Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with baseball author, Howard Megdal

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MLB reports:  Welcome back to MLB reports Howard.  Thank you for taking the time for us today to talk about your work.  It was a pleasure to read the Baseball Talmud, your first book which I recently reviewed on our site.  How long did it take you to research and write the book?

Howard Megdal:  Overall, it took over a year. But I’d been thinking about these questions since middle childhood.

 

MLB reports:  What would possess you to pick such an expansive topic for your first ever book?

Howard Megdal:  Well, it was a perfect marriage of my obsessions with baseball and Jewish culture. And I thought it was a book that needed to be out there, but wasn’t.

 

MLB reports:  Were you worried on being typecast as a “Jewish Baseball Writer” by writing the Baseball Talmud?

Howard Megdal:  Not at all. I knew I had many more books in me on various topics.

 

MLB reports:  Favorite Jewish baseball player growing up?

Howard Megdal:  That’s hard, because there was a bit of a dearth as I grew up. By high school, definitely Shawn Green.

 

MLB reports:  After the book was published, did you have any Jewish players approach you to discuss the book?

Howard Megdal:  Well, I’d spoken to many of them during the publishing. But one of the most rewarding experiences I had was when the family of Lefty Weinert came to a book signing to discuss his career.

 

MLB reports:  Can we expect a sequel or follow-up to The Baseball Talmud?

Howard Megdal:  An excellent question- I am certainly open to updating it.

 

MLB reports:  What did you expect The Baseball Talmud would be like when you originally conceived the book and how did it differ once you started to write it?

Howard Megdal:  To be honest, this one stayed true to my vision of it from the very start.

 

MLB reports:  With the release of Wilpon’s Folly- you are slowly becoming a Mets-only writer (after the release of Taking the Field). Fair assessment?

Howard Megdal:  No, I don’t think so. For the same reasons that I didn’t worry about becoming a Jewish-only writer after Baseball Talmud, I am sure topics will take me in many different directions.

 

MLB reports:  After Taking the Field, why write Wilpon’s Folly now?  Did you consider other baseball topics for your third book?

Howard Megdal:  Well, Bloomsbury approached me, because my reporting was addressing the topic in a broader way than most of the other coverage out there. And I agreed that people needed a broader context for what was happening, and what will happen.

 

MLB reports:  Tell us about Wilpon’s Folly- what kind of book is it and what should readers expect when reading it?

Howard Megdal:  It’s a story of huge sums being handled by flawed people, and the ramifications reaching far wider than anyone could have anticipated.

 

MLB reports:  Have the Mets contacted you in any way to discuss Wilpon’s Folly?

Howard Megdal:  Obviously, I spoke to them while writing the book. But no, all I’ve heard is through the New York Post.

 

MLB reports:  What do you think of the Wilpon family?

Howard Megdal:  I think they have suffered a public fall that no one should take any pleasure from, and I wonder how hard life is going to get for them.

 

MLB reports:  What is the future of the Mets organization?  Can the team win with the Wilpons at the helm?

Howard Megdal:  No, they very likely cannot. The future is bright under different ownership, since it is extremely difficult for a New York baseball team not to be immensely profitable. But as long as ownership needs to divert all funds to simple financial survival, a long-term plan is practically impossible.

 

MLB reports:  What is your schedule going to be looking like with the release of the new book?

Howard Megdal:  Same as before: five columns a week for Capital New York, regular writing for the LoHud Mets Blog, MLB Trade Rumors and other outlets. Freelance pieces whenever inspiration strikes. Spending time with my wife and young daughter. Busy, but good.

 

MLB reports:  What is the next project for Howard Megdal?  Can we expect a baseball book per year from you?

Howard Megdal:  An excellent question. Need to talk to my agent and settle on a next book.

 

MLB reports:  If you were to look into a crystal ball, where will you be in 5 years from now Howard?

Howard Megdal:  I hope I’ll be writing, enjoying time with my family, and living essentially as I do now. Wouldn’t want to change a thing.

 

MLB reports:  Last question:  final thoughts for your fans?

Howard Megdal:  Thank you so much. I am gratified that people enjoy reading what I write.

 

 

***A special thank you to Howard Megdal for his time and effort as part of being interviewed for this article.  You can follow Howard on Twitter and click here for Howard’s website.***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

“The Baseball Talmud” by Howard Megdal: MLB Book Review

Wednesday December 21, 2011

“THE BASEBALL TALMUD”:  BY HOWARD MEGDAL

(Harper:  2009)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Happy Hanukkah to one and all!  With today being the first day of Hanukkah, I thought that it would be very appropriate to include some Jewish baseball on MLB reports.  Luckily, I just completed a Jewish-centric baseball book and will be reviewing said book for you today.  One of our favorite baseball authors (are there any other kind), Howard Megdal, prepared one of the preeminent Jewish baseball books on the market today.  Howard’s first baseball book is titled:  “The Baseball Talmud”.

You will recall Megdal’s work from our review of his 2nd effort, “Taking the Field:  A Fan’s Quest to Run the Team He Loves.”  While “Taking the Field” was centered on Howard’s efforts to campaign to run and fix the New York Mets, “The Baseball Talmud” comes from a very different perspective.  “The Baseball Talmud” is essentially a baseball history piece.  While some players’ names would be familiar to the readers (depending on your age and baseball knowledge), reading “The Baseball Talmud” will prove to be an educational experience for most baseball fans who pick up to read this book.  The Talmud (in case you are not familiar with the term) is a collection of ancient rabbinic writings on Jewish law and tradition.  Commentary and interpretations are the key components of the Talmud.  Thus it is fitting that Megdal labelled his book “The Baseball Talmud”, as the book is an authoritative interpretation of Jewish baseball with commentary.  It is first and foremost a baseball history book- but from a Jewish perspective.

I ended up reading Megdal’s books out of order, as “Taking the Field” was released after “The Baseball Talmud”.  I was actually pleased about this result, as I came into “The Baseball Talmud” with a more intimate feeling and knowledge about Howard Megdal having completed “Taking the Field”.  Even without reading “The Baseball Talmud”, I knew that Megdal had a strong feeling and passion for Judaism and baseball.  It was evident from “Taking the Field”, as well as reading his articles and interviewing him in the past.  Megdal is very proud of being Jewish.  Thus his passion and knowledge of Judaism and baseball made him a perfect authority to write “The Baseball Talmud”.  Knowing Megdal’s background, experience and personality, made me appreciate reading “The Baseball Talmud” that much more.

In my estimation, Megdal pulled off one of the biggest literary miracles in “The Baseball Talmud” (again appropriate given the Hanukkah season).  While most baseball fans enjoy talking about the history of the game to great lengths, most would not at first glance be terribly excited to read a “baseball history” book.  Baseball books can range in different categories, from autobiographies, instructional, statistical and historical.  “The Baseball Talmud” fits mostly into the historical category, with a pinch of statistics spread throughout.  Make no mistake, there are many modern players included.  From Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, Kevin Youkilis, Steve Stone, etc., all the “big” name Jewish players that you know and love are discussed and analyzed.  But this book is far from a tribute to Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg.  While two of the biggest Jewish baseball players of all time, Megdal recaps most (if not all) Jewish players that have ever played the game.  Names like Conrad Cardinal, Ed Wineapple, Happy Foreman, Erskine Mayer, Mose Solomon and Jake Pitler are all part of the book.  Not only did I learn about how the many Jews who played the game of baseball, I learned a great deal about the history of the game of baseball as a whole.  The success of this book though is in Megdal’s writing.  “The Baseball Talmud” is very well written with a great deal of history and statistics.  But it is done in a very fun and light manner, with excellent analysis.  Howard Megdal is a storyteller.  One of the best baseball ones that I have ever read.  So if you are jumping into “The Baseball Talmud” expecting a straight history and statistics text, think again.  This book is built upon the baseball stories and commentary within it.

The book is divided into a clean and easy-to-read format.  After reviewing the top Jewish baseball players of all time, Megdal then proceeds to list his top Jewish players at each position.  The lists are very specific, including all three outfield positions and breaking down right-handed and left-handed starting pitchers and relievers.  My favorite section is the all-time Jewish baseball team assembled by Megdal at the end of the book and how his Jewish team would compare to other teams from different eras.  On a personal note, I did take a great deal away from this book given my Jewish heritage and background.  But regardless of my own religion and culture, I would recommend this book to any baseball fan.  Young or old.  Novice or expert.  To really appreciate the game, it is important to know about the different leagues and teams throughout the years.  Players had careers interrupted and shortened due to wars.  Before the age of free agency, player movement was very limited and outstanding players were blocked and often left in the minors or on the bench rather than being given an opportunity elsewhere.  Such key components of baseball are discussed in Megdal’s book.  But again, having Megdal use his superior storytelling abilities in describing the players and their circumstances makes the book a winner.  This was a fun read, that had me laughing out loud many times and thinking throughout.

For the baseball fan in your life that has everything, I strongly recommend running out to your local bookstore or jumping onto a site like amazon.com and purchasing “The Baseball Talmud”.  I can think of many past Hanukkah seasons that I would have enjoyed receiving this book as a gift. It would also make a great stocking stuffer for any baseball fan of any denomination.  While it may seem humorous to receive “The Baseball Talmud” on Christmas morning under a tree or in a stocking, it would be well appreciated by all devotees of the game.  Baseball fans are always looking for more information and “something different”.  Well folks, “The Baseball Talmud” is as about as unique as it gets in the baseball world.  I enjoyed reading several of the chapters to my own 6-year old son.  If we are going to teach our kids as parents about the game of baseball early, it is important to use the right materials!  So Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and an overall Happy Holidays to everyone.  I look forward to hearing from everyone after you had a chance to read “The Baseball Talmud” to debate the rankings of the all-time best Jewish players.  Creating a forum for baseball discussion and analysis is what a good baseball book will do and makes “The Baseball Talmud” a clear winner.

***We highly encourage you to keep an eye out for our interview with Howard Megdal coming soon to MLB reports, as we discuss “The Baseball Talmud” and Howard’s newly released book “The Wilpon’s Folly:  The Story of a Man, His Fortune and the New York Mets”, available now for purchase.  We look forward to reading and reviewing “The Wilpon’s Folly” for you as well in the coming weeks.  Also check out “Taking the Field” and learn about Howard’s experiences in campaigning to become the GM of the New York Mets.  If you enjoy a good baseball read, you can never go wrong with a Howard Megdal book.***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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