I remember the first book I ever bought on fantasy baseball. It was titled ‘Rotisserie League Baseball’ by Glen Waggoner and Robert Sklar. I purchased it at one of those bookstores that only appeared in malls (B. Dalton? Walden Books?). It must have been around the 1988 or 1989 season as I can recall that Gerald Young had a high $ because of his SB prowess (one that peaked with 65 SBs in 1988 and cratered in 1989 with a preposterous 34 SB / 25 CS.).

Somewhere within the pages of this paperback gem was the origin story of fantasy baseball. As origin stories go, it was remarkably believable (versus, say, Abner Doubleday inventing baseball). Daniel Okrent came up with the idea and pitched it to a number of writer/editor friends in 1979 at a New York restaurant called La Rôtisserie Française. To think, if he brought it up one week earlier, we might all be playing Beefsteak Charlie Baseball instead of Rotisserie Baseball. I recall the authors of this book – who were part of this group – teasing Okrent because his team (the Okrent Fenokees) had yet to win a season (he never did win one).

This is all a preface as to why when asked if we would help promote the e-book release of one of Daniel Okrent’s books, I signed us up. This is the man that invented WHIP! Without him, how else would have I occupied all those thousands of hours? Spend time with friends and family? Contribute to society? Invest myself in an actual MLB team?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t have enough spam, give me the Razzball email newsletter!

I do not review baseball books very often.   I have managed more ‘fake’ book reviews on this site than real ones (see here).  Even books that have been in print for years that I meant to belatedly review end up unreviewed – like The Book or Ball Four – because I’m usually in one of three states (pre-season stat-crunching/writing, in-season management/writing or off-season/vegging).

But I made an exception with Winning Fantasy Baseball (officially out Jan 7 – click preceding link to buy it on Amazon) since the author (Larry Schechter) is far and away the best performing ‘expert’ in Tout Wars so I could definitely learn a couple things from him.  (It didn’t hurt that his PR person sent me a free copy as professional courtesy – if only I had such sway with European car companies or bacon of the month clubs).

I polished this nearly 350 page book in 2 days.  Kudos to the author for his eminently readable prose.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 2000, a gritty bunch of veterans, role players, and youngsters almost did the impossible – beat the New York Yankees in a World Series.  Led by the mad genius of Bobby Valentine, the silver foxiness of Steve Phillips, and the support of a well-capitalized owner who gladly stayed out of the public eye (Fred Wilpon), the 2000 New York Mets were almost at the top of baseball’s pyramid. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The worlds of baseball and business have many similarities – money, dealing with the press, pleasing customers, etc. – but few jobs translate as well between both as the role of Manager.

Bruce Bochy, one of the longest tenured baseball managers (entering his 16th year in 2010) and the career leader in home runs by a player born in France, understands these parallels and has partnered with Ray Kroc Jr. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

73464178CP016_San_Diego_PadFantasy baseball fans and bloggers (ourselves included) sometimes fail to appreciate the human toll that baseball takes on its participants.  They are not just statistics, commodities, and tabloid stories.  They are flesh and blood.

Joe Torre and SI’s Tom Verducci recently penned ‘The Yankee Years’, a book that provided a glimpse into the challenges that a manager on a high-profile team must endure – the pressure to succeed, the delicate balance of egos, the difficulties in finding relievers that can pitch 120 games a year and still perform in the postseason, etc. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?