Just mention the word baseball and a huge smile beams across his cherubic face. Ask him about the grace of Ken Griffey, Jr.; the power of Frank Thomas; and the precociousness of Alex Rodriguez and he'll delight you for hours with tales of the beauty of the game. The Golden Days of baseball are now, he'll tell you, and then he'll go on to prove it. He's Jon Miller, and in this candid, funny, forthright volume he tells us why baseball is the greatest game and why -- despite the counterproductive comments of owners and players -- it will continue to be well into the twenty-first century.
In Confessions of a Baseball Purist, Miller takes us on a journey into the heart of baseball as he's seen it from the best seat in the house. He brings to life the emotion of the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record, the history-soaked drama when the Giants and Dodgers faced off in a crucial pennant-race series in September '97, Eddie Murray's fitting return to the Orioles to hit his 500th home run, and the day Edward Bennett Williams -- owner of the Orioles -- approved the plans for the creation of Camden Yards. But Jon doesn't shy from pointing a finger at the darker forces at work in the game: the insanity of not having a real commissioner; the follies of radical realignment and excessive reliance on novelties like widespread interleague play; the old-time players and broadcasters -- including his good friend and partner Joe Morgan -- who don't accept that today's players are bigger, faster, stronger, and better; players who denigrate the game, not realizing that by doing so they're insulting their own fans; and owners and general managers who can't make a move without discussing the economic ramifications, even though that's the last thing their fans (or, to use the owners' term, their customer base) want to hear about.
With charming candor and disarming wit, Miller takes us from the broadcaster's booth into the stands and down onto the field and into the dugout. He pays tribute to his heroes and his partners, who include some of the classic voices that shaped his love of the game: Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons, Vin Scully, Hank Greenwald, Chuck Thompson, and Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. He tells about the Opening Day rain delay that launched a second career as an after-dinner speaker in Boston, as his partner Ken Coleman led him into doing his now-famous Vin Scully impersonation; the maddening experience of working for Charles O. Finley, an owner who managed the remarkable feat of building a World Championship team that finished next-to-last in the league in home attendance; and the pleasure of being a part of the growth and development of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball into the game's weekly showcase for a nationwide audience. He profiles some of his favorite baseball personalities, from Reggie Jackson and Kirby Puckett to Alvin Dark and Charles Steinberg; shares inside stories from the broadcast booth about the secrets of Phil Rizzuto's scorebook ("WW" means "Wasn't Watching") and what to do when your partner is knocked cold by a foul line drive; and tells, for the first time, the story behind his leaving the Baltimore Orioles after fourteen years doing the team's games.
True to the broadcaster's art, Confessions of a Baseball Purist calls the game the way Jon Miller sees it: with wit, with style, and with absolute candor. For the baseball purist in all of us, Miller provides a rallying cry, some warm memories, and reasons to keep believing in the game we love....Continua