Books Acquired Recently: Sports History Edition

Katz, Jeff. Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike That Saved Baseball. New York: Dunne, 2015.

1981 was one of the weirdest seasons in Major League history because it was bisected by a players’ strike. Apparently no one has ever written a book on it, though, and I was too young to remember it, so when I heard about Katz’s book I was immediately intrigued.

Michaels, Al, with L. Jon Wertheim. You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television. New York: Morrow, 2014.

Al Michaels has been one of my favorite sportscasters since I was old enough to be able to tell different announcers apart. I especially remember him announcing the excruciating 1988 NLCS, and also Monday Night Football, but have enjoyed his work on a number of sports throughout the years. He has announced some of the most important sports moments over the last forty years–way more than any other announcer–thus I am excited to read this memoir.

I missed one of the most famous of these moments, the earthquake during the 1989 World Series (you can watch a clip of Michaels’ call of the earthquake here; the earthquake happens at about 4:38 of the clip), and I am still kicking myself for it. I was nine at the time, and my bedtime was a half an hour after the games would begin (I believe they started at 8:00 and I had to go to bed at 8:30), which was incredibly frustrating. Usually I would watch that first half hour, but I would only get to see the entire first inning if I was lucky, and so I remember that night deciding to watch a sitcom during that time instead. This choice caused me to miss history. I remember flipping to ABC to check on the game during a commercial break and having the screen just be black (I was watching on a small black-and-white television in my parents’ room; I think they were entertaining company, which is why I wasn’t watching the color television in the living room), and thinking “that’s weird, they’re having technical difficulties. I guess I made the right choice.” But when I heard the next day (remember those days before the internet when you had to wait until the next morning to get the news from the paper?) what had happened I realized that I was wrong.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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