YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP by Al Michaels

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP

Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A veteran sportscaster revisits his career.

Michaels (b. 1944) begins with—and alludes to in other places—his good fortune in his life and career. He writes about his boyhood in Brooklyn (yes, he loved Ebbets Field), the family’s move to Southern California and his great admiration for the Dodgers’ announcer Vin Scully. Throughout, the author mentions “the Rascal” that’s in him, a Puckish sort of personality that occasionally escapes its minimum-security facility for some prankish fun. Michaels’ father had one sort of connection to the celebrity world, and the author got an early audition (at 19) with sportscaster Curt Gowdy, who was encouraging and gave him some important advice: “Don’t ever get jaded.” After an early break that nearly broke him (working with uncooperative Chick Hearn), Michaels—who’d early on resolved to be an announcer—began his rise through the ranks, including a big break, announcing games for the Cincinnati Reds during some of their Big Red Machine years. He proved himself there, and before long, he was in the booth for some of the most memorable contests of our era. He writes in detail about the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and the Soviets (and how he ad-libbed his classic line, “Do you believe in miracles?”). He also writes frankly about his friendship with OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson. He was slow to accept OJ’s guilt and visited him several times in prison. The author does not really eviscerate anyone here (he has kind words for almost everyone), but he does declare that by the end of Howard Cosell’s career, the tell-it-like-it-is guy had become “the world’s biggest pain in the ass.” He also takes a few jabs at producers Chet Forte and Mark Shapiro, but for the most part, the author is genial rather than vengeful.

A playful puppy of a memoir about a big dog career.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0062314963
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014




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