LONG BALLS, NO STRIKES by Joe Morgan

LONG BALLS, NO STRIKES

How Baseball Can Keep the Good Times Rolling

KIRKUS REVIEW

After a monster 1998 season, baseball is back. But to Morgan, a Hall of Fame player and highly regarded analyst for ESPN, baseball still needs help in getting and keeping fans. Morgan goes point by point, describing what’s best about baseball and what needs fixing. Secure in his status within the game, he isn—t afraid to name names or step on a few toes. Morgan is blunt in his criticism of baseball’s poor administration. He discusses why the leagues and teams repeatedly fail to hire qualified black and Latino players for management positions, and suggests ways to correct the imbalance. He notes the declining interest among African-Americans in playing and watching baseball, and offers steps to rekindle this interest, largely through an expanded presence in inner-city kids— lives. Officiating also comes under Morgan’s microscope in a chapter with the self-explanatory title —Don—t Kill the Umpires! (Just Teach Them the Strike Zone),— in which the author outlines how the Major Leagues, the players, and the umpires can unite in making officiating more consistent and therefore better. However, Morgan confines most of his observations and advice to the game on the field. He chides current managers for ignoring fundamentals, such as base stealing. And he offers advice on how to rein in the excessive scoring that detracts from the game’s subtle balance between hitters and pitchers (raise the mounds for starters, shorten starting pitching staffs from five to four pitchers, don—t overuse young hurlers). Naturally, Morgan’s passion for the game doesn—t permit him only to focus on the negatives. Endlessly citing baseball’s charms (while addressing its miscues and shortcomings), Morgan identifies the players and managers most worth watching. He even playfully engages in the debate over which is the game’s greatest team, the 1998 Yankees, or his own 1975—6 Cincinnati Reds. Lovers of baseball, detractors of baseball, and even those alienated from it—all will be drawn to this outstanding and outspoken, no-punches-pulled prescription for the ills of the Grand Old Game. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1999
ISBN: 0-609-60524-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1999




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