THE BRONX ZOO by Sparky & Peter Golenbock Lyle


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Relief pitcher Sparky Lyle, whose trade to the Texas Rangers will make him top man in a bullpen again, paces off his last (1978) season with the Yankees by the calendar, starting on the day he bags the Cy Young Award for the year before (""On this one day, at least, I can be excited and proud and even fart in public if I want""). He loves those damn Yankees, including the improbable Rawly Eastwick who ""isn't a derelict like the rest of us."" Sparky may be the raunchiest of the pack: he's given up leaving his trademark ass-print in every available cake--but, on the field shagging flies one afternoon, ""I was in a crazy mood, so I zipped down my fly and took my nuts out. . . ."" His language starts out even worse, but it settles down as Sparky moves into the politics of the season, his war with Steinbrenner--Lyle wanting to be traded when Steinbrenner acquires young reliever Goose Gossage; Steinbrenner wanting to keep Lyle; Lyle then wanting more money--and of course Steinbrenner's war with Billy Martin. Sparky Lyle is a big Martin booster: unlike Steinbrenner, Martin doesn't treat players as though they were ""cattle or accountants""; and unlike Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko who ""didn't want you talking about pussy,"" Martin doesn't run the team like an army or a kindergarten. Generous toward almost all the guys--Guidry, Munson, Rivers, Chambliss--Lyle makes them sound like a team in the best sense, if not in the fanciest words.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
Publisher: Crown