Major League Encounters by Larry LaRueOfficial Blog Tour
It’s an exclusive club. Thirty teams, 25 players each, 750 players in all. For every new player that wins a place on the roster, another player is removed. A few talented players have careers that cover more than two decades. Most last less than three years. But for those who can retain a place on the roster, the money is good – minimum wage is almost $450,000 a year. And if they’re really superstars, they can end up with an annual eight-figure salary. But there is more to it than money.The men of baseball love the game and they love the clubhouse. The game sometimes costs them their wives and time with their kids. The clubhouse is where they bond as a team and as a family. As with all families, it is a place of laughter and anger, tragedy and loss, happiness and dysfunction. And what unites that family is love. The love of a game called baseball.This collection of encounters with some of these men by sportswriter Larry LaRue takes the readers inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes to share with the reader what these men have accomplished and the price they have paid.
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I should preface this review with the fact that as I am typing this the Boston Red Sox are taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of their playoff series on my TV. My point in telling you this is my way of showing how my world's collided when I picked up Major League Encounters. I am a huge sports fan along with being a nerdy book reader and I live outside of Boston, which worships the ground every Red Sox player walks on, so any chance I can get to see what life is like in that club house and behind the scenes is simply fascinating. What made this book different than most books I have read on sports is not only is it giving you 100 individual stories about different players but it doesn't discriminate against the good, the bad or the just plain sad.
Take for example Milton Bradley's story. I knew who he was, but I never knew anything about him. I had certainly heard about stories of confrontations but never heard about his background. To hear about the struggle of someone who comes off one way during games but then you hear what's behind that temper or actions is something that is hard to come by and really grabs for your attention. On the other hand Bill Buckner's return to Fenway touched my heart as someone who always knew that story. Then you have other stories in this collection that many probably have never heard the name. Some because they ended badly and others because they weren't the highest paid players in the game, but either way it showed a side of baseball that most don't read or see.
The fact that this book is laid out in 100 short sections to me is a strength. It holds your attention from beginning to end and I was never bored while reading. I'm sure this was only a snip-it of what the author saw and heard in his long career with the Seattle Mariners and that is quite impressive considering this is a 250+ page book. Athletes are always the most sought after for attention and media but I don't think I have ever truly thought about the guys and girls that go to an arena, ballpark or ice rink everyday and interact with these gentleman on an everyday basis. Major League Encounters is window into that world that will captivate you from page to page and let you see something that only a select few get to experience in their lifetime.....and in case you were wondering, Red Sox win :)- My Opinion- Buy it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Newspapers were part of his life long before Larry LaRue started working for them at age 18. His grandmother was a typesetter for a weekly in San Dimas, California, and he sat in her lap while she’d run an old lead-type machine. He was first published at 10, when a San Clemente newspaper ran his story on Pookie, his dog.
He’s been writing ever since. Five newspapers, a business journal and an entertainment magazine wrapped around brief careers as a window washer, bouncer, and private investigator. Always, he wrote.
There was a book on an American Capuchin priest who performed exorcisms in New York and Iowa, another on political cartoonists, a novel based on a news story he followed, and a book of major league baseball anecdotes. All wound up in a drawer or a closet.
Since 1976, there’s been another constant in his life – George Cunningham. As co-workers, backpackers, entrepreneurs, political opposites, writers, photographers and friends they have pursued projects and dreams together.
Reader Publishing Group may be the best yet for George and Carmela Cunningham, and LaRue was one of the first to leap on their backs.
Currently a writer with the Tacoma News Tribune covering the Seattle Mariners, LaRue’s sports writing can be found at http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mariners/ and you can follow him and see his photography on Facebook at facebook.com/kwlarue, Twitter at (@LarryLaRue and the News Tribune Mariners’ blog at http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/.
His most recent ambition hasn’t changed in 35 years – LaRue is writing projects he hopes Cunningham can use to get him out of the newspaper business.
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