Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Must reading for rabid Red Sox fans
Posted Apr 17, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Apr 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM
“The Yankees are Scrooge, the Red Sox are Tiny Tim!”
So writes The Spaceman, Bill Lee, a one-time Red Sox pitcher and a full-time zany, in the afterword of a wacky flip book, “I Love the Red Sox/I Hate the Yankees (Triumph Books, $14.95 paperback, 194 pages).
Authors Jon Chattman, Allie Tarantino, Rich Tarantino take the reader on a rollicking ride that alternately glorifies the Red Sox Nation and trashes the “evil” Yankees empire. It’s a fun read and all tongue-in-cheek (I think). Well, maybe not.
There are charts and statistics touting Red Sox greatness. For example, there is a listing of the Top 10 games at Fenway Park. Not surprisingly, No. 1 is Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, when Carlton Fisk launched a towering drive to left field in the 12th inning and gave it the proper body English to stay fair and give Boston a dramatic victory.
No. 7 is Roger Clemens (“back when we liked him”) striking out 20 Seattle Mariners. I bring that up because the charm of this book is in the asides and snarky comments throughout the book. It’s an absolute scream.
One chapter discusses the great left fielders for the Red Sox, which begins with Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. And then, “when it came to RBIs and ADD, Manny Ramirez led the league.”
Top nickname of a Red Sox player? Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. Big Papi is No. 2, by the way.
But ouch, Rico Petrocelli (shortstop for the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox of 1967, has his name misspelled on Page 94 in big letters.
Enough praise about the Red Sox. Flip the book over and get ready for the authors to rip the Yankees and curse Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone whenever the chance arises.
Somehow, they work a Bucs reference into the book, in a chart touting duos “more dynamic than the Yankees’ M&M boys.”
“Tiki and Ronde Barber were perhaps the National Football League’s most well-known two-point conversion,” the authors write, apologizing in the next sentence for “a lame football reference.”
Some of the authors’ ideas make you laugh out loud. For example, under the heading of “Movie Titles that Personify the Yankees,” the top dog is “The Usual Suspects.” Personally, I liked “Million Dollar Baby,” but even bench-warmers pull that kind of salary now.
Yankees announcers are not immune, either. They describe the radio announcing tandem of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman as “the world’s worst tag-team partnership next to only wrestling’s pairing of Honky Tonk Man and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (aka Rhythm and Blues).”
I am certain the Hammer would take exception to that. Once during the mid-1990s, I saw him having lunch in a Pinellas County eatery with women’s champion wrestler Madusa Miceli. I guess I must have stared at Debra (Madusa’s non-stage name) a little too long (more than the fatal count of three, as Gordon Solie might have said in that smoky voice of his), because Greg fixed me with a look that said “look somewhere else, or the elbow drop is coming.”
Another graphic touts the Yanks’ love of pro wrestling, from Billy Martin being the ring announcer at the inaugural WrestleMania in 1985, to Wade Boggs inducting “Mr. Perfect,” Curt Hennig (but the authors misspell his last name as “Hening”), posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. Oh, and let’s not forget the face-plant executed by Pedro Martinez to Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS.
If you are a Red Sox fan, you will love this book. If you root for the Yankees but still enjoy a good laugh, it might be worth a peek. Just don’t let other Yankee fans see you browsing through it.