Nothing to do but wait around all day until the Yanks open their season in Oakland tonight. Happy Opening Day to you all--this is the fourth Opening Day here at Bronx Banter, the second in a row with Cliff. Looking forward to another entertaining season with you guys.
Allen Barra penned the piece for the Sun (Disclosure: Barra is a friend):
Flood, one of the most important players in the game's history in terms of moral leadership, has remained until now a man without a biography. Alex Belth's stirring and hugely readable "Stepping Up" (Persea Books, 240 pages, $22.95) plugs a significant gap in the history of baseball's turbulent 1960s and early '70s.
Flood, the man who told Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, "After 12 years in the major leagues, I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold," was the true torchbearer of Jackie Robinson's legacy, and Mr. Belth gives him his due. "His life," Mr. Belth writes, "took a course that never in his wildest dreams he could have imagined as a scrawny kid making trick catches on the ballfields of Oakland. He took a simple stand against baseball,based on simple principles of truth and justice - principles he held on to when it would have been so much easier to let them go."
It was Flood, Mr. Belth writes, who "made the world stand up and take notice of baseball's exploitative structure." But like Robinson before him, he paid the price in terms of stress. He fell into deep depressions during and after the lawsuit, and his heavy drinking and smoking left his body weakened and susceptible to throat cancer. He died in 1997 at age 60.
In "Juiced," Jose Canseco talks about his willingness to lead players across the picket line in the 1994 strike - does anyone know how we can send him a copy of this book?
I've got a new piece up at SI.Com celebrating Flood, and yo, I'm going to be at Left Bank Books in St. Louis this coming Thursday. I know it's a hike, but just thought I'd throw it out there in case you know anybody in the vicinity.
In the meantime, Cliff "the Night Owl" Corcoran will be holding the fort down here, as the Yanks kick off the 2006 season on the West Coast.