Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Step Up
2006-04-03 09:55
by Alex Belth

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.

On a personal note, my Curt Flood book recently hit the shelves and it will be officially released on April 12th. I'm in the process of putting the final touches on a new site ( which should be up and running later this week. In the meantime, "Stepping Up" was mentioned in the L.A. Times and the Boston Globe yesterday, The Black Athlete Sports Network, and The New York Sun this morning.

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.

Let's Go Yan-Kees!

2006-04-03 10:21:07
1.   Ken Arneson
Congrats on the book, Alex.

We'll see if the season actually starts today. The weather looks pretty wet here in the East Bay. It looks like one of those days where it rains for 15 minutes and then it's dry for 15 minutes, and then it starts raining again.

If they play at all, they'll be playing through some showers at times, I'm sure. I think the A's would probably call it off early if the weather forecast didn't look exactly the same for tomorrow.

2006-04-03 10:38:07
2.   Rob Gee
Lesss-ggoooo YaaaannnK-eeeeesss!
2006-04-03 11:18:59
3.   rsmith51
Are you going to go to Chicago? Or is this just a one-time thing in St. Louis?

I would like to order the book, will it benefit you most if I order it at

2006-04-03 11:29:17
4.   Alex Belth
Ah, unfortunately, due to budget constraints, St. Louie is going to be it. The best thing for me in terms of buying the book actually is to pick it up at your local bookstore, be it Barnes and Noble or Borders or whatever. If not, anywhere on-line is fine, but according to my publisher, it's preferable if you could pick it up in a store.
2006-04-03 11:36:10
5.   unmoderated
it's on my reading list.
i'm off to take a nap so i can watch more than one inning.
2006-04-03 11:42:17
6.   unmoderated
it just occurred to me that, being an owner of a bookstore, i should stock this book. we deal with mostly used and rare, but i'll get on the horn today.
2006-04-03 12:16:50
7.   Simone
Congrats on the book, Alex!

I can't wait for tonight. Did anyone see that several of the ESPN "experts" have picked the Yankees to win the World Series? I just hope that they don't jinx us.

Kick some butt tonight, guys!

2006-04-03 12:25:43
8.   e double trouble
The fans at the great stadium in the sky are doing continuous waves for Alex's compassionate, insightful and moving portrait of a real American hero, Curt Flood. Stepping Up is a thoroughly enjoyable read with a balanced view of the business of baseball and its relationship to world around it. Long live Curt Flood and his new biography!

Congratulations Alex. Enjoy opening day everyone and get that book so we can banter about it.


2006-04-03 12:32:36
9.   Hank
So I'm watching the Sox and Rangers, and the announcers (Gary Thorne, Steve Stone, Steve Phillips) just spent about ten minutes taking turns on the steroid soapbox. Fine. But then Thorne lets loose with this: "Look, we all KNOW [his emphasis] there were players last year who went off the drugs to avoid the testing in spring training and the first half of the season, then got on some designer drug in the second half and their numbers shot up."

Sound familiar? I'm not sure who he was describing if it wasn't Giambi. Has anyone else heard these accusations?

2006-04-03 12:49:10
10.   Fred Vincy

Believe it or not, just a year or so ago I was thinking, someone really needs to write a book about Curt Flood. I'm looking forward to it.

2006-04-03 12:56:07
11.   scareduck
9 - yes, I have here in my hand a list of 57 ballplayers known to Bud Selig to be taking steroids...
2006-04-03 12:57:23
12.   scareduck
BTW, Alex, any LA appearances planned?
2006-04-03 13:07:39
13.   Schteeve
Hey Alex, congrats on the book! You're a great writer, I can't wait to read it.


2006-04-03 13:07:40
14.   Dimelo
My job is keeping me hostage...but I just wanted to say:


Alex, Can't wait to read your book!!!!

2006-04-03 13:21:04
15.   rsmith51
FWIW, just checked and when I did hour by hour, every hour for the next 36 hours showed rain/Thunder storms/Showers. Not a partly cloudy/sunny in the bunch. I guess maybe I will watch the NCAA title game after all.
2006-04-03 13:40:11
16.   Alex Belth
The one drag of writing a book for a small publisher is that they simply can't afford to send me around--I would have loved to visit the Bay Area at the very least, cause Flood grew up in Oakland. Would have liked to go to Chicago, LA, Philly and Boston too, but it isn't in the cards this time around--that's why I'm trying my best to utalize the 'Net to get the word out there.

I did an interview with Viva Los Birdos which should be posted by the end of the week. And next Monday I'm going to host a chat at Baseball Prospectus. I'll mention it again between now and then, but once they've announced it on their home page (which should be shortly), please feel free to send in questions.

Thanks for all the encouragement and support guys. I really appreciate it.

2006-04-03 13:55:58
17.   rilkefan
Alex, if you could find a cheap fare out to the Bay Area, via priceline or whatever, I'm sure you could find readers to crash with while you did interviews in SF and Oakland...
2006-04-03 13:56:06
18.   murphy
Cliff "the Night Owl" Corcoran?

I am not letting go of that one anytime soon. thanks for more ribbing ammunition, alex.

look forward to reading tomorrow's game rap, "night owl".

2006-04-03 14:03:17
19.   Cliff Corcoran
If the game is played, I'll post a running commentary for morning reading.
2006-04-03 14:12:07
20.   Start Spreading the News seems more optimistic that it will be played.
2006-04-03 14:40:56
21.   Emy
Best of luck with the new book...congrats!
2006-04-03 14:45:34
22.   Ken Arneson
It's been dry for the past couple hours. Let's hope it holds up.
2006-04-03 14:46:16
23.   standuptriple
It is supposed to be in the process of clearing up. The weather men out here are optimistic. I'd rather not make a trip to OAK just to get rained on but you gotta do it right? Rain or shine.
BTW, Rollins just extended the "streak" in the 9th.
2006-04-03 15:01:41
24.   debris

Too bad you had to work. You missed some fine vintage Schilling.

And a play by Coco Crisp that looked like a replay of the catch Mantle made on Gil Hodges to save Don Larsen's perfect game.

2006-04-03 15:17:28
25.   Repoz
"The one drag of writing a book for a small publisher is that they simply can't afford to send me around"

You damn well better be at the podium in the Coliseum Bookstore...cause I'm gettin' really tired of hanging with you in the back!

Congrats again Alex...well deserved.

2006-04-03 15:19:15
26.   Stormer Sports

Congratulations! I have my copy!


Rollins still on top of the plate and out of the box too I suppose. Why don't the National League pithers back him off. Christ, even I could get a hit off MLB pitching standing where he does.

Let's Go Yankees. Looks like it could be a great year!

2006-04-03 15:31:07
27.   Rob
Hey Alex,

congrats on the book! as a long time reader of the site, i've always enjoyed your writing and knew you'd get published someday.

looking forward to a fresh season here at the banter ;-) i can't wait to watch the yanks tonight.

2006-04-03 16:14:03
28.   Nick from Washington Heights
as of 4:13 local time, it is dry in the Bay area. Of course, that could change at 4:14.

congrats Alex on the book!

2006-04-03 18:08:32
29.   mikeplugh
The book is great. I'm almost finished and should have a review up at Canyon of Heroes by the end of the week.

I think everyone will enjoy it and I hope there are many more to come from Alex. Destiny is on his side.....I expect him to give Jeter's HOF induction speech....


2006-04-03 18:56:59
30.   Stormer Sports
It looks like they will start on time, no?
2006-04-03 18:58:22
31.   Shaun P
Alex, it is a great book, and many congrats to you! Wish you could make it up to Boston, but you do what your publisher can do, right?

My brother had his birthday recently, and I got him a copy of 'Stepping Up'. He really enjoyed it, and I heavily recommend the idea to everyone else.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.