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I'm Ready for my Close Up
2008-01-04 05:53
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Been enjoying poking my nose through my baseball library and selecting some cherce quotes, so here's another one for ya. This one if from Foul Ball: Five Years in the American League, by Alison Gordon, who covered the Blue Jays from 1979-83. Gordon describes herself as "a socialist, feminist, hedonist with roots in the sixties, a woman who had marched against the bomb, done drugs, and never, ever even wanted to date the head jock at school, had nothing in common with these children of Ozzie and Harriet, locked in a fifties timewarp." Some combination, huh? I enjoyed her take on Mr. October:

Undeniably a star with an extraordinary sense of the moment, Jackson was one of the most fascinating, but unpleasant, characters I encountered in baseball. It's only a fluke I feel that way. There were some reporters I respect whom he liked and who assured me that Jackson was a sensitive and intelligent man, unfairly at the mercy of the sharks that surrounded him. It could be. I wouldn't know because he thought I had a fin on my back, too. He was a bit like Billy Martin in that way. If you encountered either one on a good day you came away thinking he was a prince. On a bad day there were jerks. I never hit a good day with either one.

Had I not been a print reporter it would have been a different matter. Jackson loved television interviewers once the camera was turned on because this was an image he could control. He was wonderful in front of the cameras, self-effacing and God-fearing, all "Hi, Mom" and five-dollar words. Out of their range, he was completely unpredictable.

Being a reporter from the boonies didn't help either. What importance could a reporter from Toronto have in the world of baseball, for heaven's sake? I wasn't Peter Gammons of the Boston Globe or Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, so why bother? I didn't cover the Yankees or the Angels when he played for those teams. I wasn't in the inner circle.

On the fringe, I wastched as he manipulated my colleagues, who practically tugged their forelocks in deference. He sighed at what he considered dumb questions while winking at the reporters who covered him daily, exempting them from his scorn. They ate it up. Then he would turn and snarl at the offender, asking him exactly what he meant by his question. He reduced the meek to jelly and enjoyed it. It made me ashamed of my profession to be reduced to acting a role in Jackson' drama of the moment. The man was only a ballplayer, after all, whatever inflated importance he placed on it, and not that great a ballplayer either, day in and day out.

That these men are perceived to be more important than doctors or scientists or firemen or teachers, on the evidence of what they are paid, struck me often, but the disproportion never seemed greater than when I dealt with Jackson. Here was a supreme egotist with one skill, the ability to hit a baseball out of any park in the major leagues when the game was on the line, and for that he was deified by the fans…He exemplified none of the greater virtues of sport, team play and sportsmanship, but he was a greater hero than those who did.

And yet there was another side to him. He was kind to young players, dispensing bits of himself to star-struck rookies and making them feel at home on his turf. Once, in 1979, in Toronto, he was walked by Phil Huffman. He yelled at the young pitcher all the way to first base, accusing him of not having the guts to throw him a pitch he could hit. Huffman, cocky himself, yelled right back. A week later, in New York, in the last game Huffman would pitch in the major leagues, in his eighteenth loss of the season, Huffman struck Jackson out. When the game was over and Huffman was packing up his stuff, the clubhouse attendant walked up to him at his locker and handed him a baseball. It was inscribed "To Phil—I admire your toughness. Reggie Jackson."

I admired the gesture, which meant a lot to Huffman, but I also saw it as an extraordinarily condescending thing to do to a player who was, after all, a fellow major leaguer, not a beseeching twelve-year-old fan. But I'm sure that baseball now holds a place of pride among Huffman's souvenirs.

The story about Huffman is classic Reggie. The part about how he approached TV vs. print reporters is good too, and reminded me of another story that is featured in the forthcoming, The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan. It is a piece on Deion Sanders. Here's Pat:

I wrote Deion Sanders for Special Reports which was a little magazine outside of Knoxville. Deion was in Hagerstown, Maryland where he was playing with the Albany-Colony Yankees. But he really didn't want to be a baseball player. He was using that as leverage to get more money from a football contract. Football was his first love. He was a very difficult interview, but he was trapped with me because we were in this hotel and there was no place to go, he couldn't leave, and I was always there. He was surly, unpleasant, with a girlfriend that literally fed him from a plate. So I followed him. We worked out in the gym together. He got annoyed with me, because at that time I was preparing for a bodybuilding contest and I was in pretty good shape even though I was 48-49. He was doing bicep curls and I was lifting more than him and that really irked him. He was not a big, muscular guy, not your typical football player. He was tall and thin.

However when a camera crew from the Hagerstown TV station came to interview him, he perked right up. Became "Primetime". He was like an imitation Muhammad Ali, sparkling, flapping his gums. When I talked to him, he gave me one word answers, because print didn't mean anything to him. He knew that television was it. You make your persona, you make your bones, in front of camera not in front of a print journalist.

It's hard to believe that Reggie once asked a reporter, "Do you think we'll ever see the day when a player makes $1 million a year?" From Ali to Reggie to Deion to T.O. dumping popcorn on his face, we still need plenty of mustard to cover all those sharp cookie hot dogs out there.

Comments (57)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-04 06:31:24
1.   williamnyy23
The funny thing about columns like the one above is they are contradictory. If Reggie wasn't "Reggie", then newspaper reporters wouldn't have scrutinized him heavily. Also, it isn't the players who demand that they be "godded up", but the writers who voluntarily do it. The reason I think this happens is because (a) it makes for more interesting copy; and (b) gives the journalist and inflated sense because he is covering such "important" subjects.

Often times, sportswriters develop the same over-inflated egos that players do. Unfortunately, the arrogance that comes from the modern day sports columnist seems to only be growing. Thankfully, the proliferation of other kinds of distribution has made this filter much easier to bypass.

2008-01-04 07:00:29
2.   RichB
Maybe I shouldn't pick too much, but I'm always annoyed when someone brings up the ballplayer salary vs. doctor, teacher, fireman, etc. While I certainly think we should demonstrate greater appreciation (in dollars and respect) for the vital, everyday work of firemen and teachers, it's really a bombastic comparison meant only to inspire unthinking, righteous indignation. The reason that ballplayers make so much money is a very simple matter of economics.

In any given year, there are less than 400 people in America who can hit major league pitching on a more or less daily basis. The public finds value in paying billions of dollars a year to see those few people perform this feat. So, who should that money go to? Should we pay the ballplayers minimum wage and give the rest to the owners? You show me one owner who can step down on the field and do the same thing Reggie did and I'll concede that point.

The only other choice would be to convince the public to stop going to baseball games and instead give their money to their local school districts. That, by the way, would put Alison Gordon out of a job.

Anyone who makes that comparison makes me question whether they, themselves, have an over-inflated ego and whether they deserve their salary.

2008-01-04 07:14:38
3.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I think the biggest problem with Gordon's book is that she takes a real superior tone in much of it, which gets in the way of any genuine insights. But considering her background, I'm surprised it wasn't an Up Against the Wall .... manefesto.
2008-01-04 07:23:30
4.   Raf
2 I find it annoying too. I don't think a ballplayer's salary is relevant to any discussion outside of how much he is compensated in relation to his peers. We don't care about how much entertainters make, so why should we care about how much athletes (who are also entertainers) make?
2008-01-04 07:28:40
5.   Raf
In other news, it looks like the Cardinals are taking a gamble on Matt Clement.
2008-01-04 07:31:52
6.   Josh Wilker
"The man was . . . not that great a ballplayer either, day in and day out."

That's an odd statement. I wonder if other sportswriters of the time thought that Reggie was "not that great a ballplayer." I think you could make a case that he was the best everyday player of the 1970s. Morgan had a higher peak ('75 and '76) but Reggie produced big numbers every single year.

2008-01-04 07:41:52
7.   wsporter
6 I think the consensus on Reggie in the mid 70's was that if he took Wednesday day games in Milwaukee as seriously as he did Monday Night games (used to be Nationally Televised on ABC) in Kansas City he would have been the great player of his day. Unfortunately he didn't and therefore he was considered not to be. He was acknowledged to be great but not the greatest.
2008-01-04 07:44:26
8.   williamnyy23
6 Reggie was top-10 in OPS+ for 11 seasons, including 6 top five finishes(and three top finishes) from 1973 to 1980. Reggie was very much a great ballplayer, even though it has become fashionable to discount his ability. Reggie was more than Mr. October...he was also Mr. April through September.
2008-01-04 07:44:48
9.   Alex Belth
Yeah, you know what, I actually did Gordon a favor there a cut out more of a rant about why Jackson wasn't a great all-around player, which, to be fair, during the years she covered the game, was true. However, she didn't note that he had once been a good outfielder and a fine baserunner. I thought her analysis was so short-sighted that I just ommitted it.
2008-01-04 07:47:03
10.   williamnyy23
7 Again, Reggie led the league in OPS+ in 1973, 1974 and 1976, so he must have been going all out enough times in the mid-1970s. Reggie also made most ASGs in the 1970s and appeared on several MVP ballots, so the fans and media must have thought he was pretty good too.
2008-01-04 07:48:05
11.   Bama Yankee
4 Good point. I watched something recently about the highest paid entertainers. I was surprised to learn that Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Leno & Letterman, and even Simon Cowell make more money than A-Rod. But none of them are defined by their salary the way A-Rod is. BTW, Oprah raked in almost an entire A-Rod contract in just 12 months ($260M).
2008-01-04 07:51:16
12.   Josh Wilker
Reggie's OPS+ average during the 1970s: 147.5

Joe Morgan's OPS+ average during the 1970s: 138.7

Morgan added great defense and superb baserunning, but as Alex points out, Reggie was not bad at either of those things when he was younger. Also, if you include 1969 and 1980 into his 1970s averages, his OPS+ average shoots up to 153, which seems like a pretty staggering 12-year norm.

2008-01-04 07:51:49
13.   williamnyy23
7 By the way, I didn't mean to imply that those were your arguments, but was instead repsonding to the notion that Reggie wasn't among the best players of the 1970s.
2008-01-04 07:58:00
14.   williamnyy23
12 I think you could make a case for either Schmidt, Morgan, Jackson or Carew being the best player of the mid-1970s.
2008-01-04 07:59:56
15.   Josh Wilker
I don't have the energy to do the math, but Willie Stargell might have outdone Reggie in the '70s in terms of OPS+.

Also (and I know I'm off on a tangent here) I think Pete Rose deserves consideration as player of the 1970s. As Bill James said, he was overrated when he played and has become a little underrated afterward. The thing he's got over Morgan and Reggie and Stargell is games played. The man helped his team win every single day.

2008-01-04 08:06:52
16.   williamnyy23
15 You are correct...Stargell led the majors in OPS+ from 1970 to 1979 with a mark of 156. Reggie was second at 148, but did have 900 more Plate Appearances.

Pete Rose's OPS+ in the 1970s was 128 (30th among batters with at least 3,000 PA appearances/12th among batters with at least 5,000 PA). Rose did have by far the most PAs of any player in the decade, however. Rose came to bat 7,399 times in the decade; Bobby Bonds was second with 6561 (OPS+ of 129).

2008-01-04 08:14:54
17.   Josh Wilker
16 : Thanks for those numbers! Any way you could share the names of the 1970s top-12 in OPS+ with 5,000 PA? (And how did you gather that info, might I ask?)
2008-01-04 08:20:49
18.   williamnyy23
17 Sure thing...the source is the searchable data base at BaseballReference.com. If you love doing searches like this, it is well worth the $29 annual subscription (and it serves as a nice way to compensate Sean Foreman for te wonderful website he runs).

1 Willie Stargell 156 5083
2 Reggie Jackson 148 5912
3 Rod Carew 142 5916
4 Reggie Smith 142 5352
5 Joe Morgan 140 6320
6 Ken Singleton 139 5778
7 Johnny Bench 132 6001
8 Bobby Bonds 132 6561
9 Bob Watson 132 5625
10 Tony Perez 129 6155
11 Cesar Cedeno 128 5482
12 Pete Rose 128 7399

It's pretty impressive to see Kenny Singleton on this list. I don't think many people realize how good Singleton was.

2008-01-04 08:21:31
19.   williamnyy23
18 By the way...Bobby Murcer ranks 13th on this list. I also don't think many people realize how good Murcer was either.
2008-01-04 08:23:34
20.   Josh Wilker
Awesome, thanks! Yeah, I should send Sean Foreman money ASAP. He rules.
2008-01-04 08:29:51
21.   Chyll Will
11 You can also say that those entertainers (Judge Judy I don't know, but likely she is as well) are the focal point of their operations, i.e. the Boss, while A-Rod is a (highly compensated) aspect. Letterman, Simon and Oprah are executive producers of various operations outside of their own programs. Compared to them, A-Rod's got it easy, but he's also a chump >;)
2008-01-04 08:35:07
22.   wsporter
13 Thanks, because I certainly thought he was one of the 2 or 3 best all around players from the early to mid 70's; we'd go out to Oakland and he would murder us. As his outfield skills began to decline (ability to cut balls in the gap, progressively weakening arm and maddening inability to hit the cut off man) and were exposed it became difficult to sustain the argument. He was a flat out great hitter though and other than a couple of down years he was able to sustain that almost to the end by making some adjustments in his approach. He was also a better than average base runner who had some real speed as a youngster. No, Reggie was one of the great ball players of his day. It did seem that he took days off though and I have a feeling that in part is what threw both Billy and Thurman into their various paroxysms where he was concerned.

Can you imagine Billy or Thurman's day in day out kind of grind it out drive coupled with Reggie's overall physical talent? What could that man have done on a ball field?

2008-01-04 08:40:25
23.   williamnyy23
22 I don't know. I have a feeling that Billy would have still broke more than enough curfews, resulting in days when he was playing at less than his best.

Even so, I don't think Reggie took off that many days. I just think that's the excuse people come up with when superstars fail to live up to our expectations.

2008-01-04 08:42:48
24.   Schteeve
21 It's maybe some of that, but it's also a simple issue of scale. Dr. Phil entertains way more people at one time than A-Rod does. The audience for Dr. Phil is bigger than the audience for a professional baseball game. Audience size determines advertising demand and advertising demand determines advertising rates.
2008-01-04 08:45:17
25.   williamnyy23
24 Does Dr. Phil really enterain anyone?
2008-01-04 08:58:32
26.   wsporter
23 I watched and listened to hundreds of Reggie's games and he took his share of days off on the field. It was not however an everyday event or an every other day event. He was a great ballplayer and it appeared, at times, that he was also a difficult and complex person. Nobody can bust it for all 162 games, not even the Captain. Laziness was a criticism that some people came up with concerning Reggie; I believe it was a lot easier to point to that than actually thinking and analyzing how his skills were changing and I am sure there was some latent racism involved with that nonsense as well.
2008-01-04 09:01:20
27.   Schteeve
25 I'm nauseated by how many people find him and Oprah "wonderful."
2008-01-04 09:01:23
28.   Schteeve
25 I'm nauseated by how many people find him and Oprah "wonderful."
2008-01-04 09:03:52
29.   Bama Yankee
21 Good point, but I'm not sure that theory holds for everyone on the list:
Oprah Winfrey, $260 million
Jerry Seinfeld, $60 million
Simon Cowell, $45 million
David Letterman, $40 million
Donald Trump, $32 million
Jay Leno, $32 million
Dr. Phil McGraw, $30 million
"Judge" Judy Sheindlin, $30 million
George Lopez, $26 million
Kiefer Sutherland, $22 million
Regis Philbin, $21 million
Tyra Banks, $18 million
Rachael Ray, $16 million
Katie Couric, $15 million
Ellen DeGeneres, $15 million
Ryan Seacrest, $14 million
Matt Lauer, $13 million
Barbara Walters, $12 million
Diane Sawyer, $12 million
Meredith Vieira, $10 million
2008-01-04 09:31:34
30.   Chyll Will
29 I like Schteeve's point, and I also forgot to mention syndication, which would likely explain George Lopez' position on that list (besides plain hard work). The further down the list you go, the more the audience falls in to "niche" or "demographically-oriented" categories; arguably starting with Regis, certainly with Rachœl Ray...

Speaking of Trump and a certain show of his I'm intimately familiar with, throughout the production the crew I drove around practically recited from memory the challenges and locations before I even got to see the crew list, meaning that much of the show is recycled from past seasons. I guess that's a good way to save money and time, but it says a lot about what producers expect people to like; or does it say something about what people like anyway? Either way, I don't think much of the choices on TV. It won't kill to read a book (or look at the pictures anyway >;)

2008-01-04 09:35:09
31.   OldYanksFan
18 Can you please tell me WHERE these names are on that list?

Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Hank Aaron, Dick Allen, Dave Parker, George Brett, Greg Luzinski, Frank Robinson and George Foster?

2008-01-04 09:38:40
32.   Josh Wilker
31 : Maybe those guys didn't rack up the minimum level of plate appearances to make the list.
2008-01-04 09:42:05
33.   Shaun P
29 What strikes me about that list, versus a list of the top-paid athletes, is the perception of who pays those salaries.

As an example, A-Rod is railed against because (in perception) its all the regular folks buying tickets and concessions at games that pays his salary - and that's why those prices keep going up. (Not true.) In reality, most (if not all) of his salary comes from TV money, not ticket/concession money.

I would bet a huge chunk of Oprah's earnings also comes from TV money; how much can the magazine and book club and other properties bring in? But of course, tickets to Oprah's show are free!

People don't see a link between their bottom line and what Oprah earns - but they (think they) see a link between their bottom line and what A-Rod earns. Hence, A-Rod is roasted for his salary, and Oprah is not.

2008-01-04 09:46:05
34.   elb
Being the same age as Reggie and watching him closely during his formative years in Oakland, I believe that he was a product of his times, just as the current high-salaried prima donas are the products of our time. In his time, however, a Black man who was outspoken about himself was not only uncommon, but, to some people, unacceptable. While Reggie made it easy for people to give him the rep of being egocentric (remember, the press and the fans ate it up), he was also willing to tell it like it was - at a time when no one (especially Black players) did. Even his afro hair style spoke for him - he was a man who brought an "edge" that people had only seen in the Inner City and associated it with unrest among minorities. But, here it was - inside the Game. No one wants to focus on that. Racism was - and still is - an issue in Baseball. This was the background of Reggie's rise to fame. Moreover, he was an exceptional ballplayer (great, but not that great) who stayed in the Bigs for over 20 years without the help of body-enhancing drugs, at a time when others around him were starting to experiment with them. Yes, his defense became problematic as the years went on - but that is how it is with players as they age in the Game, playing with all of their heart day in and day out. So, don't underestimate his talent, his dedication or his drive to be all he could be in the Game, and don't focus on his personality until you have thought about what it was like to be in his shoes- in the 70's. Reggie was able to say what people like Aaron only were able to think. Now... you think about it.
2008-01-04 09:46:50
35.   wsporter
29 I look at that list and I want to puke. I have to go and work out an education plan for a disabled child with a school system this afternoon that can't figure out how to allocate resources in a way that will provide an appropriate plan.

The choices we make about what is important in our society are at times a head scratcher. A little more bread and circus I guess. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge: the more I see of life the more I like my dog.

God does this crap make me cranky. Rachael f'ing Ray, are you kidding me? She's a semi pleasant enough person but is that really a reflection of the value of her marginal product? I used to be a Reagan Republican, now I'm teetering on the verge of socialism. Oye, I'm out.

2008-01-04 09:52:52
36.   rbj
What irks me is Ms. Gordon's self-description right off the bat predisposes herself to be anti-jock. I am absolutely sure that Reggie was/is a conceited jerk; but I think if you are going to play at that level, of going to the plate with the intent to get a hit off the best pitcher in baseball, then you have to be conceited, at least to a certain level.

Reggie understood baseball to be entertainment. So he was going to play up the idea of him being an entertainer. If Ms. Gordon was a Hollywood reporter she would have encountered the same attitude from many stars there.

2008-01-04 09:53:01
37.   Josh Wilker
34 : "Reggie was able to say what people like Aaron only were able to think."

Aaron was pretty outspoken, too; if I remember correctly he used the (racially-charged) spotlight from his Home Run King chase to lobby baseball to hire black managers and general managers.

2008-01-04 09:59:38
38.   williamnyy23
31 Those names don't make the 5,000PA cut, but here they are on the 3,000PA list (with rank following OPS+)

Jim Rice - 141(3456 PAs) / 9th
Fred Lynn - 142(3035 PAs) / 7th
Hank Aaron - 145(3413 PAs) / 4th
Dick Allen - 148(3624 PAs) / 3rd
Dave Parker - 143(3607 PAs) / 5th
George Brett - 130(3815 PAs) / 24th
Greg Luzinski - 134(4879 PAs) / 18th
Frank Robinson - Under the 3,000 PA cutoff
George Foster - 139(4063 PAs) / 12th

2008-01-04 10:02:00
39.   williamnyy23
33 I think the issue is more people romanticize about athletes than entertainers. In other words, we want Arod to be a "regular guy" who lives to help the hometown nine win, whereas with entertainers, we want them to be outrageous figures who amuse us.
2008-01-04 10:06:03
40.   williamnyy23
35 The reason I am not bothered by celebrities making boatloads of money is because if they weren't, none of the money would be going toward your education plan. Instead, it would be sitting in the coffers of corporations and billionaire individuals. Like it or not, Rachel Ray generates revenue for her employers, so yes, she is worth every bit of what she earns.
2008-01-04 10:09:39
41.   JL25and3
I loved Reggie, but Morgan was a far better player. "Morgan added great defense and superb baserunning, but as Alex points out, Reggie was not bad at either of those things when he was younger." Reggie may not have been bad, but he was nothing special. Over the course of their careers, Reggie had a 7-point advantage in OPS+; Morgan countered with 1600 more SB, and superb defense at a more demanding, more important position. He was one of the most brilliant ballplayers I've ever seen, period.

Reggie Smith is the name that jumps out at me, a sorely underrated player then and now. He was easily the best player on the 1977-78 Dodgers, though Garvey got the acclaim; in fact, he was arguably the best player in the league. Foster and Parker weren't bad choices, but Smith could have been MVP both those years. He finished fourth.

Put him in with Jimmy Wynn as criminally underrated players.

2008-01-04 10:12:33
42.   LAT
I'll crawl back to Dodger Thoughts after this but I think Alison Gordon's point was only that Reggie was a jerk and not who he appeared to be when the camera was rolling. Granted, this is nothing new for Reggie, Dion or many others. It almost makes one respect Bonds. He is who he is and doesn't have a media persona. He's just plain nasty to everyone.
2008-01-04 10:13:02
43.   JL25and3
I've always thought that Reggie's finest moment was the hip move in game 4 of the 1978 World Series. It ranks with Jeter's flip toss as the best heads-up, clutch play I've ever seen.
2008-01-04 10:14:26
44.   williamnyy23
41 Over the course of their careers, Morgan was clearly better, but I think the focus in this thread has been limited to the 1970s (or mid-1970s).
2008-01-04 10:15:50
45.   williamnyy23
42 How many people though are really "who they are" when the camera is rolling? Just because someone puts on a show for the camera doesn't make them a jerk, at least not in my estimation.
2008-01-04 10:19:37
46.   JL25and3
15 I hated Pete Rose, more than I hated any player before or since. Not because he was good - I'd put him as the third-best player on his team - but because he was a prick. Reggie was arrogant with at least a little sense of humor and sense of proportion; I always found Rose to be arrogant and mean-spirited.
2008-01-04 10:24:02
47.   JL25and3
44 Yeah, I guess, I'm just not sure why. I've always thought the decade-by-decade comparisons to be basically meaningless.
2008-01-04 10:24:29
48.   Chyll Will
35 I'm surprised "Keep Cool" had that much to say >;)
2008-01-04 10:27:44
49.   williamnyy23
47 Limited comparisons are usually meaningless, but the original thought was how was Reggie perceived during his prime, which took place over the course of the 1970s.
2008-01-04 10:35:06
50.   Chyll Will
45 The grown up me agrees with you; from my experience, people recoil or avoid a camera when it's pointed in their direction when they're not prepared to be recorded. How many times have I warned people that there was a camera nearby and they either froze and looked around scared or blown by and ignored the camera altogether; like they were invisible because they ignored it...

But the kid in me says that people will seek out a camera when they have something to say or show, regardless of how important it really is. YouTube, for example. And most children always jump in front of an unsuspecting camera if you let them (some will even if you tell them not to.) Is this a conditioned reflex or the vanity within? Hmmm...

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-04 11:00:07
51.   Schteeve
50 You're using the word "people" as if all people are the same, act the same, feel the same, think the same. Different personality types react to stimuli differently.
2008-01-04 11:01:36
52.   The Mick 536
Thanks for the book references. Not sure that I can keep up with all of them.

Reading baseball books in the off season ain't the same as reading box scores, but it sure beats watching the results of the Iowa caususes.

Wondering if there are more books, other than the obvious ones, written about the game by women? Have the Kofax book and Doris.

2008-01-04 11:06:20
53.   Chyll Will
51 True, but from pure observation, I can group a majority of those personalities that I've observed in that category. I dare not speak for the entire world population, only those I've encountered, unscientifically as it was. It's not necessarily an unfair speculation if others can relate to that observation, but I'll be fair and say you may be right (I may be cray-zay...)
2008-01-04 11:12:54
54.   LAT
45. Agreed but I think her point was not that he puts on a show for the camera but that he was really a jerk when the camera was off. Clearly, she is biased in her view of baseball players in general and Reggie in particular but I read her point as being he was a total phoney. He was not even close to the guy he was on camera. Also Reggie lived in a day when the paparatzzi was a star's friend. Last night I saw footage of 20 cameramen following Tom Brady and girlfrind as they trid to get a cab. They would not get out of their way and would not give them any room or peace. In Reggie's day the media bowed down and hide what the star wanted hidden.

This all being said, last year I was on a fishing trip out of San Diego. I was hanging out with a retired Japanese doctor who was maybe one of the best fisherman I have fished with. Turns out he lives next door to Reggie in So. Cal. and he often gives his extra fish to Reggie or had Reggie over for dinner. He says Reggie is the nicest most gracious guy you ever wanted to meet. I guess age mellows even superstars.

2008-01-04 12:07:14
55.   williamnyy23
54 I've read lots of books that don't portray Reggie as a jerk...if anything, they portray him as a helpful, accomodating guy. When you are in the spotlight like Reggie, some people will love you and some will hate you. I guess both beats having people be indifferent.
2008-01-04 12:24:58
56.   rbj
54 "Clearly, she is biased in her view of baseball players in general and Reggie in particular but I read her point as being he was a total phoney. He was not even close to the guy he was on camera."

Neither was Bing Crosby. Or Joan Crawford. At least towards their families. I think the media (and us media consumers) like to boil stars down to one dimension, when in fact they are as complicated as the rest of us, but with the added burden of having to be on stage nearly all the time.

2008-01-04 12:37:41
57.   JL25and3
56 Which is one of the reasons that the Norma Desmond analogy is so apt; she believed that about stars as well. (Kudos on that one, Alex.)

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