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What you can learn from Jason Kendall, beyond "Jason Kendall is testy."

In case you couldn’t tell from his 15 famously hard-nosed years of big-league catching, Jason Kendall’s default way of moving through the world is: confrontationally. For instance, despite spending his entire adult life in baseball, Kendall doesn’t believe in pitch framing. As in: he doesn’t believe that pitch framing exists. At all. But Kendall can't just leave it at that. He writes, in his 2014 book Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played: “There’s no such thing as framing; anybody who says there is can go screw himself.” So, ahem, I suppose I must now go screw myself—and probably you must do so as well, dear reader.

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A close look at the pitcher-turned-writer's third (and best) book.

Bigger Than The Game (Citadel, 320 pp.), is Dirk Hayhurst’s third book. (Wild Pitches, a compendium of outtakes and reprints, is not quite a fourth.) It is easily his best. Bigger Than The Game has far more depth and grip than his first two books, The Bullpen Gospels and Out of My League, which are entertaining but sometimes shaggy rambles despite occasionally serious content. Now that Hayhurst has taken off his baseball glove, he has also taken off his gloves as a writer, perhaps because his retirement from playing has liberated him from the need to protect his employment status. He hits the truth harder, and with more impact. Perhaps the greatest respect you can pay to Bigger Than The Game is to say that it is a very good baseball book even though it contains very little baseball. The majority of it takes place where Hayhurst has always been most at home: in his mind, not on the mound.

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April 11, 2013 5:00 am

In A Pickle: Seattle's Past


Jason Wojciechowski

A new book looks at the many obstacles along the route to becoming a major-league city.

The history of the business of baseball is filled with at least as many scoundrels and thieves as the history of the game on the field. Google something like "worst owners baseball history" and you'll find reams of blog posts and articles with stories of racism, and rich men laying waste to cities, and incompetents, and all manner of other hoodlums. Of course, team owners never act alone. Cities and counties and states are run by the same power elite that produces the lead dogs of sports franchises, and leagues frequently have help from local politicians in their schemes to build boondoggle stadiums, place expansion franchises, and shift teams from city to city.

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