Good Night Sibby Sisti, Wherever You Are...


When Brendan Boyd and I wrote The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading And Bubblegum Book, we needed some kind of coda at the end - something in line with the smartass tone we'd created, mixed with equal measures of snark and nostalgia. Sibby Sisti replaced Mrs Calabash in the old Jimmy Durante exit line, and just like that, we had our coda and the book rode off into the sunset.

But we never expected that line to stick in so many readers' minds, to the point where it still comes back in comments and reviews of the book, especially since it was re-issued as a facsimile edition Kindle Book in 2015.

The other thing that's come back is the question about whether/when a sequel to the original book will appear. The answer to that question is "soon, I hope". Work is in fact under way on a sequel that will apply the same blend of snark and nostalgia in the original book to cards of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, and will include a first-hand take on the ways in which the business of baseball cards has changed - for better and for worse.  

Stay tuned... 

My Interview On Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf

Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf is the best baseball book site around, and last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Ron about the just-published new edition of the book that I co-wrote with Brendan Boyd - The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading And Bubblegum Book.

I've done a lot of author interviews since my book was first published - on television, radio, and over the phone - and it's not often that the interviewer has actually read and enjoyed the book. Usually, they're just filling space on their program, website or blog, and they're thrilled to have an author who is engaging and willing to do all the talking. But in Ron's case, he really read the book, and his questions were informed and engaging - about  the book, specific cards, the Topps company, and about baseball in general. It was a whole lot of fun.

Here's a link to the audio podcast of the interview on Ron's site. It runs about thirty minutes.

Just Manny Being Manny

Manny Ramirez, still serving his 50-game suspension for using banned substances, paid a visit to his teammates in the LA Dodgers clubhouse the other day, in violation of MLB policy, and had a typical Manny comment:

"I didn't kill nobody, I didn't rape nobody, so that's it," Ramirez said. "I'm just going to come and play the game."

Boston fans, in the Comments section of the Boston Globe, of course had some pointed reactions to this:

"I didn't kill nobody, I didn't rape nobody"
The man child puts it all into perspective for us. Manny, we are fools to judge you..... you moron.
Posted by jdub June 10, 09 06:37 PM

I wonder how much the LA fans like the whole "Manny being Manny" show now. Total "We told you so!" moment.
Like my ex-Wife....we had some good times, I have some great memories...but she's someone else's problem now.
Posted by Chris June 10, 09 07:13 PM

There's gotta be a couple of unsolved murders and rapes in L.A....since you brought it up Manny...where were you?
Posted by Artiepus June 10, 09 07:41 PM

Defense lawyers everywhere should take note of that for their clients:
"Your honor, I stand here accused of stealing a car so I could sell drugs. But yo, check it out. I didn't rape nobody. I didn't kill nobody. So that's it."
Posted by JimR June 10, 09 08:03 PM

Red Sox Nation

Of course I'm biased, but you can't help noticing that there are an awful lot of Red Sox fans at games the Sox play on the road -- to the point where in some cities it must be embarrassing to the other team when the Sox fans seem to outnumber the home team fans.

"Red Sox Nation" is much more than a marketing concept.

So because we're in that awful dead zone right now between the end of the football season and the first Spring Training game, and because my nephew Paul sent me this excellent video that a friend of his wrote and produced, it's time for baseball!

(You can get more information about the video here.)


I took a trip through the countryside of upstate New York and back in time to Cooperstown for a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

It had been almost twenty years since my last visit to the Hall. I was prepared for making the ninety minute drive from Albany almost entirely on local roads, but I wasn’t prepared to find that nothing had changed along State Route 20. And in the case of State Route 20, that’s not a good thing.

Sad little roadside yard sales, boring houses, baled hay everywhere, endless satellite dishes, dozens of McCain signs – it was a lot like traveling the back roads of West Virginia. The only major employer in the area appeared to be a huge Wal-Mart distribution center, set down in the middle of nowhere.

In fact it was like traveling the back roads of most of the United States, and that was not comforting during the run-up to the Presidential election in November.

The Village of Cooperstown, however, is another thing altogether, an oasis in the midst of all this desolation. With a steady flow of tourists from around the world, and its quaint homes and old-fashioned charm, it is a lovely place to visit, even for non-baseball fans.

Unlike State Route 20, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has grown and developed quite nicely over the past twenty years.

The “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience” and “Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball” exhibits were new to me, inspirational and humbling at the same time.

But while the new exhibits and audio/video presentations were excellent, I spent most of my time (as I had last time) in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, reading the bronze plaques and immersing myself in the history of the game. Then I spent too much time (and money) in the Museum store, trying to talk myself out of buying almost everything I saw.

I will leave you with two pieces of advice if you’re making your first visit: double the time you think you’ll need to fully enjoy the Museum; and if your companion isn’t a baseball fan be sure to plan an alternate activity outside the Museum for him or her – there’s nothing worse than having travelled all that way and having someone who’s bored asking “Are you done yet?” when you haven’t really begun.

Francona To Manage McCain Campaign?

A report out of New York claims that the McCain Campaign has hired Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona to manage its final push toward the White House.

Based on the Sox Skipper's sterling track record of leading an organization back from the dead in several high-stakes situations (if only for a short time) Francona is an inspired -- if risky -- choice.

But time is running out for the McCain campaign, and drastic measures are in order.

Alternative Investments

If you're on the sidelines financially, uncertain which way to turn, there's a new way to keep yourself warmed-up while you wait to get back into the game.

"Today is introducing a day-trading site for sports fans – a Web stock market which allows people to invest real money to own “shares” of their favorite sports players, teams and leagues. The word “shares” is in quotes because the shares on OneSeason are, ultimately, meaningless— only illusory slices of players like Eli Manning or Lebron James, which either rise or fall depending on the demand for those shares among other traders. People can transfer up to $2500 a year to their OneSeason accounts."

Fantasy Sports on steroids.