The Cheater’s Guide and The Soul of Baseball

I just received a copy of The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball by USS Mariner blogger Derek Zumsteg. Derek also runs a blog just for the book here. I’ve only had time to flip through it, but I like what I see so far.

As a Braves fan, I first checked to make sure he devoted some time to the evil 1991 Minnesota Twins. This team won the World Series by cranking up the AC to give Kirby Puckett a tainted home run off of Charlie Leibrandt. Zumsteg covers this, but misses the most egregious incident of that series: Kent Hrbek pushing Ron Gant off the bag to get an out. The play was so obvious that Hrbek couldn’t even keep a straight face when later describing the play. I remember one of my good friends was a Twins fan who had a Wheaties box with the Twins celebrating their “victory.” Wheaties?…more like Cheaties. Ok, maybe I’m not that mad about it. :-)

As for Braves cheating, Zumsteg reminds us of the team’s manipulation of the catcher’s box to make the strike zone seem larger than it was. The fact was actually pointed out by the TBS television crew. There is no doubt that those guys root for the Braves, but they are not partisan when it comes to commenting on the game. The organization then classlessly booted the broadcast team off of the team charter. One unnamed source was also quoted as saying “Mazzone sucks” three times.

I look forward to sitting down with the book for a full read very soon. It looks to be an enjoyable read.

This book also makes me want to play one of those weird connection games. Every time I see the name Derek I think of my high school job recording high school sports scores for The Charlotte Observer. One thing I learned from fielding calls from all over the Carolinas is that there are more ways to spell Derek than any other name. My time at The Observer brings me to another connection to an author with a baseball book out right now. Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Star writer and current author of The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America also worked for The Observer at the same time I was there, though I did not learn this until recently. I bet few in that newsroom would have pegged us as future authors…well, maybe Joe, but certainly not me. Although, I was very good at spelling Derek, Derick, Darek, Daryc….

Buy either, or both, of these books with The Baseball Economist and get free shipping from Amazon. :-)

9 Responses “The Cheater’s Guide and The Soul of Baseball”

  1. TwinsDude says:

    The Metrodome AC thing… MYTH!

    As for Kent Hrbek… I never really liked him anyway…

  2. DMZ says:

    Thanks for the mention. The Hrbek thing’s great, and I’ll try and get to that in the continuing Cheater’s Guide blog entries.

    TwinsDude: you’ll have to look at the book, but there’s a well-documented instance where someone with the Twins talked at length about how and when he did it, and I believe it was the Star-Tribune that investigated.

  3. Lynn says:

    Where can I read more about the Braves and the batters box? I know what james’ has said about it but I want to find out more about the Braves doing something about it.

    Thanks!

    PS Looking for your book tomorrow morning!

  4. lep says:

    AC-aided home run? How about Charlie Liebrandt-aided home run? Or Lonny Smith-aided Game 7 loss? Weak, man. Weak.

  5. lep says:

    Just read the article the author referenced in #2. Yes, Dick Ericson is one of many odd Scandinavians we up here in Minnesota, but get over it. Those responsible for Puckett’s home run were 1) Puckett and 2) Leibrandt.

  6. JC says:

    lep,

    For someone claiming to be innocent you seem to be a bit sensitive. More evidence of your guilt! :-)

    Just in case anyone is really mad at me, this post was meant to be humorous and tinged with the bias of an unabashed Braves fan.

    But seriously, check out Derek’s book, because he does cover the research on using the AC to cheat. Then, if you don’t like what he has to say, go get mad at him. ;-)

    Lynn,

    I don’t know where to read more about the box. Derek covers it in the book, and there may be sources in the back, but I don’t have the book in front of me to check. I’d try searching the archives of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  7. Sealbeater says:

    Right on Lep! The AC deal is Bunk. The Hrbek thing is just plain funny. I don’t think you can truly blame Hrbek, the Ump let it go. Hey I thought both teams played great and it is one of the sports highlights of my life. Go Twins! See ya in the post season Braves fans.

  8. lep says:

    No worries, JC. Notice I didn’t try to defend Hrbek. Though for his size he was always very graceful at first base.

    And I should have given you props for pointing out the Braves’ cheat story. I’d not heard that. What I don’t understand though is wouldn’t a manipulated catcher’s box have hurt their hitters too, even if they knew about it?

    Back to the Twins, I hope you read the article I linked for your fellow blogger/author. It is very interesting. But the odds of the AC really having an impact are infinitesimal, about as much chance of that as of a baseball getting into one of those holes in the roof.

    Oh yeah, that happened once…

  9. Lynn says:

    I just bought Baseball Economist this morning and I am reading it. They didn’t have Derek’s book yet so I’ll get it next week to find out about the cheating. Nice site!