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Smart Ball follows Major League Baseball's history as a sport, a domestic monopoly, a neocolonial power, and an international business. MLB's challenge has been to market its popular mythology as the national pastime with pastoral, populist roots while addressing the management challenges of competing with other sports and diversions in a burgeoning global economy. Baseball researcher Robert F. Lewis II argues that MLB for years abused its legal insulation and monopoly status through arrogant treatment of its fans and players and static management of its business. As its privileged position eroded eroded in the face of increased competition from other sports and union resistance, it awakened to its perilous predicament and began aggressively courting athletes and fans at home and abroad. Using a detailed marketing analysis and applying the principles of a "smart power" model, the author assesses MLB's progression as a global business brand that continues to appeal to a consumer's sense of an idyllic past in the midst of a fast-paced, and often violent, present.
From his first year in the majors, George Herman “Babe” Ruth knew he could profit from celebrity. Babe Ruth Cigars in 1915 marked his first attempt to cash in. Traded to the Yankees in 1920, he soon signed with Christy Walsh, baseball’s first publicity agent. Walsh realized that stories of great deeds in sports were a commodity, and in 1921 sold Ruth’s ghostwritten byline to a newspaper syndicate for $15,000 ($187,000 today). Ruth hit home runs while Walsh’s writers made him a hero, crafting his public image as a lovable scalawag. Were the stories true? It didn’t matter—they sold. Many survive but have never been scrutinized until now. Drawing on primary sources, this book examines the stories, separating exaggerated facts from clear falsehoods. This book traces Ruth’s ascendance as the first great media-created superstar and celebrity product endorser.
Examining baseball not just as a game but as a social, historical, and political force, this collection of sixteen essays looks at the sport from the perspectives of race, sexual orientation, economic power, social class, imperialism, nationalism, and international diplomacy. Together, the essays underscore the point that baseball is not just a form of entertainment but a major part of the culture and power struggles of American life as well as the nation’s international footprint.
"A collection of essays about baseball in other countries across the globe that explores a wide range of issues for each region"--
Explains how Billy Beene, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is using a new kind of thinking to build a successful and winning baseball team without spending enormous sums of money.
The latest and greatest in ESPN.com baseball guru Rob Neyer's Big Book series, Legends is a highly entertaining guide to baseball fables that have been handed down through generations. The well-told baseball story has long been a staple for baseball fans. In Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends, Neyer breathes new life into both classic and obscure stories throughout twentieth-century baseball -- stories that, while engaging on their own, also tell us fascinating things about their main characters and about the sport's incredibly rich history. With his signature style, Rob gets to the heart of every anecdote, working through the particulars with careful research drawn from a variety of primary sources. For each story, he asks: Did this really happen? Did it happen, sort of? Or was the story simply the wild invention of someone's imagination? Among the scores of legends Neyer questions and investigates... Did an errant Bob Feller pitch really destroy the career of a National League All-Star? Did Greg Maddux mean to give up a long blast to Jeff Bagwell? Was Fred Lynn the clutch player he thinks he was? Did Tommy Lasorda have a direct line to God? Did Negro Leaguer Gene Benson really knock Indians second baseman Johnny Berardino out of baseball and into General Hospital? Did Billy Martin really outplay Jackie Robinson every time they met? Oh, and what about Babe Ruth's "Called Shot"? Rob checks each story, separates the truths from the myths, and places their fascinating characters into the larger historical context. Filled with insider lore and Neyer's sharp wit and insights, this is an exciting addition to a superb series and an essential read for true fans of our national pastime.
Ray Kinsella's fanatic love of baseball drives him to build a baseball stadium in his corn field and kidnap the author, J.D. Salinger, and bring him to a baseball game

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