Wednesday, March 09, 2005

You Gotta Have Heart

I don't often report news, having switched to a mostly monograph format. Or endless rant format. Whichever. But anyway, I'm often asked when single game tickets go on sale, so I'll report this. Saturday at noon. Write it down.

I read a book. I'm not bragging or anything, but I couldn't think of a snappy lead, so I went minimalist. Damn Senators by Mark Gauvreau Judge is the story of the 1924 Senators' World Series win, among other things. The author is the grandson of Joe Judge, the longtime (1915-1932) first baseman for Washington. I was concerned that the book would focus excessively on Judge, who's one of those nice guys for whom things went pretty well - in other words, a boring biography subject. But Judge is judicious (ha!) in dividing up his coverage; the book talks as much about Walter Johnson as it does about Joe Judge. Damn Senators is a fun read, and the '24 season is something with which Washington baseball fans should acquaint themselves, being that it's the only thing that separates the Senators from the St. Louis Browns.

Unfortunately, the bitter conclusion of the book leaves a bad taste. For whatever reason, Judge feels compelled to follow the Senators not only through the decline of history's only good Washington teams but all the way to the end in 1971. Judge is bitter:
Washington supports a mediocre hockey team, a women's basketball team and the Washington Wizards, perennial NBA second-raters. But, as I write this, there is still no baseball here . . .
I'm not inclined to defend the WNBA, but "mediocre," "second-raters," and "women's" are being presented as equivalent. I wonder what Off Wing Opinion would think of that.

Judge is also bitter because his grandad isn't in the Hall of Fame. He blames this on a Sports Illustrated article in which Joe Judge argued that the Hall was full of guys who didn't deserve it. It's pretty clear to anyone not named Judge that Joe didn't deserve it either (a poor man's Keith Hernandez is a fair assessment, I think), but I can't blame the author for his advocacy.

To sum up: if you read only one book about Washington baseball, it should be Beyond the Shadow of the Senators. But if you're up to reading two, Damn Senators is worthy.

I'm boycotting Baseball Musings for the duration of this ridiculous pledge drive. It's a nice blog, but I could list fifty I'd sooner pay for, and giving the shill at the end of every post is hella gauche. So since I'm boycotting, someone let me know when it's over.

1 comment:

Yuda said...

Speaking of books about the Senators, the National Archives have a lecture and book signing by Henry H. Thomas, author of Walter Johnson's Baseballs at 7 p.m. on the 24th.

Go here and then scroll down to the entry for the 24th. Could be interesting, or it could be lame. Either way, it's free, although they require reservations.