We Got to Play Baseball - Gregg Olson and Ocean Palmer
Released December 2011
Strategic Book Publishing
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
We Got to Play Baseball is a collection of 60 stories from past and current professional baseball players. Some stories made me chuckle, while others brought tears to my eyes. I admit, things were off to a rocky start with the first couple of stories that annoyed rather than intrigued me. After reading these two stories, I feared everything would be tales of juvenile pranks that I personally felt were too much. However, those two stories ended that type of prank and what followed were the stories I'd expected to find.
There are a number of stories that I could talk about, but a handful really touched me in some way. Probably top of the list is Jeff Brantley's recollection of being underground at Candlestick Park when the San Francisco earthquake hit. He managed to get up to the field to find his wife without realizing in the process the concrete walls had chewed his hands up, and then they still had the bay to cross to make sure their young daughter was okay. I apologize for some of the schmucks in the world who took Gregg Olson's slump so personally that they felt it was okay to continually destroy his mailbox. I read with horror the tale of Doug DeCinces' experience tossing the ball with 12-year-old Cal Ripken, Jr. only to have some idiot teenager start using them for target practice.
There are prank stories too that didn't bother me because they were done in good humor and didn't harm innocent bystanders, such as a hotel maid who then had to clean up a trashed room or a women knocked to the ground by a water balloon lobbed from the top of a Boston hotel. Ken Griffey, Jr's steak dinner bet with Lou Pinella or filling a team's water cooler with salt water. Those are amusing recollections.
In the end, We Got to Play Baseball captured the personal stories fans of the sport don't often see. With baseball season about to come to an end, this is the perfect way for fans to fill their time until spring training kicks back in. I'm not a big baseball fan, in fact, in my house I'm both a "football widow" and a "baseball widow." I can see this being a story my husband will be eager to sit down and enjoy.