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Dropping the Ball: Baseball's Troubles and How We Can and Must Solve Paperback – March 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Only a former ballplayer who possesses the astute ability to look beyond race, power, and money in confronting the long-term issues that are certain to continue to plague baseball could have written Dropping the Ball. Dave Winfield is such a former player. He offers up a solution in his Baseball United plan -- a plan in which we can all, in some way, contribute, thereby guaranteeing that baseball forever remains America's favorite pastime!"

-- George M. Steinbrenner III

"Dave is not only a Hall of Fame baseball player but a Hall of Fame human being who deeply loves the game of baseball."

-- Earvin "Magic" Johnson

"Dave Winfield's genuine concern for the game he played so well and loves so much is evident on every page. Along the way he makes telling points and offers valuable suggestions for baseball's future."

-- Bob Costas

"This is not your ordinary book about America's pastime. Dave dissects every aspect of baseball to reveal a lot of unanswered questions about what is hurting the game. This book is not only for the avid baseball fan but for everyone!"

-- Torii Hunter

"Dave has always shown great respect for the history of the game and concern for the game's future. He has done a great job of combining the two. When Dave speaks, I listen."

-- Joe Morgan

"Fueled by his love for baseball, Dave has some great ideas for strengthening it and reengaging African Americans in the game."

-- Sharon Robinson, author and educational consultant, MLB

"This is a must-read book and one that I feel has something for everyone."

-- Hank Aaron --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dave Winfield is best known as a New York Yankee and won a World Series ring with Toronto in 1992. Currently an executive with the San Diego Padres, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Michael Levin writes and ghostwrites in Orange County, California, where he runs www.Business Ghost.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439170495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439170496
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,618,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've grown tired of all the baseball scandals...from BALCO to Pete Rose, etc. I've been a fan of the game all my life, but have kind of lost touch from the strike on up until now. It just seems like MLB and its players are out of touch with the concerns of the average fan and parent. I was surprised to find that this book, written by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, is a positive and throughly researched look at the game and how to make it better. I sincerely hope that the suggestions he's made in these pages are acted upon by MLB execs at the top level and by community leaders and youth baseball coaches at the bottom.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this was going to be another baseball bashing book focusing on the hot-button steroid issue. I was pleasantly surprised that Winfield discusses all the issues that we fans bring up on the various sports radio shows. It's nice to know someone on the "inside" is listening. But the kicker is... he offers solutions -- from the grass-roots little league level to upper management. I was shocked to see George Steinbrenner's most flattering endorsement right on the cover. If these two can make peace, I suppose anything is possible.
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Format: Hardcover
This book did what I expected it to. It laid out some good ideas that Winfield feels would both improve the game of baseball and improve the image of baseball. In these times of steroids (allegedly, of course) and poorly behaved athletes, a clear, "UNITED" manifesto and direction for baseball is something the game clearly needs. Winfield delivers this.

Another reviewer points out that there are no "A-ha!" moments in this. I have to agree with him, HOWEVER, I think that is really actually the point. What Winfield proposes in this book is not earth-shattering, but one must believe that implementing these changes, the game will be better, both on and off the field. What is so shocking, to me, is that implementing a lot of these changes should really be so simple that the true "A-ha!" is that they aren't already being done!

What muddles the book, though, is that the book does get to be a bit rambly. It is hard not to feel like this is a beefed-up transcription of a monologue that Winfield gave one afternoon. It seems to me, though, that any type of book, whether about baseball or politics or knitting, in which the author is making a proposal, or making a pitch to a certain way of thinking, that there will be some extent of "ramble".

I would take Winfield to task, though, in that he at times seems to ignore the white elephant in the corner of the room. He, at times, lets people off the hook a little too easily and does not take them to task. But you should kind of expect that from him. I'm not questioning his integrity, but, as others have pointed out, he has one foot in both sectors of the game- as the former player and the current executive. His allegiances are, unfortunately, prone to being a bit murky.
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Format: Paperback
"Making the Play" offers several different things to its readers (a brief glimpse into baseball legend Dave Winfield's life; criticisms and how'd-we-get-here-from-there tracings on the decline of baseball's popularity in America and particularly within urban and youth populations; a "Baseball United" outline that suggests a development plan for reinvigorating America's used-to-be favorite game; a particular history of baseball especially incorporating the Negro Leagues) but what I enjoyed the most/ found the most interesting is why the farming system ends up drawing so much from Latin America. This brief behind-the-scenes glimpse was particularly enlightening for our modern game.

"Making the Play" is both an encouraging and discouraging read at the same time if you're a fan of America's greatest pastime. Winfield, himself a lover of the game as well as one of it's participants, is an active member of the baseball community and continues to promote its development through this book but I doubt that the book will end up making much of a difference. As he discusses so much of what needs to change to help change the culture are top-down efforts that directly support and enable more grassroot efforts to instill the love and development of the game within a youthful population that is being pulled in so many different directions and has so many people to idolize that are ultimately more accessible to them than baseball stars. He is sober-minded but optimistic that this can still happen.

The read of this book is rather dry. Co-author Michael Levin assists and keeps a quick pace but the guys avoid flourishes and overuse of anecdotal material.
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Format: Hardcover
Former Yankee slugger, Dave Winfield's put together a thoughtful, from-the-heart analysis of what's wrong with today's major league baseball...but it's a softball (if you will) approach to improving baseball's public image. It's heavily lacking in direct quotes. Anecdotes are few and far between, and fiery criticisms are just not there.

Apparently, Dave told himself one day: "I gotta' write down what's wrong with baseball." -And this is the result. Dropping The Ball is a nice, over-coffee review of everything about the game and what needs improvement and what to do about it. He makes some good points, but very few are of the "Ah-hah!" eye-opening variety one might expect of someone on a mission of change.

One of the forever-recurring themes of the book is that "[MLB] isn't doing enough to market [baseball] properly" hence, he says, the drop-off in fan interest across the board. He gently complains about the inferior abilities of some players, but doesn't address league over-expansion, which may be the cause of it. Too, Winfield could have zeroed-in on the hows and whys of over-priced tickets...and the major-league out-of-pocket costs for game-day hot-dogs, beer, pizza, parking and Pepsi. He didn't. Dave, what about the new pasteurized, kid-friendly, Disney-land-like stadiums that waterdown youngster interest in the game? [Didn't Las Vegas learn that pandering to the under-12 crowd just didn't work?] -And how come corporate elements can easily get playoff tickets while the average fan doesn't have a chance? Dave doesn't say. He (only in passing) mentions the crazy-high player salaries, but our author doesn't attribute big-time fan disinterest in and detachment from the game to them.

--But one thing is clear.
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