From the introduction:
I have a passion for baseball. I got it from my dad, who taught me to play catch when he'd sneak home from work during his lunch break for half-an-hour or so at least three or four times a week when school was out for summer. My first "team" was the Big Red Machine because my first Spring Training experience led to an encounter with Hall of Fame legend Johnny Bench that I will never forget.
My brothers and I always traded baseball cards at night, spread on the floor in the living room, listening to AM broadcasts of whatever games we could tune in through the static. On Monday nights though we'd trade in the radio for the TV and tune in to Monday Night Baseball.
And when I say tune in, I mean it quite literally.
We had a big antenna off the backside of the house, and a few minutes before game time we'd all take our spots--and I don't mean laying claim to the best spots on the couch. No, we'd be setting up a relay of sorts that went something like this: my older brother in front of the TV shouting "better" or "worse" or "stop, right there, perfect!" ... me by the backdoor to relay the message as loudly as possible to my younger brother, who would be outside turning the antenna manually, trying to position it just right, hoping to get a clear picture in time for the game. And of course sometimes the only way to get a clear picture was if a human hand was holding that thing steady at all times. It was times like that when not being the youngest of three brothers came in real handy. On those nights at least two of us would get to enjoy the game.
And then the glorious day finally arrived when our parents paid for a cable TV subscription and our lives were never the same. Oh, we still spent our summers outside and barefoot, playing ball, and getting in and out of trouble ... but now our nights of trading baseball cards took on a new dimension thanks to TBS. The Braves became my new "team" soon enough, but more than anything else I became a diehard baseball fan.
And as you well know, trivia is part of being a diehard fan.
Our baseball cards were, of course, our earliest source of trivia questions. As we'd trade it was a matter of habit to challenge each other with the "Did you know?" questions in small print beneath the stats on the back of the cards. It was a matter of pride to be able to answer not only every one of those questions, but to also be able to cite the stats from the cards of our favorite players. We'd spend hours studying the most arcane bits of information.
Life was good already, but then in addition to TBS, one day we came home to find WGN and ESPN. Who knew there was so much to learn about our National Pastime?
I spent the better part of my childhood soaking up as much as possible ... and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.
I'm as passionate about baseball today as I was then. Absolutely love the Braves, and I wish Bobby would change his mind and come back one more year. Geographically my family has picked up another team as well--Tampa Bay--and we're big time fans of Carl Crawford and the Rays, and not just the fair-weather variety, we've been faithfully attending games at The Trop every season since Tampa began play in the A.L.
More than anything though, I'm still a diehard fan of the game, I love everything about it--I've loved playing it, watching it, coaching it, and writing about it, but I've never grown tired of it.
I spent more time researching this new volume of trivia questions than for any book I've previously written--and I hope it challenges and entertains you, but more than anything I hope it stirs your passion for our National Pastime, by far the greatest game in the world.