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Trading Manny: How a Father and Son Learned to Love Baseball Again Hardcover – March 13, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mark Fainaru-Wada, coauthor of Game of Shadows
Trading Manny should be required reading for anybody associated with Major League Baseball, including players, managers, trainers, GMs, union leaders, and, especially, the Commissioner. This is the story of what it’s like to be a fan, to worship players as kids do, but then to grapple with learning that your heroes are human. Jim Gullo and his son take readers on a journey that underscores the challenges not only of growing up in the so-called ‘Steroid Era’ but, even more so, of refusing to fall out of love with the game.”

Doug Glanville, ESPN analyst and author of The Game from Where I Stand
“Any parent who sees a dream inside the heart of their child will exhale that someone has finally tried to express the shattering effects of baseball’s inability to teach from its failings. Jim has attacked it head-on, with both raw honesty and fatherly tenderness.”

Dale Murphy, two-time National League MVP and Founder of the I Won’t Cheat Foundation
“Sometimes it takes a child’s vision for adults to see clearly. In Trading Manny, Jim Gullo and his wise-beyond-his-years son Joe, seek answers…Why did players do this to the game we love? And can we come back to the game after this time of rampant cheating and disregard for our national pastime? Trading Manny helps us all through the tough times we who love the game had to go through.”

Library Journal, 1/23/12
“A book that will be enjoyed and appreciated by even the most jaded of baseball fans.”

Portland Oregonian, 3/11/12
“For any adult who wants to convey a love of baseball to youngsters, the opening scene of Trading Manny is unforgettable…well-crafted book.”
 
New York Review of Books, 3/13/12
Trading Manny is, of course, about the heartbreak two fans feel when their love for baseball is betrayed. But its more fiercely compelling story is about young Joe whose nascent ideas about heroes gets a distinct refining—and about his father who learns more from his son than he thought possible.”

 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/1/12
“An engaging conversation on what baseball means today.”

 

Deseret News, 4/29/12
“Transcends the normal coming-of-age memoir…Not only are the heroes flawed in Trading Manny, but baseball itself is a fallen hero…The biggest stars of Trading Manny are fatherhood and the relationship between a father who looks for lessons to share and a son who absorbs them from his greatest hero.”

About the Author

Jim Gullo’s writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Premiere, Islands, Saveur, and other publications. He is the author of several books and guidebooks and lives in Oregon. Find him at www.jimgullo.com.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030682017X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820175
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,732,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've waited a long time for an honest, soul-searching explanation of the really important effects performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) have on the sport of baseball and American culture, and finally we have one. Jim Gullo has written a beautiful, memoir-quality description of how he and his 7-year-old son Joe were mightily impacted by baseball's PED scandal. He doesn't mince words or pull punches as he takes us on an odyssey across this country searching for answers to hard questions that the baseball business doesn't want to address: "Why did they do it?" "Wasn't it cheating?" "Aren't steroids dangerous for you?" "Was fame and money more important than health and reputation?" "Why won't ballplayers tell kids that they cheated and that they're sorry?" "Why won't the baseball business speak out to protect young fans from getting sucked in to using steroids?" All these questions are clearly answered in this book.

You'll learn about some really terrific baseball people: Walter Johnson, Scott Brosius, Dr. Justin Rothmier, Don Hooten, Jr., Jackie Robinson, and the irrepressible pitcher, Dirk Von Hayhurst. As the PED scandal weighs heavily on father and son, these guys all play a part in bringing them back to our national pastime.

This book is a "must-read" for any father whose son is interested in playing sports, especially baseball. On a visceral level, Gullo addresses issues of ethics, honesty, self-preservation and finding role models for boys. Gullo is the father we all want to be. Heck, he's the father we all want to have.

And be ready for an uplifting ending! One of the more heart-tugging moments of the book has to do with Joe's baseball glove that receives signatures from truly worthy baseball people. It's that final signature gotten in the closing pages of the book that'll wake you up!
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Format: Hardcover
I was lucky to get my hands on an advance reader's copy of this book, and I loved it! Gullo writes about baseball and fatherhood with humor and passion, creating a narrative out of his love for baseball, his somewhat obsessive need to share that love with his young son, and the horror and disappointment they both feel when the game lets them down. His response to that disappointment is what carries the story to another level. Gullo and his son hit the road to find out why cheating had become so rampant in the game, and what the powers that be planned to do about it -- which in far too many cases was nothing. But the reporting is solid, and it's easy to identify with the Gullo guys' inability to just say no to baseball. Like all us other hardcore fans, their hope springs eternal. Will baseball ever deal effectively with steroids and other PEDs? Wait till next year!
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Format: Hardcover
Trading Manny takes you on a journey of nostalgia, parenting, and disillusionment, but not necessarily the obvious journey. While Gullo weaves the beautiful tapestry of his son's youth and their bonding through baseball, he does it in such a beguiling way that I couldn't help but think back through my own child's youth, and the activities we shared, and how those were shaped decades earlier by my youth and my youthful passions.

Every time Jim and Joe took to the field for a game of catch, I flashed way back to my own such games with my dad and brothers, and more recently with my own daughter, albeit with a frisbee rather than ball and glove. Every time Jim and Joe took in the spectacle of a ballgame in a grand stadium, I thought of my own trips to grand stadiums with my daughter. Ours were for gymnastics and concerts, not baseball, but the memories resonate the same. Trading Manny is a book you read in parallel with your own memories of your own childhood and children, a pretty neat trick for an author to pull off.

Any parent will recognize, too, the dilemma of responding to a child first seeing the injustices of the world. How to discuss weighty matters without knocking the exuberance out of the youth. How to balance disillusionment with innocence.

Sad as it is, our kids are growing up in an era of scandals and cheaters, with few of the culprits taking responsibility. In many ways Trading Manny is really Trading Sports. Baseball, football, cycling...alternate reflections of the same problem, the same lack of decency. Gullo does a masterful job of showing how to imbue that quality into his child, breaking with the trend one young person at a time. I would look forward to his treatment of the sequels Trading Politics and Trading Religion.

Oh, and the Nick Collison story is laugh-out-loud funny!
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Format: Hardcover
I wasn't that much of a baseball nut growing up (I was a one-dimensional pop music-obsessed fan-boy) but I have developed a reasonably informed interest since moving to the Philadelphia area twenty-five years ago. You're pretty much a social outcast if you can't opine passionately about the Phillies and they have been playing pretty good ball in the Charlie Manuel era. My brother, on the other hand, was the kind of kid who had a picture of Thurman Munson on his bedroom wall and knew all of the stats.

I have more of an interest in parenting and that's where this book really resonates. Every father with young children can relate to the frustration of doing the best you can in a world that isn't quite as black and white as it once seemed. Rather than avoid the hard stuff, the author went on a journey with his son to make some sense out of the performance enhancing drug controversy and re-discover why it was important to keep the passion for the sport alive. "Trading Manny" is a breezy read, filled with enough informed baseball lore to keep the fans nodding in agreement and a must read for every parent who loves his kids and baseball. It will be a great Fathers Day gift!
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