Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Roadside Baseball

Roadside Baseball 
By Chris Epting 
Sporting News
288 pp 
5 Scoops of Bosco  

Reviewed by 
Allen Bacon
Daily Bosco

If there is one thing I do well, if I do say so myself, is the Baseball Roadtrip.

There was the time I hit four California League Minor Baseball League Games in one day in Adelanto, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino and Lake Elsinore.

Then there was the time I traveled by train from Seattle to Portland, ME with baseball games at Safeco Field (Seattle), Wrigley Field (Chicago), Fenway Park (Boston), and in Portland Maine for a Portland Seadogs Minor League game.

Or the road trip to Spring training in Arizona to take in five games in one day in Surprise, Goodyear, Peoria, Glendale, and Scottsdale.

Or my trip by train to Omaha Nebraska for the College World Series with stops to see games in Denver (Coors Field/Rockies), Albuquerque (Isotopes) and Sacramento (River Cats).

So, needless to say, my friend Tom Elliot, the Owner of Past Times Collectible in my hometown of Fullerton, CA was anxious to share this new book with me during our once every two months "Hot Stove" sessions at his downtown store.

We call them Hot Stove sessions, not because it's the Major League baseball offseason, but because it's the Cal State Fullerton baseball off season. But I digress.

The book is called Roadside Baseball by Chris Epting and it is a collection of stories about places of interests for baseball fans.

Places like the shrine to Mickey Mantle in Oklahoma, or the apartment complex where Ebbets Field used to stand or Roy Campanella's High School.

This is a fun and quick read and I will definitely have it in my backpack or glove compartment for my next baseball road trip.

My only hope is that Mr. Epting writes a second book. Because one thing that he left out was all the stuff about our baseball heritage in Fullerton, my hometown.

For instance, there is no mention of Fullerton's Amerige Park or the site where our downtown ballpark sits and how Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Walter Johnson, and Arky Vaughan all played there as kids. Or the Minor League teams that used it for Spring Training in the 1930's and 1940's or the Hollywood feature films that used it as a backdrop.

To Epting's credit he does mention the Fullerton High Wall of Fame and the ballplayers on there. But there is so much more to see in my hometown and that's a slippery slope because now I am wondering about all the other things he left out in the book.

So, there definitely must be a second book.

Or, maybe I'll write that book.

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