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rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Good thing I had the library dig it out of storage today.

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rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

I just finished chapter 3, wherein he buys the Brewers. Sorry, :airquote:buys:airquote: the Brewers.

I agree that it meanders a bit, but you can get the general direction of a given passage pretty well. I think what surprises me the most is the amount of post-secondary education he apparently had. Baseball men always seem to have this savant-like image, and it's sort of amusing to me that a man widely regarded as an idiot prankster in an industry of petulant children (aka the owners) would be so practically knowledgeable.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Anime Reference posted:

I'm pretty sure he would've thrived in the free agent era. He would've fleeced everybody.

A lot of his talk in chapter 4 and 5 (Milwaukee and Cleveland) is him doing exactly that, except with investors rather than players. He's also very open about the idea of Who You Know. "I just called up [random guy he happens to know] and I got [money/ballplayer/car/etc] that night!" is basically the entirety of the story through about 100 pages or so. Also having a well-regarded, if not spectacularly rich, father with connections of his own.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

I'm convinced that time literally doesn't matter in baseball documentary. Ken Burns couldn't keep it straight, Lords of the Realm couldn't keep it straight, it's basically impossible. It doesn't help that in this book, Veeck drops names constantly. I've been reading for entertainment's sake, so I'm never going to remember the name of Drunk Pitcher #4 because it's not important. I've pretty much accepted by around the midpoint that it's just going to continue to be a string of anecdotes. Amusing, but not terribly informative (as memoirs tend to be.)

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

I'm about halfway through. Gonna try to get through some more tonight. It's actually a remarkably fast read through that point, likely because it was probably 90% just transcribed by his wife as dictated.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Roughly 100 pages left, I'm gonna try to finish it all before heading out of town this weekend. How's everyone else doing?

Names to add to the list of "People Veeck Hated": Del Webb, George Weiss, the Yankees in general, probably August Busch, basically the entirety of National League ownership (see also: Ford Frick), Roger Maris' asterisk.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

I think his complaint was that MLB farm systems were killing independent minors. Which was sort of true, but having come from the upper Midwest, I've seen some pretty good indie baseball in the St. Paul Saints, etc. Maybe not always MLB-track players, but certainly viable businesses. Which seems to be more what he was angling at--cheap entertainment for working-class people.

One thing that caught my eye was his idea for subsidizing college ball with MLB money. I don't know if think part happened, but a lot of guys opt for or stay in college, and a lot of teams look at high schoolers with a bit more suspicion now (at least in the US). When I read Moneyball it seemed like teams still hadn't picked up on high school players being huge unknowns outside of generational guys even in the 2000s.

The one common thread I've picked up on in the few baseball books I've read if how loving stupid most baseball executives are. And petty. Even Veeck, entertaining as his is, held grudges for decades. Baseball seems to continue to crank out money despite the jerkoffs running it, and it makes me wonder just how impressive and successful it would be if it weren't run by a group of dudes who still think local TV broadcasts hurt ticket sales.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

angrygodofjebus posted:

I finished it last night. The last couple chapters were kind of boring (so much relocation chat), but overall definitely worth reading. It definitely does not paint a great picture of the inner workings of baseball. The diatribe near the end on umpires was great too.

Umpires, like bases, are only on the field to keep the game moving. Or some such.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Anime Reference posted:

Did you read Lords of the Realm? Because "baseball owners are idiot children" is one of the major themes of that book.
In fact, I want to re-read it now and watch for spots where Veeck shows up.

I did. That and this and Moneyball and The Book are what I've read so far, and every single one of them is a story of owners, et al., being as dumb as is possible. Even Veeck is on the wrong side of the blackout question, IMO.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Finished. I'm curious to see how people react to the end (the final two chapters specifically) considering he managed to hang on for another 20+ years after the book was published.

rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

I got a pretty old edition from the library, so mine didn't have an afterword. Finding out how much happened after it was published happened via Wikipedia for me. I think I zipped through the last 100 pages pretty quickly, but as a whole I think the book was pretty unevenly paced. The non-baseball stuff was super unimportant to me; I couldn't care less about his social life or drinking buddies, and a lot of that felt wedged in.

I can't say that I learned a whole lot from the book, but it was entertaining. I might pick up one of his others one day, but I won't feel bad if I don't.

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rickiep00h
Aug 16, 2010

BATDANCE

Twin Cinema posted:

I liked all of those stories, because this book really felt like having an oral conversation with Veeck, rather than reading about his stories in text.

The thing for me was that you could clearly get his voice through his baseball-related stories, too. I dunno. Like the other stuff just wasn't interesting. I got the strong feeling that he owed people explanations (for his divorce) or favors (for his buddies to show up in print). :shrug:

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