Not exactly baseball, mom and apple pie. So let's take a step back to a time when the game was still considered innocent -- and the book that changed that.
Let's revisit "Ball Four."
Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" could be the greatest baseball book ever written. The insider's perspective on his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros forever changed how a generation of baseball fans thought of its heroes and kicked off a wave of books that pulled back the curtain in other sports.
It was released in 1970 and rocked the baseball world. Now it's nostalgic, but "Ball Four" is making a 21st century appearance, just released as an e-book by RosettaBooks. It's also out on audio book -- read by Bouton himself. The release comes 50 years after Bouton made his debut with the New York Yankees.
"My grandchildren have been after me to get into the 21st century, and my wife has been bugging me for years to do an audio book in my voice," Bouton said. "This is the original book, plus the three updates I wrote in 1980, 1990 and 2000, with the last update covering my return to Yankee Stadium for Old-Timers' Day and my reconciliation with Mickey Mantle. I promise there won't be any more updates."
That there needed to be a reconciliation with Mantle was a result of what Bouton wrote about in "Ball Four" -- Mantle drank and treated fans with contempt at times, among other revelations. The book caused a lot of bad feelings for years within the baseball community; the notion of what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse was broken. The book resulted in a meeting with then baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who could do little about it except to tell Bouton how unhappy he was with it.
Washington held a particularly special place in Bouton's heart. The book talks about how the Shoreham Hotel was one of the Yankees' favorite stops because of the view it gave ballplayers, and we're not talking about the view of the monuments.
It's inexplicable that some cable network hasn't done a miniseries on "Ball Four." If there was ever a perfect marriage, it is cable television and "Ball Four."
Hopefully one of the networks will step up to the plate soon. The game could use a good laugh.