As with last year, I spoke too soon. Arriving today in the mail was a gift from Levi and Stacey: The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, and you can tell they’re serious about the “annual” thing this time because they remembered to include a year in the title. I’m sure Levi likes it because of the profile of Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty; everyone else can enjoy the two articles by Bill James, which include statements such as “The Royals walk less than Stephen Hawking.”
Unlike last year, now that the 2004 trip is further in the past, this year I only got one baseball-related book for Christmas. It’s Grand Old Game: 365 Days of Baseball, a collection of 365 photographs from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s collection, each taking up the entire right-hand page with the photo caption on the left-hand page, which explains why it’s 744 pages long. When I opened the book, the first photo I turned to was of the stands at Ebbets Field in August 1944, packed with the boys who sold the most war bonds
in Brooklyn, all waving to the camera. Also visible in the near foreground are a policeman leaning on a railing, a vendor standing nearby, and next to the vendor, a sign reading “In Case of Air Raid, Follow Arrow,” the arrow on the sign pointing under the stands. It is a great photo.