Originally published April 2012. Former Bainbridge Islander Jim Gullo began indoctrinating his second son Joe in baseball at an early age (after his eldest chose basketball), and this time it sticks—though Joe’s burgeoning affinity for stats and analysis make his future seem more Billy Beane than Edgar Martínez. Trading Manny: How a Father and Son Learned to Love Baseball Again (Da Capo Press, April 1) follows Gullo as he grapples with the sport’s steroid scandals—epitomized by juiced-up slugger Manny Ramírez—and the fatal flaw of athletic hero worship. The author looks for answers anywhere he can, even pushing the late Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus to cut him off angrily: “I don’t want to talk about steroids!” The book juggles moments both serious (a high school player commits suicide after steroid-induced depression) and humorous (the time Gullo almost beaned Paul Simon’s son with a ball). In between, there’s about as much closure over steroids as a disgruntled baseball fan can hope to get.
Ed.’s note: Have baseball on the brain? Don’t forget that the Mariners’ home opener is tonight against the Oakland A’s; first pitch is at 7:10.