Trading Manny: How a Father and Son Learned to Love Baseball Again

Trading Manny: How a Father and Son Learned to Love Baseball Again

by Jim Gullo
     
 

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The moving story of how a father and his young son recaptured their love of baseball—a winning testament to why the game matters and how it can still bring us together in spite of itself

In recent years something hasn’t been quite right with baseball. Ask Jim Gullo: he’ll tell you even a seven-year-old kid knows it. In December 2007, just as

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Overview

The moving story of how a father and his young son recaptured their love of baseball—a winning testament to why the game matters and how it can still bring us together in spite of itself

In recent years something hasn’t been quite right with baseball. Ask Jim Gullo: he’ll tell you even a seven-year-old kid knows it. In December 2007, just as Jim’s young son Joe was beginning to develop a true passion for the game, the bombshell news of players’ steroid use made it clear that America’s pastime wasn’t what it claimed to be. Suddenly, Jim found himself struggling to answer questions from Joe that had nothing to do with batting averages or World Series champions: “What are steroids? Who was using them? Wasn’t it cheating? Why weren’t the players who got caught suspended or punished by baseball?”

While Jim searched for the right words and Major League Baseball dithered, Joe took matters into his own hands: he removed the players who had been named as likely drug users from his prized baseball card collection and created a cheaters pile. Then he created a different category of suspected “juicers” to keep an eye on. He took these players’ posters—even the poster of his favorite slugger, Manny Ramirez—down from his bedroom walls. The steroid scandal had clearly hit home.

Rather than wait for an official explanation and apology from Major League Baseball that would never materialize, Jim and Joe set out to find their own answers. They traveled the country from coast to coast, from Spring Training contests to major and minor league games—speaking with players, prospects, and managers while tracking down the legends and ghosts of baseball’s golden age. And one day they discovered an aging but dedicated prospect who would become not only a true role model for Joe, but also the unlikely inspiration to lure both father and son back to the game they loved.

By turns humorous, heartbreaking, and inspiring, Trading Manny tells the story of their journey back to baseball—how along the way Joe traded his idol Manny for a more worthy hero, and Jim discovered something invaluable about being a father.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Mark Fainaru-Wada, coauthor of Game of Shadows
Trading Manny should be required reading for anybody associated with Major League Baseball, including players, managers, trainers, GMs, union leaders, and, especially, the Commissioner. This is the story of what it’s like to be a fan, to worship players as kids do, but then to grapple with learning that your heroes are human. Jim Gullo and his son take readers on a journey that underscores the challenges not only of growing up in the so-called ‘Steroid Era’ but, even more so, of refusing to fall out of love with the game.”

Doug Glanville, ESPN analyst and author of The Game from Where I Stand
“Any parent who sees a dream inside the heart of their child will exhale that someone has finally tried to express the shattering effects of baseball’s inability to teach from its failings. Jim has attacked it head-on, with both raw honesty and fatherly tenderness.”

Dale Murphy, two-time National League MVP and Founder of the I Won’t Cheat Foundation
“Sometimes it takes a child’s vision for adults to see clearly. In Trading Manny, Jim Gullo and his wise-beyond-his-years son Joe, seek answers…Why did players do this to the game we love? And can we come back to the game after this time of rampant cheating and disregard for our national pastime? Trading Manny helps us all through the tough times we who love the game had to go through.”

Library Journal, 1/23/12
“A book that will be enjoyed and appreciated by even the most jaded of baseball fans.”

Portland Oregonian, 3/11/12
“For any adult who wants to convey a love of baseball to youngsters, the opening scene of Trading Manny is unforgettable…well-crafted book.”
 
New York Review of Books, 3/13/12
Trading Manny is, of course, about the heartbreak two fans feel when their love for baseball is betrayed. But its more fiercely compelling story is about young Joe whose nascent ideas about heroes gets a distinct refining—and about his father who learns more from his son than he thought possible.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/1/12 “An engaging conversation on what baseball means today.”

Deseret News, 4/29/12
“Transcends the normal coming-of-age memoir…Not only are the heroes flawed in Trading Manny, but baseball itself is a fallen hero…The biggest stars of Trading Manny are fatherhood and the relationship between a father who looks for lessons to share and a son who absorbs them from his greatest hero.”

Library Journal
This book is about more than baseball. Gullo, who has written for Sports Illustrated and other publications, gives us a funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking story about baseball, the steroid scandal, and his son Joe, who grows here from age seven to 11. Joe had worshipped the baseball players who became involved in the steroid scandal brought to light by the Mitchell Report of 2007. He had considered them heroes capable of superhuman feats. Gullo writes of striving to be a good father while explaining hard truths to Joe and maintaining his own love for the game. He explores allegations against specific players (including Manny Ramirez, Joe's favorite before the scandal named him a juicer), but this is primarily the story of Gullo and his son as they travelled around the majors over a few summers, redefining their relationship and rediscovering their love of baseball in the post-Mitchell Report era. A book that will be enjoyed and appreciated by even the most jaded of baseball fans.—M.M.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306820175
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
03/13/2012
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.09(d)

Meet the Author

Jim Gullo’s writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Premiere, Islands, Saveur, and other publications. He is the author of several books and guidebooks and lives in Oregon. Find him at www.jimgullo.com.

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