Here’s my schedule over the next couple of months as things heat up with the upcoming release of TRADING MANNY (one month from today):

Wednesday, March7: Taping appearance for the Here & Now Show, WBUR in Boston

Tuesday, March 13: Reading and book-signing at Powell’s Books, Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, Oregon,7 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, March 14:  Reading and book-signing at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday, March 15-17:  In Tempe for spring training media appearances (contact me at

Monday, March 19 to Wednesday, March 21: In Seattle for media appearances

Wednesday, March 21:  Elliott Bay Book Company reading and book-signing, Seattle, WA, 7 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, March 27 to Thursday, March 29:  On Bainbridge Island, WA for media

Thursday, March 29:  Reading and book-signing at Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

April 2 to 4:  In San Francisco for media

April 5 to 7: In Los Angeles for media

June 7:  In New York for book-signing and roundtable discussion at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, 7 to 9 p.m.

Details and updates on my webpage:

Jim and Joe and a heated game of All-Star Baseball



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Trading Manny book trailer

Our promotional video, shot, directed and edited by the inestimable Christopher Harting.

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January 31, 2012 · 8:08 pm


I want to send a copy of TRADING MANNY to Dustin Richardson, the 26-year old relief pitcher who just became the latest ballplayer to get tagged with a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug agreement.

It was reported by the New York Times in this story that Richardson’s had an astounding cocktail of banned substances in his system that included some five different steroids. Richardson was no big-league star; he knocked around for a couple of years with the Red Sox during the ’09 and ’10 seasons before returning to the minors last year. When his drug test came back at the end of last season, he was found to have been stacking drugs like one of those champion cup-stackers, a dizzying amount of chemicals.

I was especially struck in the story about the comments from his mother, reached at her Kansas home, who said, “Dustin realized it was the biggest mistake of his life.” And she hoped someone would give him another chance.

I want to send him a copy of MANNY — and her, too — not as a nyah-nyah-we-caught-you exercise. There’s plenty of that going around without me adding to the noise. But I truly believe that ballplayers like Richardson have somehow forgotten the spirit that got them into baseball in the first place as kids, and the childlike wonder that still makes kids fall in love with the game and its players. TRADING MANNY is kind of a reminder that it’s okay to play clean and resist the pressures to do something so dangerous to yourself in order to try to get ahead. In baseball or any other walk of life.

I hope for Dustin Richardson’s sake — and the sake of his mom — that he can come back to the game and his life without needing drugs.

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Will Barry Larkin Be the Last Hall-of-Famer?

A couple of years ago, while I was researching Trading Manny, my son Joe posed this question to Scott Brosius, the former star third-baseman of the Yankees and now baseball coach at Linfield College:

“I wonder what would happen if somebody was voted into the Hall of Fame, but then was found out later to have used steroids while he was playing.  Would they kick him out of the Hall of Fame?”

And the kid was only 8 years old.  Here’s more on the subject in a new piece that I posted today on Bleacher Report:


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cover 2

cover 2

Trading Manny will be released on March 13, 2012

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January 10, 2012 · 8:47 pm

Writing for Bleacher Report

I’m very pleased to report that I’m now posting stories and opinion pieces on, a leading sports site.  Check out my first post there:

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What do we make of the news that Ryan Braun, the reigning NL MVP and a young guy who appears to have worlds of talent and charisma, has been suspended by baseball for failing a drug test?

Disbelief.  Shock.  An unsettling, “this makes no sense” feeling.  A sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach that, in fact, the steroids era isn’t over despite what MLB tells us.  I mean, Braun had already received his big contract, had already reached the pinnacle of his profession with an enormous upside, and had already passed any number of drug tests.  His representatives say that he vehemently denies having used PEDs and will challenge the test and appeal the suspension, and that the drug test finding synthetic testerone in his system was some kind of aberration.

I don’t know about you, and I don’t know much about synthetic testosterone, but I have to think that it’s not easy to have such a thing appear in your bloodstream. And I find myself responding as a parent, and saying, “Somebody better make sure that Ryan Braun hasn’t poisoned himself in order to make a few more dollars playing baseball, and look after that young man’s health first and foremost.”

The problem with this response from Ryan Braun from where I sit is that these are the same things that so many other ballplayers have said when their names came up on The Mitchell Report or they failed a drug test.  Manny, on his first suspension while with the Dodgers, made vague claims about having been given something by his doctor that must have triggered the bad test, and it was all a mistake.  Ryan Franklin, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens…they all voiced shock and indignation that they had been associated with drug use.  “There must be some kind of mistake” became a boilerplate response.  Now, guilty or not, Ryan Braun unfortunately suffers from the association with and track record of his peers.  Because of ballplayers’ dismal record of owning up to their drug use in the heyday of juice in baseball, he has been given a higher standard to meet of proving his innocence.  At least in the eyes of this fan and member of the general public.

On the flip side of this, I’m not aware of a single MLB player really jumping on the OTHER side of this particular slimy coin, and coming out strong and hard saying, “It’s outrageous and disgusting and outright dangerous to take PEDs to play this game better, and I am inviting my colleagues, teammates and opponents to join with me in taking a unilateral stand against drugs in our game.  WE WON’T STAND FOR IT.”  Maybe Ryan Braun could take that position now instead of just denying the report from the drug test.

It reminds me of something that my son Joe (at 8 years old) said in TRADING MANNY:  “What if a guy was elected to the Hall of Fame and then they found out later that he had used steroids?  Would they kick him out of the Hall?”  Will they now rescind Ryan Braun’s MVP, or re-vote?  And who is going to reach out to the kids like Joe who are just now becoming fans of the game and reassure them that their heroes aren’t lying to them and cheating?

I doubt that baseball has the will to really make a stand against Braun’s drug test.  They, too, hope it was a mistake and will just go away.  Let’s wait and see.  Like former pitcher and author Dirk Hayhurst said in his blog, one hopes that Braun is right, the test is wrong, and he becomes the first ballplayer to successfully challenge the test result and the suspension.  Let’s hope that for Ryan Braun’s sake…and for the kids who have looked up to him.  But as Hayhurst also points out in the piece, there is a huge temptation for a player to cheat just long enough to receive a contract that will make him incredibly wealthy and set for a lifetime…and then deal with the shame and scandal and possible side-effects later.

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