Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4/13 - Alex McCord, Don Newcombe, Emma Span

It’s no secret that juggling work and family can be challenging for even the most organized moms. As a busy mom managing a career and family, Alex McCord is just like most American moms - juggling her career, maintaining a household, while taking care of her two small children, and like all families, she encounters many challenges along the way.  As breakout star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City, Alex McCord has inspired and entertained parents everywhere. Her new book continues that trend, with the added bonus of sharing personal experiences with families dealing with the daunting task of raising children in an urban environment. Alex uses her own hard-won experience as a springboard to discuss a host of parenting topics, including baby’s first six months, traveling with infants, hiring caregivers, disciplining, dealing with accidents, dining out, making the most of urban life, and scheduling time for non-urban escapes. She also provides insight on managing clutter and keeping the house clean amidst the chaos of raising small children.

Don Newcombe LA Dodger's Ambassador   TODAY IS DODGER'S HOME OPENER
Donald Newcombe (born June 14, 1926 in Madison, New Jersey), nicknamed "Newk", is an American former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1949-51 and 1954-58), Cincinnati Reds (1958-60) and Cleveland Indians (1960).  Newcombe is the only baseball player to have won the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards in his career. In 1949, he became the first African-American pitcher to start a World Series game. In 1955, Newcombe was the first black pitcher to win twenty games in one season.  In 1956, he was the first pitcher to win the National League MVP and the Cy Young Award in the same season.  Newcombe was also an excellent hitting pitcher, compiling a career average of .271 with fifteen home runs, and was one of few pitchers in the major leagues used as a pinch hitter.

Emma Span isn’t your typical baseball fan. A self-proclaimed geeky Yale grad in her late twenties, she might look more at home at a bookstore than a sports bar. But looks can be deceiving. She’s passionate about baseball, watches as much as she can (even once giving blood for free tickets to a Met game, even though she’s a die-hard Yankee fan) and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport that would make even Wikipedia blush. And speaking of blushing, she’s also seen Pedro Martinez naked—and not many fans can say that.   In this debut essay collection, Span hilariously chronicles what the game means to her as a fan, a journalist, a baseball nerd, a movie fanatic (movies are, of course, the other Great American Pastime), and a daughter. Hired in 2007 as the Village Voice's first staff sports reporter in years, and thrust into the press box and the locker room with few other female reporters, she details how her “dream job,” while exciting, was far more grueling and nerve-racking than she anticipated.  Yogi Berra once said: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” But for lifelong baseball aficionado Emma Span, it hasn’t always been that simple. Now, in this winning collection of essays, Span chronicles her love of the sport, from childhood hobby to full-blown obsession, from big break (becoming The Village Voice’s first staff sports reporter in years) to heartbreak (getting a pink slip within a year). She recounts elbowing her way to get a quote from Yankees captain Derek Jeter and waiting for Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez to put some pants on for an interview. She literally gives her lifeblood to see the Mets and hops a plane to Taiwan, home to perhaps the largest concentration of Yankees fans outside of the five boroughs. But after getting laid off and being forced to leave her press pass behind, Span wonders if her passion for the sport will fade. Highly unlikely. Baseball helped Span forge a lasting bond with her father, connect with total strangers, and endure even the toughest times. With a fresh voice, a devastating wit, and an alarmingly encyclopedic knowledge of the game, Span offers a new perspective on America’s favorite pasttime—as a journalist, a baseball nerd, a daughter, and a fervent stay-until-the-last-out fan.