Last night, we celebrated the release of Pitching for Success: Character Lessons, the Joe Nuxhall Way at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio! It was a wonderful success, with a number of friends, families, and kids out to pick up signed books and learn more about the Miracle League Fields. Here are some snapshots of the event!
We are proud to announce that Mike Lackey’s Spitballing: The Baseball Days of Long Bob Ewing is the winner of the Larry Ritter Book Award. The Larry Ritter Book Award is given by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), an organization devoted to the accurate preservation and celebration of baseball history. The sub-committee had this to say of Spitballing and its win:
“Lackey… offers his readers a superbly drawn portrait of one of early baseball’s grinders and his era. In addition, Lackey provides his readers imposing and informative endnotes as well as an impressive bibliography.
“Finally, Lackey writes well and argues his conclusions persuasively and clearly. It should be noted that of all the books in the Ritter Book Award competition this year, Lackey’s was clearly the best designed and most attractive. The publishers and its editors took care with this production, serving its author and his readers spectacularly.”
Published Fall 2013, Spitballing has been met with overwhelming support and enthusiasm. The chronicle of Bob Ewing, early twentieth century Reds pitcher and iconic master of the then-legal spitball, brings to life an era in baseball history riddled with tension, late-night games, and gambling. His book has been celebrated by baseball historians and devotees, and its accolades affirm a well-researched, well-written, and well-published book of historical merit.
Congratulations, Mike, on this recognition!
“A terrific story matched with a terrific man. Pitching for Success is the perfect book for teaching young boys and girls the character traits Cincinnati Reds pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall lived by. Young Dominic, like Joe, has a good heart.”
—Sean Casey, former Cincinnati Reds first baseman
“Oh how Dad would have loved this story.”
Dominic Perez, lead pitcher for the Firebirds, hasn’t been throwing strikes. In fact, he’s given away a double and a homerun. His confidence is down, and he worries that his father, the team’s head coach, will pull him out of the game…for good. Dominic is about to learn an incredible lesson about hard work, sportsmanship, and the true meaning of baseball. Through his sister’s life-affirming first game at the Miracle League Fields, and his father’s stories about famed Reds pitcher and sports broadcaster, Joe Nuxhall, Dominic discovers that it’s not about the perfect game: it’s about being a good team member, brother, student, and friend—on the field and off.
“His Dad had told him, ‘Don’t close your mind. Keep your options open. Don’t just work for yourself but work to help others less fortunate than you.’ So many possibilities. So many ways to realize a dream.”
Thursday, March 27, 7:00pm: Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Opening Day, Monday, March 31, 12:00pm-2:00pm: Booksellers on Fountain Square
AND, check out our giveaway (today and tomorrow only!) on the Orange Frazer Press facebook page. Like and share our post for a chance to win a signed copy and a membership to Reds Heads Kids Club!
The holiday spirit in this office is infectious. As I walked over to discuss this blog post with our graphic designer, I was almost blinded by the blinking Christmas light necklace that our Publisher had given her. Very serious evidence here:
Now that the decorations are up and the festive sweaters are out, it's now time for rampant consumerism. If your holiday buying season has been anything like mine so far, you spent Black Friday trying to avoid the claustrophobic mess of people at the mall, participated in Small Business Saturday by strolling around your local downtown, and woke up at 6am on Cyber Monday buying several very large gift orders and a case of red wine (that you swear you're going to give away as gifts). At this point in the season, you're starting to get a little worn out, and you need direction, guidance, advice, and/or a divine message to help you find the right gift for that one family member or friend that is impossible to shop for.
Well, we have the perfect solution: an OFP book.
And we're going to go one better and give you our favorite picks for OFP gifts. So here is what we will be giving this year:
Brittany (Designer): Mine would be Amy’s Table by Amy Tobin. I am giving it as a Christmas gift to my grandma. She loves to cook, and make cooking fun. This is the perfect book for that. Also, she is a breast cancer survivor and part of the proceeds of Amy’s Table benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness.
JB (Editor): I'm giving 1968: The Year That Saved Ohio State Football by David Hyde. It goes to my jock associates at the gym, who caught me reading an Anita Brookner novel. The book's cover featured a sad lady staring at a clock. So this gift might help restore my locker-room cred, and it's also one of the best sports books ever written. I know this not because I edited David's book but because of having taught a class in sports lit. Not a prejudiced editorial bone in my body, of course.
Janice (Office Manager): Mine would be Cash, Cars, & Kisses by John Fulker. I am giving it as a Christmas present to my father-in-law and my husband’s grandmother. They both like true stories with suspense and this book definitely has that. Once you start reading it you don’t want to put it down. Plus the book cover is so awesome (Great job Brittany!).
Marcy (Publisher): My favorite book is Never Not A Lovely Moon by Caroline McHugh. And I've given it as a gift for teenagers, young women, postmenopausal women, and even older gentlemen. Its wisdom transcends all ages and demographics.
Sarah (Production Lead): My book is The Legends: Cincinnati Bengals by Chick Ludwig, because A) the Bengals are on a hot streak right now, winning four games in a row B) even if you aren’t a football fan, the book is full of interesting profiles on men who could probably bench press a small automobile and C) if you don’t like to read, there are 54 pictures to look at. If I say who I’m giving it to, well that would just ruin the surprise!
Kelsey (Business Development, and, you guessed it, Social Media): This year I'm giving my grandmother(s) Out of Step by Jane Murray Heimlich. I know that she came from an era that they both love to remember and read about, and that they will love the dancing, the intrigue, and the real-life story of family relationships. They are two of the strongest women in my life, and the story of a similarly strong and engaging woman will be perfect for them.
So go ahead and keep on shopping, because a story, beautifully told, is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Chad Johnson OchoCinco is a clown on the football field, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on TV. In person he is quiet and shy and reserved. He is fascinating nowadays because he is constantly reinventing himself. NFL lockout? No problem. He already has a spot on a Kansas City pro soccer team. He’s flashy, he’s quiet, he’s flashy he’s quiet, he’s flashy, he’s quiet. He’s like a neon sign that blinks in the window.
At his first book signing in September 2006 at Jo-Beth in Cincinnati he wore jewelry that could be seen from outer space. It could have bought my car, my house, and my superficial side. It was a bracelet made of hundreds of canary yellow diamonds and it was the size of a wrist band. Our intern Erika and I had visions of him bestowing it upon us after the event if it went well. The bookstore was packed, and we sold hundreds of books. He was cordial to everyone and even had someone in the audience run out and get him a sandwich from McDonald’s. The book signing was a huge success. When it was over, he said thank you, bolted to his truck and left us and our dreams of instant riches at the door. We did, however, snap some photos of me wearing his sweatshirt when no one was looking. He left with the sweatshirt, too.
When he came to Wilmington for a book signing, we had him come to the office a bit early to sign copies of his book, Chad: I Can’t Be Stopped and just hang out before the chaos ensued (which is what happens in a small town with the arrival of a huge celebrity). He overheard me calling the publisher “Mom” since she is my mother. So from that point on, he called her Mom, too. It was silly and endearing.
At one event in Newport, Kentucky, star-struck fans brought him gifts of all sorts. A pumpkin with his name painted upon it in bright letters, birthday cards (it wasn’t even his birthday), a sandwich he did not eat, jewelry that he kept and candy. He graciously accepted each gift and set it in a pile next to his chair. After everyone was gone, he said, “Here, Sarah, you take this stuff.” I threw out the sandwich but noticed the candy, a full bag of Runts that someone had gotten from one of those large dispensers. I ate a piece. Erika said, “Don’t eat that. It could be poisoned!” I told her I’d call her if I ended up in the hospital. I ate the whole bag. The next day, I went to the gym.
What I’ve learned about celebrities is that they like to hang out with other celebrities. Chad called me once—by mistake. I was out for a walk when my cell phone rang.
“What are you doing?” he asked in a very seductive way.
“Um, out walking,” I replied.
“Walking? Why are you doing that?”
“Well, it’s what I like to do when it’s hot out,” I said.
“Wait a minute. Is this Sarah?” he asked.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I dialed the wrong number. Enjoy your walk.”
He cares. He doesn’t care. Neon sign.
Chad’s mother left him when he was very young. He must have been so frightened as he peered through the screen door watching her go as he stayed behind with his grandma. What was to become of him? His mom needed to move away from Florida, to get her life back together. So she took Chad’s younger brother, Chauncey, and left for California, giving Chad the gift of abandonment, wrapped tightly in a bow of longing and sealed with grief. He was five. Sometimes I wonder if all of his antics are really a message to his mother, saying, “Look at me, Mom. I was worth keeping.”
After the book promotion ended, I didn’t see Chad for quite some time. It wasn’t until August of 2010 when my dad and I went to the Bengals training camp in Georgetown, Kentucky. Before the team’s evening practice began, he was sitting on the bleachers surrounded by fans. They were trying to talk to him, snapping pictures of him with their phones, and he was interacting with them and kind of not. It was as if he were a live museum display. I watched the scene for a few minutes and then said to my dad, “I think I’m going to go down there and just say hi.” So down the stairs I went. I was nervous. What if he doesn’t remember me? He could totally blow me off in front of all those people and make me feel like a complete ass. But I kept walking because I’m always up for an adventure.
I sat down in the same row as he and there were a few people separating us. I leaned forward and caught his eye. He saw me and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Oh my god, how are you?” He remembered. So I sat down next to him, gave him a big hug, and we talked for several minutes about his stint on Dancing with the Stars, and the passing of his best friend, Chris Henry. People were taking our picture now. I felt like an ass. So I got up to leave and he said, “Do you still have my number?” I didn’t. “Um, no.” I said meekly. “I have changed phones several times since we last spoke.” He looked dejected. So I handed him my phone and he programmed his number back into it. I gave him one more hug and told him to have a great season. He didn’t. The Bengals finished 4-12.
He didn’t call me either.
I follow Chad on Facebook and Twitter. He sends out random messages to his followers that say, “Pepe (his nickname for himself) loves you” or “I’m thinking of y’all today.” He barely engages in any dialogue with his followers. He just likes to see if they are listening, to see if they respond. Being abandoned can be a chasm of a wound. Maybe one million followers on Facebook and Twitter, a successful career in the NFL, major endorsements, dancing with stars, and two published books aren’t enough.
Maybe sometimes he just has to yell out, “Chad loves you. Don’t go.”