Said In Stone
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Many of us tried to take advantage of today’s off day to hit the links — despite the cool temps and wind chills that sure felt like they were in the 30s!
We all just needed a day away …
Said In Stone
Television colorman Steve Stone has released a brand new book, Said In Stone, that has just appeared in bookstores. In fact, Steve is appearing at the Borders bookstore at 150 N. State Street on Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m., so stop by and say hello.
Q: Can you take us through the process of writing a book?
Stone: This is the third book that I’ve done, and I think what you have to do first is you have to have a pretty good idea about where you want to go with it. Then, you put together an outline, then you really flesh in your outline with chapters. In my case, with this book being the third, I wrote a serious book the first time and a funny book the second time. The funny book sold a lot more than the serious book, so I decided to combine the two in this book. It’s very informational on the game of baseball in every aspect of it, from every position on the field to the dugout to the front office through the Commissioner’s office and the challenges of every position and every aspect of the game. It’s kind of a look back and a look at present day and some predictions for the future of the game and where I believe it’s going.
Q: You’ve talked a little bit about using humor. You’ve obviously been pretty close to some legendary baseball personalities over the years. Do you touch on those at all?
Stone: Well, because this was a book that really had nothing to do with broadcasting, I didn’t deal with any of the broadcasters I’ve worked with because I’ve had right around 100 play-by-play men in my years as an analyst. But what I did was take the various positions and then I would tell either funny stories or funny anecdotes about people who played those positions, guys I played against, guys I played with and numerous stories that fit into the various sections that the reader had a chance to learn something but also laugh a little bit, which is my object.
Q: So if a fan reads Said In Stone, they can take away some anecdotes and knowledge, sounds like a nice combination?
Stone: I think if you do just a serious book, then you have a limited audience because there are a lot of people who would read it and their eyes would begin to close through the second chapter. But this one treats some serious subjects with a light touch. And it’s educational because there are going to be some things in there that the average fan doesn’t know. But there are also things in there for the aficionado of the game who might not know, but have a clearer understanding of how baseball works. And then the stories about some of the real characters in the books are going to be entertaining, and they’re going to learn something about some really unique people who have played this game.
Q: Did you work with anyone? Did you call anyone before starting this book? Was there any consulting? Or was this just your idea that you wanted to see through?
Stone: It was my idea, and then I worked with Mark Gonzales, who did a nice job of arranging my thoughts and doing a lot of research. Mark was invaluable being a writer. I don’t spell very well, and he does a great job of it. He really did a lot in putting this together, but they are all my words and we didn’t do it in the interview format. I would write a lot of it on yellow legal pads and then I would use a tape recorder. Next, I would go through the sections by myself and then Mark would get all of the words arrange them and put into writer’s speak.
Q: So who gets the first couple of copies?
Stone: What happened was, the fine folks from Triumph gave me 6 books, and because Jerry Reinsdorf’s quote is on the front of the book, I decided to give Jerry the first copy because I felt him being my employer and all, that would be a wise move to make. I then gave a second copy to my step mother because the dedication of the book is to my father who passed away recently at the end of January. I also then gave a copy of the book to Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Mathews when we were in Kansas City and to the Cleveland Indians’ Tom Hamilton, the radio broadcaster who I’ve really grown to like. Before you know it, the books are gone. I do have one left that I can use to show people and say, yes indeed, I did write a book and here’s what it looks like. The one suggestion I did make to the people at Triumph was the back page of the book had a picture of me pitching for the Cubs, so I suggested, because I do work for the White Sox, and I actually pitched as many years for the White Sox as I did the Cubs, that they split that page and show two pictures of me pitching for both the Sox and the Cubs. And I actually played for the Sox two different times so I think it’s more balanced because I don’t want to exclude either fan.
The book is going to serve a couple of different purposes. For the baseball aficionado he’s really going to get something out of it that he didn’t know before. For the casual fans, they’re going to understand the game a little bit more. I link baseball to chess, in that once you learn the way the players move, it’s a very simple game. But when you start to really dive into it, it’s infinitely complex and the slightest move by a player in the game of baseball can affect the outcome of the game just as in chess the grand masters are actually thinking 6,7,8,9 moves down the road and when they make a move, it’s to set up a move much later on. It’s much like a manager does when he tries to work out a certain situation where he has a certain pinch hitter and he wants to face a reliever at a given time when the game is on the line, usually in the 8th or 9th inning, he will maneuver his bench to get that matchup. That’s exactly as grand masters in chess do to get their opponent in a certain situation and force him to make moves.