What We Are Reading Today: Hard Ball: The Abuse of Power in Pro Team Sports

Updated 13 December 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Hard Ball: The Abuse of Power in Pro Team Sports

  • In Hard Ball, James Quirk and Rodney Fort take on a daunting challenge: Explaining exactly how things have gotten to this point and proposing a way out

Authors: James Quirk & Rodney Fort

What can possibly account for the strange state of affairs in professional sports today? There are billionaire owners and millionaire players, but both groups are constantly squabbling over money. Many pro teams appear to be virtual “cash machines,” generating astronomical annual revenues, but their owners seem willing to uproot them and move to any city willing to promise increased profits. 

At the same time, mayors continue to cook up “sweetheart deals” that lavish benefits on wealthy teams while imposing crushing financial hardships on cities that are already strapped with debt. To fans today, professional sports teams often look more like professional extortionists.   

In Hard Ball, James Quirk and Rodney Fort take on a daunting challenge: Explaining exactly how things have gotten to this point and proposing a way out. They are writing for sports fans who are trying to make sense out of the perplexing world of pro team sports. It is not money, in itself, that is the cause of today’s problems, they assert.

In fact, the real problem stems from one simple fact: Pro sports are monopolies that are fully sanctioned by the US government. Eliminate the monopolies, say Quirk and Fort, and all problems can be solved. If the monopolies are allowed to persist, so will today’s woes.


What We Are Reading Today: Bettyville

Updated 24 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Bettyville

Author: George Hodgman

Bettyville is a touching memoir about the relationship between a mother and son.
It is a memoir written with love by a man who returns home to care for his aging mother.
Author George Hodgman captures life as it was in small-town Missouri, where he grew up.
Hodgman “is a good writer, knows how to use repetition to good effect, knows how to tease the reader and then pull away, later returning to tease again,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“The memoir would especially appeal to those with family members with dementia as well as those who want to understand how it feels to want not to hurt or disappoint the ones you love,” it added.
“There are chapters on the colorful residents; there are sections on George’s publishing career; there are some awkward and frustrating stories from his childhood; and there are memories of his parents and grandmother,” said the review.
Hodgman died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60.
“The book is instantly engaging, as Hodgman has a wry sense of humor, one he uses to keep others at a distance,” Eloise Kinney wrote in a review in Booklist.
“Yet the book is also devastatingly touching.”