Reviews of Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and The Baseball Project's Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails.
Just in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which has inspired boycott discussions in several countries appalled by China's history of human rights violations, comes Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games (New Chapter Press, $25.95, hardcover). Written by identical twins and television executives Tom and Jerry Caraccioli, the book chronicles the journeys of 18 American athletes who spent thousands of hours training only to have the United States pull out of the Games in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The authors also explore the politics involved and report on efforts by a group of athletes to overturn the boycott. And in a brief foreword, former Vice President Walter Mondale apologizes to all athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the 1980 Olympics; it's the first of Boycott's many poignant moments.
References to baseball abound in rock, pop and country music, and now a quartet of veteran alternative rockers calling themselves The Baseball Project has put their own stamp on the game with an entire album of tunes about America's pastime. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck joins Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey and Linda Pitmon on Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (Yep Roc Records) - 45 minutes of catchy and clever summertime guitar songs about the fall of Mark McGwire ("Broken Man"), the indecent gesture that pitcher Jack McDowell made to fans in 1995 ("The Yankee Flipper") and Sandy Koufax's premature retirement ("Long Before My Time"). The group even name-checks all 17 Major League pitchers who've hurled perfect games in "Harvey Haddix" - a song about the Pittsburgh Pirate who lost his 1959 bid for baseball immortality to a 13th- inning solo home run by the Milwaukee Braves' Joe Adcock.