421 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Sport about their New Books
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    • Sports
    • 4.9 • 18 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Sport about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sports

    Adam Berg, "The Olympics that Never Happened: Denver '76 and the Politics of Growth" (U Texas Press, 2023)

    Adam Berg, "The Olympics that Never Happened: Denver '76 and the Politics of Growth" (U Texas Press, 2023)

    If you don't recall the 1976 Denver Olympic Games, it's because they never happened. The Mile-High City won the right to host the winter games and then was forced by Colorado citizens to back away from its successful Olympic bid through a statewide ballot initiative. In The Olympics that Never Happened: Denver '76 and the Politics of Growth (University of Texas Press, 2022) Dr. Adam Berg details the powerful Colorado regime that gained the games for Denver and the grassroots activism that brought down its Olympic dreams, and he explores the legacy of this milestone moment for the games and politics in the United States.
    The ink was hardly dry on Denver's host agreement when Mexican American and African American urbanites, white middle-class environmentalists, and fiscally concerned local politicians realised opposition to the Olympics provided them new political openings. The Olympics quickly became a platform for taking stands on a range of issues, from conservation to urban livability to the very idea of growth, which for decades had been unquestioned in Colorado. The Olympics That Never Happened argues that hostility to the Olympics galvanised and empowered diverse citizens in a major US city, with long-term ramifications for Colorado and political activism elsewhere. The Olympics themselves were changed forever, compelling organisers to take seriously competing interests from subgroups within their communities.
    This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose new book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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    • 44 min
    Aaron Fischman, "A Baseball Gaijin: Chasing a Dream to Japan and Back" (Sports Publishing, 2024)

    Aaron Fischman, "A Baseball Gaijin: Chasing a Dream to Japan and Back" (Sports Publishing, 2024)

    Like many American boys, Tony Barnette yearned to one day make it to “The Show,” playing baseball professionally. The Arizona State pitcher was drafted in 2006 by the in-state Diamondbacks. Gradually ascending the minor-league ladder, it looked like this was the beginning of a blessed life, where he could play the game he loved on the grandest of stages in front of family and friends.
    But things don’t always work out the way we want.
    On the verge of achieving his lifelong dream after notching a league-high 14 wins in Triple A, Tony looked ahead to 2010 with optimism. That’s when Japan came calling, offering a significant salary hike in exchange for forgoing a likely forthcoming big-league debut.
    The Diamondbacks agreed to release Tony so he could play for Tokyo’s Yakult Swallows, the renowned Yomiuri Giants’ intra-city rivals.
    At the time, the only thing he had in common with the country was a love for baseball. He did not know the language and was unfamiliar with Nippon Professional Baseball and essentially everything else. On his own in a strange land, the burning desire to one day make the major leagues never subsided. He knew the odds were against him, as less than one quarter of gaijin (Japanese for “foreigner”) ballplayers who go to Japan appear in the majors at any point thereafter.
    First-year struggles led to multiple demotions and his end-of-year release. But when you’re chasing a dream, you expect to encounter several obstacles. Tony refused to be deterred. Over six seasons in Japan, the starter became a reliever and then a closer. After a strong 2015 season, in which he guided his long-suffering Swallows to the Japan Series, he finally got the call he had been waiting for. Signing with the Texas Rangers in December, Tony would make his first major-league appearance on April 5, 2016, at age thirty-two. He’d go on to pitch four seasons with the Rangers and Chicago Cubs, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
    In A Baseball Gaijin: Chasing a Dream to Japan and Back (Sports Publishing, 2024), Aaron Fischman tells Tony's story of perseverance, determination, and never giving up on your dream.
    Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola, "The Rule Book: The Building Blocks of Games" (MIT Press, 2024)

    Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola, "The Rule Book: The Building Blocks of Games" (MIT Press, 2024)

    How games are built on the foundations of rules, and how rules—of which there are only five kinds—really work.
    Board games to sports, digital games to party games, gambling to role-playing games. They all share one thing in common: rules. Indeed, rules are the one and only thing game scholars agree is central to games. But what, in fact, are rules? In The Rule Book: The Building Blocks of Games (MIT Press, 2024), Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola explore how different kinds of rules work as building blocks of games. Rules are constraints placed on us while we play, carving a limited possibility space for us. They also inject meaning into our play: without rules there is no queen in chess, no ball in Pong, and no hole in one in golf.
    Stenros and Montola discuss how rules constitute games through five foundational types: the explicit statements listed in the official rules, the private limitations and goals players place on themselves, the social and cultural norms that guide gameplay, the external regulation the surrounding society places on playing, and the material embodiments of rules. Depending on the game, rules can be formal, internal, social, external, or material.
    By considering the similarities and differences of wildly different games and rules within a shared theoretical framework, The Rule Book renders all games more legible.
    Rudolf Inderst is a professor of Game Design with a focus on Digital Game Studies at the IU International University of Applied Science, department lead for Games at Swiss culture magazine Nahaufnahmen.ch, editor of “DiGRA D-A-CH Game Studies Watchlist”, a weekly messenger newsletter about Game Culture and curator of @gamestudies at tiktok.
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    • 25 min
    Adam J. Criblez, "Kings of the Garden: The New York Knicks and Their City" (Three Hills, 2024)

    Adam J. Criblez, "Kings of the Garden: The New York Knicks and Their City" (Three Hills, 2024)

    In Kings of the Garden: The New York Knicks and Their City (Three Hills, 2024), Adam J. Criblez traces the fall and rise of the New York Knicks between the 1973, the year they won their last NBA championship, and 1985, when the organization drafted Patrick Ewing and gave their fans hope after a decade of frustrations.
    During these years, the teams led by Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bob McAdoo, Spencer Haywood, and Bernard King never achieved tremendous on-court success, and their struggles mirrored those facing New York City over the same span. In the mid-seventies, as the Knicks lost more games than they won and played before smaller and smaller crowds, the city they represented was on the brink of bankruptcy, while urban disinvestment, growing income inequality, and street gangs created a feeling of urban despair.
    Kings of the Garden details how the Knicks' fortunes and those of New York City were inextricably linked. As the team's Black superstars enjoyed national fame, Black musicians, DJs, and B-boys in the South Bronx were creating a new culture expression―hip-hop―that like the NBA would become a global phenomenon. Criblez's fascinating account of the era shows that even though the team's efforts to build a dynasty ultimately failed, the Knicks, like the city they played in, scrappily and spectacularly symbolized all that was right―and wrong―with the NBA and the nation during this turbulent, creative, and momentous time.
    Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.
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    • 49 min
    Jerry Grillo, "Big Cat: The Life of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)

    Jerry Grillo, "Big Cat: The Life of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)

    Johnny Mize was one of the greatest hitters in baseball’s golden age of great hitters. Born and raised in tiny Demorest, Georgia, in the northeast Georgia mountains, Mize emerged from the heart of Dixie as a Bunyonesque slugger, a quiet but sharp-witted man from a broken home who became a professional player at seventeen, embarking on an extended tour of the expansive St. Louis Cardinals Minor League system.
    Mize then spent fifteen seasons terrorizing Major League pitchers as a member of those Cardinals, the New York Giants of Mel Ott and Leo Durocher, and finally with the New York Yankees, who won a record five straight World Series with Mize as their ace in the hole—the best pinch hitter in the American League. Few hitters have combined such meticulous bat control with brute power the way Mize did. Mize was a line-drive hitter who rarely struck out and also hit for distance, to all fields, and usually for a high average. Nicknamed the Big Cat, “nobody had a better, smoother, easier swing than John,” said Cardinals teammate Don Gutteridge. “It was picture perfect.”
    Tabbed as a can’t-miss Hall of Famer, then all but forgotten, Mize spent twenty-eight years waiting for the call from Cooperstown before he was finally inducted in 1981, delighting fans with his straightforward commentary and sly sense of humor during a memorable induction speech.
    From the backroads of the Minor Leagues to the sunny Caribbean, where he played alongside the best Black and Latin players as a twenty-one-year-old, and to the Major Leagues, where he became a ten-time All-Star, home run champion, and World Series hero, Mize forged a memorable trail along baseball’s landscape. Big Cat: The Life of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize (U Nebraska Press, 2024) is the first complete biography of the Big Cat.
    Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Robert M. Jarvis, "Gambling Under the Swastika: Casinos, Horse Racing, Lotteries, and Other Forms of Betting in Nazi Germany" (Carolina Academic Press, 2019)

    Robert M. Jarvis, "Gambling Under the Swastika: Casinos, Horse Racing, Lotteries, and Other Forms of Betting in Nazi Germany" (Carolina Academic Press, 2019)

    Although much has been written about the Nazis, one aspect of their rule has been all but overlooked: gambling. While philosophically opposed to gambling, in practice the Nazis relied on gambling to prop up Germany's economy, earn hard currency, and wage war. In Gambling Under the Swastika: Casinos, Horse Racing, Lotteries, and Other Forms of Betting in Nazi Germany (Carolina Academic Press, 2019), Professor Robert M. Jarvis (Nova Southeastern University) presents the first comprehensive look at gambling in the Third Reich.
    After summarizing Germany's pre-Nazi gambling laws, Jarvis describes how, within months of coming to power, the Nazis re-opened Baden-Baden's famed casino (shuttered since 1872), took control of the country's horse tracks, and encouraged citizens to play the lottery (to fund social welfare programs). With the advent of war, the Nazis' use of gambling increased. While in some countries (such as the Netherlands) the Nazis used gambling to curry favor with the local citizenry, in others (such as Poland) gambling became another means of waging war.
    Jarvis also takes readers inside the Nazis' concentration and prisoner of war camps, where illicit gambling flourished. Other subjects covered include the Nazis' treatment of compulsive gamblers, their suppression of dog racing (due to the country's progressive animal welfare laws), the use of gambling to carry out espionage missions, and the Nazis' special rules for gambling by Jews.
    Relying on an impressive wealth of domestic and foreign sources, Jarvis has crafted an important new account of the Nazi regime. The book includes exhaustive notes, a comprehensive bibliography, a detailed index, and 45 illuminating photographs.
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    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

Abe Lincoln BlTCH ,

fun listen

randomly came accross this one. Really enjoyed it. check it out

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