Jim Bouton's Triple Play


Maverick baseball personality Jim Bouton is almost always interesting. When he published Ball Four, his hilarious, early '70s insider's account of what it was like to be (by then) a struggling journeyman pitcher, he enraged Major League Baseball's brass, delighted fans, and helped reinvent the genre of the sports memoir.

He also helped invent Major League Chew, the defunct shredded bubble gum product that came in a tinfoil pouch, mimicking the chewing tobacco that fewer and fewer ballplayers use (for this, he and the inventors of candy cigarettes and bubble-gum cigars will no doubt be called in front of the tribunal when the health nazis finally succeed in driving the last hint of fun or vice from the home of the brave).

Now he's speaking out against publicly funded stadiums, particularly a proposed one in Brooklyn. Sme of his reasons in that particular case may be dubious, but his basic analysis is as sharp as his fastball used to be until he blew out his arm all those many years ago. From the NY Daily News:

"How do you solve this problem when teams play cities and states off each other?" he asks his church audience. "I think the cities and states need to team up against the teams. New York should tell New Jersey 'We won't build a stadium for the Jets and Nets if you don't build a stadium for the Yankees.' Because if you don't, 20 years from now, the Nets will be saying 'We're tired of this Gehry stadium. We need a Liebskind stadium.'"

[Link courtesy of reader Dave Straub]

Upate: As "dude" points out in the comments section, I misidentified still-available "Big League Chew" as "Major League Chew." Go here for Bouton's origin story of that product.