The stories are the best part of spring training.
I'm lucky, and I realize that. I get to travel from camp to camp, and hear great old baseball story after great old baseball story.
Gregg Olson heard them for years when he pitched for nine big-league teams in a 14-year career. Then he retired, and he decided to collect them.
Like the one about Mark Grace getting taped to the trainer's table because he called Rick Sutcliffe an "old man." Or the one about George Brett not taking the field to start an inning because he was so upset about a slump that he went and hid in a trash can.
Or the one from Goose Gossage, about the time teammate Mickey Rivers forcibly tried to keep him from coming into a game.
"We don't want Goose to come in," Rivers told the umpire. "We want to win this game."
Olson went to ex-teammates and anyone else he knew in the game, and asked each for his best story. He put 60 of them in the book, titled, We Got to Play Baseball.
Some of the stories are about games. Some have nothing to do with games.
It's a quick read, but it's a fun read.
Olson and his co-author, Ocean Palmer, say they're already working on another book with the next round of stories.
I can't wait to read it.