One of the perks to having a blog, especially one that has been around for going on six years, is that you get a decent amount of free perks from time to time. I remember the first time I got an e-mail from a publicist asking me to review a book and how nervous I was. As the years have gone by I’ve realized that I get more requests than I can possibly fill. As a result, I’ve decided to mention each book that I get and only “promote / review” the ones I truly enjoy and would highly recommend to you. With that being said, here are the books that are on the reading list for this baseball season. I get nothing if you buy these books through the link I’ve provided. I’ve simply done it to make it easier if you did want to buy any of these.

Mudville – Kurtis Scarletta (Buy the book)

This one intrigues me a little. I had never given the idea of baseball fiction a chance until last year when I was sent a copy of The Comeback Season and enjoyed it. Like that one, this one is a young adult novel, so it should make for an easy read. It focuses on a strange kid that comes to town and what happens as a result.

The Baseball Prospect Book 2009 – John Sickels (Buy the book)

I’ve bought the prospect book put out by Sickels for the past couple of years and I’ve yet to be disappointed. This year I decided to only purchase this book as opposed to also buying the Baseball America prospect book as well. Sickels does a great job giving you a synopsis on the various names to know in each of the systems in the Majors. It’s a great book to purchase if you’re trying to learn a little more about some of the kids that are on the horizon for the Cubs, which makes watching the team a little more enjoyable each year. It’s also a load of fun to look back at past issues and see where he hit and where he missed with his breakdowns.

Sweet Lou and the Cubs – George Castle (Buy the book)

This one is basically a breakdown of Lou’s time with the Cubs and seems like it will offer a behind the scenes type of look at what Lou has gone through since coming to Chicago. I’m a little skeptical on this one, but I’m willing to give it a try. I tend to question “insider look” type books and know that most people won’t let just anyone into their lives and bear their soul, especially Lou Piniella. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.

Cubs by the Numbers – Kasey Ignarski, Matthew Silverman, & Al Yellon (Buy the book)

I’m not generally a big fan of historical Cubs books or even historical baseball books, but this one interests me a little. I’m curious to see how the team has been broken down based on the number on the back of each player over the course of history. It should be fun and educational to learn about some of these guys that fans who have followed the team for 40-50+ years reminisce over.

As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires – Bruce Weber (Buy the book)

One of the best books I’ve read in awhile was You’re Out and You’re Ugly Too, which was a memoir written by former umpire, Durwood Merrill. In that book, Merrill took you inside what it was like to be an umpire in the big leagues, including the fact that they are always on a road trip and away from their family. This one seems like it will be a lot like that one, so I’m definitely looking forward to devouring it sometime this season.

A Chicago Tavern a Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream – Rick Kogan (Buy the book)

This one is short and sweet and comes in with a strike against it in my book for the simple reason that not only to I not believe in “the curse”, but I despise any talk about it. I’m going to go into it with an open mind, but I really hope it focuses more on the tavern itself and it’s history rather than the “curse” and what that’s met for the team.

Wrigley Field’s Last World Series – Charles Billington (Buy the book)

This is actually the second time this book was sent to me. I tried to get into it the first time and just couldn’t. I’m going to give it another try, but as I mentioned before, I tend to shy away from the historical type books and instead gravitate toward the topical discussion type books.

The Yankee Years Manderlay ipod

300 rip

– Tom Verducci (Buy the book)

I was actually a little surprised to receive a review copy of this one, but I pleasantly accepted. It’s a Harry Potter type book in terms of # of pages and should be a bit of a marathon to get through. Some would poo poo the idea of reading about the Yankees, but I’m interested in what Joe Torre has to say about what went on when he was there. I believe he has some things to say and I’m ready to hear them.

2009 Minor League Baseball Analyst - Deric McKamey (Buy the book)

Year two that this one found it’s way to my mailbox and I was pleased by that. This one differs a little from the John Sickel’s book in that McKamey doesn’t really go too in depth on each of the prospects. Instead, he provides the book more as a tool for fantasy baseball players to use as a good reference for drafting, especially for keeper leagues. He presents some Major League equivalents for some of the players, which really completes the book.

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! -

Sharpe’s Peril video

Jonah Winter & Andre Carrilho (Buy the book)

Sick Girl trailer If…. on dvd

This is a children’s picture book and features an awesome cover. The picture to the left doesn’t do it justice. This one has a cool cover that, when moved back and forth, makes Koufax throw a pitch off the mound. The artwork inside is tremendous and I’m very much looking forward to reading this one to my son this season. He’s three and should enjoy looking at the pictures.

The Hardball Times Season Preview 2009 – (Buy the book)

This one makes me laugh a little. In the 2007 edition, Rob G from the Cub Reporter was asked to write the Cubs preview. In 2008, I was asked to write the preview. 2009 bring yet another writer for the Cubs section. Either they haven’t liked what they’ve gotten from Rob and me over the the past few years or they’re looking to get fresh voices each year. I tend to lean toward the former. Oh well, I’m looking forward to reading this one over the next few weeks leading up to opening day.

The Fielding Bible – Volume II – John Dewan (Buy the Book)

This is a new one for me. I didn’t receive volume one and I’m curious to see what this one is all about. It’s loaded with stats and graphs for the dork in me. Jose, a long time reader and commenter we haven’t heard from in awhile, would hate this one. I’m anxious to give it a try, because I love all the things I’ve received from Acta Sports over the years. This one should be no exception.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail