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Okay, so I'm way off the monthly schedule. Still: never say die!

Title: Road to Glory
# Pages: 318
Published: Warwick Publishing Inc., 1993
Availability: Out of print.

Written By: Tom Cheek with Howard Berger
Who Is: Tom Cheek broadcast every Toronto Blue Jays game from 1977 to mid-2004. He is much missed. Berger, who seemed to be Cheek's fact-checker in this book, is now the Toronto Maple Leafs' radio stringer.

What It's About: It's about the Toronto Blue Jays, 1977-1992, as observed by Tom Cheek.

How's the Writing: Terrible. Cheek writes like he speaks, which is fine for radio but not for prose. It leads to all kinds of excesses that a strong editor should catch, but the book doesn't seem to have been edited. I'm not going to criticize a book for having typos, but there are spelling mistakes, consistent typeface errors, grammatical mistakes... It's a very sloppy job.

Not to mention a couple of things that Cheek himself says that are mangled right from the start. From page 18 of my edition, here's Cheek talking about how the 1992 Jays always seemed to make things difficult for themselves: "There was the Blue Jay way and the easy way, but with few exceptions, the team usually chose door number two." Or, from page 44 of my edition, Cheek discusses the halcyon days of the 1977 Blue Jays: "Loss of innocence is something that you can never recapture."

Despite this, I did find the book readable. I mean, I've listened to enough hours of Cheek's voice on the radio that it was no effort at all to read his prose. Doesn't mean I can say it's good, though. I'm in no rush to read it again.

Sabremetric Corner: Nothing to speak of.

Anecdotes: The part I liked best was when Cheek was talking about his pre-Jays career in the armed forces and in rock'n'roll radio. The baseball stuff we've mostly heard before.
08/09 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Road to Glory | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
JohnL - Monday, August 24 2009 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#205530) #
I certainly agree with you about the writing. This is probably the worst-edited book I've ever read, although I admit that I'd forgotten about some of the non-sequiturs you quoted. I'd split the blame between Cheek (probably recounting things as he did in the booth), and Berger (why pick a hockey guy?), but put most of the blame on Berger.

Given how these things work, it's usually the ghostwriter who takes the informal account of the "author", and puts it into written words.

Some things that stand out in my memory include a description of Ernie Whitt standing in the clubhouse, "stripped to the waste"; a note on the cover, or the table of contents about the "forward" of the book; and also this bizarre printing of parts of words in italics. On reading those, you wanted to consider the italicized part as emphasis, but that wasn't the reason. It seemed to be totally random... the italiczed letters (they weren't even syllables) were that way for no earthly reason.

God-awful editing.

But overall the book did seem to capture Cheek's unique view of the Jays.

Matthew E - Tuesday, August 25 2009 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#205543) #
I don't think Berger was the ghostwriter, though. The impression I get is that he was just the guy who went through the archives and made sure that Cheek didn't have George Bell hitting a home run on the wrong day, and like that. Could he have been just an intern at the FAN at the time? The book doesn't credit anyone else with writing or editing anything so I think we have to blame it all on Cheek himself.
sduguid - Tuesday, August 25 2009 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#205552) #
It seems like the common thread with most books about the Jays is that they're not very good.  There aren't too many, though, so hopefully that will change in the future.  Having said that, I'll definitely give this one a read anyway...
Bid - Tuesday, August 25 2009 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#205574) #
"Loss of innocence is something than you can never recapture." Stone Yogi.
08/09 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Road to Glory | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.