"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Memories Are Forever

Our friend Todd Drew passed away almost a year-and-a-half ago. In the days after his death, I coped with the sadness by staying busy. I didn’t want to sit with the pain. We talked about Todd on the site as the Banter sat shiva. What can we do? The rest of the Banter writers and I talked about it. What about a compilation of Todd’s work, from his blog Yankees for Justice, and his Shadow Games columns here at the Banter?

Then Diane Firstman suggested that we compile the Yankee Stadium Memories series into a book. It would have a broader appeal. Made sense to me. So when Skyhorse approached me about doing just that, I knew we had the perfect farewell to Todd.

I’m proud to announce that Skyhorse will release Bronx Banter Presents: Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories this October. The collection features 60 essays including 25 entirely new pieces (the Amazon link above has some errors that will be corrected shortly). And none other than Yogi Berra penned the foreword. The book features original work from the likes of Richard Ben Cramer, Tony Kornheiser, Tom Boswell, Leigh Montville, Pete Hamill, Charles Pierce, John Schulian, William Nack, Steve Rushin and Alan Schwarz.

Marilyn Johnson, Tyler Kepner, Neil DeMause, Ted Berg and I have essays on the new Stadium. Todd’s wife, Marsha, collaborated with me on the final piece in the book, a bittersweet memory of her view from the season-ticket seats in the new place that Todd didn’t live to see. It is the perfect ending. The book is introduced by Todd’s wonderful Stadium memory.

I lost a battle with the publisher in an effort to get all of the Stadium Memories that appeared on-line into the book. I was left to make some painful choices (and the writers whose work didn’t make the final cut were gracious and professional when they didn’t need to be and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that).  Of the essays that first appeared here on the Banter, close to two-thirds have been revised–condensed, mostly to make room for as many as possible–and I think vastly improved.

I’m exceedingly proud of the book. The entire Banter staff had a hand in putting it together and making it as strong as possible. I think this collection stands out for its depth and diversity. There are pieces from Yankee fans and Yankee-haters, New York beat writers and columnists, novelists and actors, New Yorkers and out-of-towners, transplants and visitors. The essays are, at turns, touching and sentimental, vulgar and hilarious, thoughtful and and irreverent, almost always intelligent—a true reflection of Bronx Banter.

I think Todd would dig it and I hope that you do too.

[Photo Credit: Baseball-Fever.com, N.Y. Daily News]


1 RIYank   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:12 am

Alex, that is fantastic. Good book, fitting tribute, classy gesture.

2 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:16 am

I have to wait until October?!?!

awesome work, congrats guys

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:26 am

We should have gallies in a few weeks. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's been killing me not to mention it here but I didn't want to do it too early cause it's not coming out for a minute still. But once Sky Horse got the final manuscript and put up the Amazon page, I just had to start spreadin' the news...

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:30 am

I know this is Alex's baby, but I feel almost as proud of this moment.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:31 am

Great job putting this together Alex, Mrs Drew and all the other contributors. It's a terrific tribute to Todd - a guy i never met and think about all the time.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:35 am

4) I may have done a majority of the heavy-lifting but this is a team effort all the way.

7 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:41 am

The other thing, all of the new contributors--as well as the original ones--most of whom are accomplished professional writers who are accustomed to getting paid for their efforts, contributed pieces gratis when told about Todd's story.

Todd was a fellow writer and they came through in the clutch. Big time!

8 seamus   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:42 am

wow, this is awesome! Great work getting this together. I don't buy many sports books (more of a political and fiction reader) but this will certainly make the list!

9 ms october   ~  Jun 2, 2010 10:44 am

that's wonderful to hear alex!! great goin.
very proud of you guys and to be a part of the banter.
definitely excited to read the book and see my favorite memories again and check the new ones.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:00 am

Yeah, and believe me, I consider you guys, the regular commentors, and lurkers, part of the Banter fam.

11 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:13 am

I'm assuming there will be some sort of a little get together/release party/whathaveyou for the BB Fam, I mean its only right

12 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:15 am

This is excellent, and I can't wait for the book. Its nice to hold memories in your hands as well as in your heart.

A perfect tribute to Todd. Congrats to you all!

[10] Just happy to be here. Thanks for giving us a place to get together.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:15 am

Can't wait...look forward to reading it during the many off days during the post season.

Any photos in the book, or is it 250 pages of straight text?

14 Dimelo   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:21 am

Congrats, Alex, as well as all those who contributed.

15 Just Fair   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:28 am

This is cool news. Congrats!!!

16 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:31 am

11) Most excellent idea. We'll hook something up.

13) In the end, we decided not to use any pictures. It wasn't cost-effective and my feeling was that unless the pictures really added something it wasn't worth it. I couldn't find enough really good pictures for no dough so I passed.

17 Yankster   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:33 am

Congratulations! It must have been a lot of work and a lot of hard decisions. I look forward to reading it (though I think I read almost every memory when they were first posted here).

18 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:41 am

[17] There are 25 new ones so should be well worth while even for those who read the series back in 2008.

Also, reading them together in a collection, one after another, really transforms each individual story into something else - an individual tile into a mosaic, or something like that.

19 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:44 am


... and just wait to the movie and the Broadway musical come out!

(j/k) :-)

20 ms october   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:44 am

btw alex i always meant to ask you if there was some significance to having 62 essays as part of the original series.
(i hope this isn't some stupid obvious question that i should know the answer to)

21 Patrick   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:48 am

Congrats Alex and everyone involved! :)

22 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:49 am

17) It was a TON of work, a true labor of love. But all of the writers I worked with to edit their pieces were great, and the effort was well worth it because I wanted to present a book built to last, one that will hold up down the road.

20), Nah, no rhyme or reason for that. I had a list of people I chased after, and that's what it ended up being. Completely random.

23 ms october   ~  Jun 2, 2010 11:54 am

[22] ok, cool, thanks - been curious about that for a minute.

24 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 2, 2010 12:00 pm

[16] Makes sense.

25 thelarmis   ~  Jun 2, 2010 12:52 pm

WOW, this is wonderful! and here i thought the ball was dropped on some type of tribute to todd. this is more than terrific! kudos on the thought, process and final product. i'll definitely be picking this up in October!

i'll probably miss the "release party" as i generally go to NY to see the fam around Turkey Day.

i read all 62 tributes here. i remember some folks thought there were just too many and it went on too long. i was guilty of that sometimes, but for the most part, they were great essays and worth the read. i'm looking forward to the condensed/improved ones and especially the new additions. ooh, i just hope Ed Alstrom's original essay is included! what a wonderful idea to have the Yankees' organist provide his unique and distinctive point of view.

[0] Alex, i think you mean "Shadow Games" columns, not "Ball". no?! my musical tribute to Todd Drew was completed last month. in honor of him, it's called "Shadow Games". i ran the idea of the completed piece past his widow Marsha and she's excited about it. i hope to professionally record it before the end of the year. i'd put a post up somewhere online - todd's picture & essay, the audio of the piece and my text of directive listening.

i think of todd all the time and miss him. the Banter is the best for keeping him alive, and for a plethora of other reasons.

26 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 2, 2010 12:53 pm

I'm in. Very much enjoyed the Stadium Memories series over at the old place, and very much looking forward to the new stuff.
Congrats, and thanks, Alex et al.

27 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:02 pm

25) Yup, Ed's piece is in the book. Good lookin on the correction too.

Also, I forgot to mention YOGI BERRA did the foreword!

28 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:10 pm

[27] what, you couldn't get nobody who knows nuttin' about the Yankees?

29 thelarmis   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:22 pm

[27] Yogi's involved? wow, pullin' out all the stops, haha! this is just getting better and better and more betterer!

excellent news on Ed's piece. he had written a 2nd essay for the Banter, that had nothing to do with the Yankee Stadium memories, and was also most excellent.

as far as the "correction" goes, it was easy for me to spot, as "Shadow Games" has been a major part of my daily existence lately. i've worked really really hard on the piece the last few months. was a really great feeling to complete the composition about a month back. there's still some orchestration stuff that won't be done for awhile, as i don't have easy access to a good set of vibes, for the piece itself is finished, for all intents and purposes. can't wait to record & release it. my goal is by the end of this year. we'll see...

30 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:38 pm

The reason I misconfused it is because Shadow Games was a riff on Shadow Ball from the old Negro Leagues. Todd and I went back-and-forth trying to come up with a title for his columns and he wasn't comfortable calling it straight up Shadow Games.

Wow, flashback.

Can't wait to hear that record 29!

31 thelarmis   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:44 pm

[30] whoa. this is kinda HUGE for me. wait, Todd didn't wanna call it "shadow games"??? is it your title?! combination of sorts?

i love that name. i have a song for an old band of mine i called "Shadows". but that was based on the lyrics the singer wrote.

i geared my composing around the title "Shadow Games" and from what i knew about Todd's taste in music, based on our posts here at the Banter.

by the time everything's recorded, i should have a website and i'll post the song there. the whole new batch of recordings is for the 2nd cd and who knows when that'll be released. could be years. on it though, it would say:

"Shadow Games" - Title by Todd Drew

i can't "dedicate" the piece to him, 'coz there's a dedication piece to my grandpa there and he wouldn't wanna share the spotlight, in that regard! : )

should it really be:

"Shadow Games" - title by Belth?! what did todd wanna call his column? i think i'll just keep it as it is, since that's how i know it/him...

32 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:55 pm

Nah, I'm sure Todd came up with Shadow Games eventually. I don't recall, but I wouldn't take credit for it. He suggested names, and it was narrowed down to two or three and we both liked that one best but I was just a sounding board. I would have gone with what he liked...

33 thelarmis   ~  Jun 2, 2010 1:59 pm

[32] coolio. i think "Shadow Games" is wonderful! very programmatic.

34 Yankster   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:44 pm

[27] Yogi Berra! This is big leagues! And there's nothing else like it as far as I know. What a great project for the ages and what a tribute to Todd.

35 Evil Empire   ~  Jun 5, 2010 12:09 pm

This is such great news, Alex! I can't wait to get my copy. If memory serves, my favorites were yours, Todd's, Will Leitch's and John C. McGinley's (oddly enough on the last one).

36 Evil Empire   ~  Jun 5, 2010 12:10 pm

[35] and definitely Josh Wilker's. I someday hope to give the finger to Fenway Pahk.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver