Longly awaited, Neil’s new book arrived last month.
Here is what people have had to say.
“Neil’s latest book: Well worth the read. I haven’t ever really been a baseball guy. All my friends are. But. I’ve known Neil for 15 years. I bought the book. I read the book. It was very interesting. Very. But, what’s lost on Neil: I’m a fisherman. Neil wrote the Bible on Kayak Fishing. I liked his baseball book but his kayak fishing book, I have read four times. I’ve told 50 guys to buy it. Probably only 3 have. People are idiots. No question: I enjoyed reading about Neil’s past. I read everything he writes, most of it “fishing”. His baseball book was educational for me and I got to see his passion before he was a fishing guide. I don’t want to overdo it but Neil is probably the most interesting guy I’ve met in the last 20 years. He is humble. He is funny. He is infinitely kind. He is misunderstood. The stupid stuff that has been done to Neil: I deplore certain people. But Neil doesn’t even blink. He just keeps being Neil, which, is inspiring. If you don’t have his books: You have missed out. DEK ”
“I watched you umpire about 50 games. Getting your book was a big deal for me. I just finished it this morning, locked down with this stupid virus stuff. It was everything I expected. You were a fantastic umpire. The players liked you. The managers liked you. Other umpires liked you. It was a pleasure to be a part of it. Reading about it sent chills through me. In my opinion: If you used a promoter-this book is winning awards. A guy that took it all the way. Didn’t get the job but look at what you did? All the recognition you didn’t mention in the book. All the respect that isn’t mentioned in the book. You are humble. And you shouldn’t be. You should have listed it all. I like what you did list but you could have pumped it up. You know it but that’s not the type of person you are. I would like to order ten copies to give away to people.”
You are a very talented communicator. Your book: First me, then my wife and now it is with my second of three kids and all three want to read it. They want to read about “Mr. Neil.” They were great stories. You covered it very well. I am pleased to have known you for so long, I was there for it. Those were great years. Going to see you umpire, you bringing me into a locker room. Taking me out to the bar with the other umpires. It was just incredible. I know you lived it and that was no big deal but I was a married guy with babies at home: It was a huge deal for me. I just wanted to tell you, I’m almost sorry you’re not doing it anymore but I know you like your life better now anyway so that’s good. I wish you a long and happy life. What you did before was definitely happy.RT
“For whoever reads this. I was a professor of Neil’s in college at the University of Arizona. Reconnected with Neil after 26 years just last year. I didn’t buy his first three books. I bought The Professional Baseball Umpire. I figure I have read 25,000 books in my lifetime. This was the best reading I have ever seen and I’m only halfway a baseball guy. I’d be a zero-baseball guy if my father and I didn’t share it. It is a look into the life of a guy in the profession. Because I know Neil, it was extra special. A writing style like I have NEVER seen, it’s like you’re sitting in front of a fire talking to the guy and he’s telling his stories. Neil says “That was intentional.” I need to get at least five copies for gifts. Not giving my copy away. I will read this one once in a while the rest of my life. Truth be known: In three months, I’ve read it twice. I was glued to it. Kind of nice for me: When Neil started umpiring, he was in my class. I can tell you: I have to laugh. Neil was the wrong guy to argue with before he became a professional umpire. He had the bad end of an argument in a class exercise and I’d say “won” handily. The other kid stayed after class and said to me, “Could you not put me against him again.” That kid, an A student. Killed me to give Neil a B. Neil’s take on it. “How did I earn a B?” There is excellence in life. My thing: I’m sorry I missed him umpiring years. I can tell you, the photos in his book were good enough to make me feel like I was partly there, but had we been in touch: I would have flown out every year and followed him around for a week or two. Nod of approval that Neil is now a fishing guide. What a nice life change after his first profession. Neil: Live a long time. You are special to me. “
And then one from a colleague: I had other feedback from umpires. This one I am sharing.
“I was a little late to the party. Ordered Neil’s book last week. Read it cover to cover the day it came in. We umpiring nearly identical years. We only worked one game together in all that time. His book encapsulated what our careers were. The job. More importantly: The people. I can tell you: Neil was a people person. Everyone wanted to work with him. Particularly the younger guys. If you were under Neil’s direction, you were going to get a shot at the big leagues. Neil was selfless. Instead of getting that big-league job himself, he helped other guys get there. As a crew chief, he didn’t let anyone abuse his crew. He put it all on his shoulders and with how much respect he earned, problems were rare. Neil was a great umpire. He was an even better friend. And now I have learned: He is an excellent writer. If you haven’t bought this book, you have missed out.”
It is the first book I have opened and never put down. I read it cover to cover. It was what I expected. I’d heard a couple of those stories. I have known Neil as a fisherman. This was part of his life I didn’t know a great deal about. His writing style, this was almost like sitting at one of his seminars. It was a great recapitulation of what he did in baseball. It will be read again, after it has been passed around the family. There are some baseball people that, quite honestly, need to have their own copy of this.
Compelling. There are dozens of words to describe this one. I was dying for this one to come out. I wanted to know what stories he was going to share. Now I’m equally curious what stories he “left out.” He could almost write a “sequel” and elaborate and tell “the rest of the story.” I’d have to talk to him about that. This might be it and all that he is willing to share. It’s enough. I like his acknowledgement of his colleagues. He mentioned them all but included the small stories about many of them. I’m sure that’s going to mean something to them and maybe also their families.
Literally, that was fun. I knew Neil when he was an umpire. I knew part of what was in the book, but less than half. The rest of these stories were just plain fun to read. He saw so much. He is so honest. He shared it. It’s out there forever now. I’d give anything to see him walk on a field again but I’m so pleased he likes his life now and the baseball years just aren’t that important anymore.
A very good read. Talking with Neil well over a year ago, he was most concerned with getting the stories right. He said he wasn’t including some because he wasn’t sure if his recollection of certain things was correct anymore. He wanted it factual. I’d say he got it. Surrounded by the other umpires those years for basically everything he did put in here: There’s witnesses. The other umpires probably enjoy the read. It’s basically a roster of everyone they worked with if Neil’s years were your years too. It is well written and the content is really good.
I was itching to get my hands on this one. I’ve followed Neil for over 20 years. Came along during his higher up years in baseball. It was fun enough to watch that back then. Getting the rest of the story from Neil’s book, well, it was about what I expected. Umpire related stories about life in baseball. For the average baseball fan, if they aren’t interested in this: They’re not much of a baseball fan.
I was around when it was happening. I was, quite honestly, waiting for this. Not disappointed. I thought I knew it all. I didn’t. Neil is not only an interesting character in this world, he is a tremendous write.
Neil the umpire: He was solid. It was outstanding to watch. Gone A book about it is something that Brings It Back. It is one of the best things to bring back I can imagine.
Reading Neil’s newest book: I felt like I was sitting with him and he was telling me the stories. Matter of fact is how he came off back then and I think he captured that in the book. The stories are good but to Neil, none of it is a big deal. I was dying to see this one since I heard that he was doing it. I was not disappointed
A great read. No question: If you know Neil, you need to own this one. This is pure gold.
Couldn’t put your book down last night, you put a lot into that, wow, impressive… and good memories for you, very cool. The minor leagues are some of the best memories I have, lots of good times and just learning how to umpire and working through life on the road….I had an absolute blast. The big leagues is great for other reasons, but once you start to have a family it changes what you can and want to do in your free-time, probably why married guys rarely if ever made it through the minor leagues. Thank God for vacations and getting home off days, not sure how guys did his before vacations.
I totally forgot about that time at the Fantasy Camp when the guy wanted to argue about the call at the plate and I had him lay on the ground and show me, LoL ….made me laugh, but hopefully he wasn’t embarrassed too much…, who knows, maybe he still talks about it and it just a fun memory for him….hopefully anyways.
Glad you are proud of your accomplishments and your time in umpiring. Not many can do this job at any level, especially professionally, you should be proud.
Pretty nice to have my name make it in. Even better to read stories I had never heard. This one is the best reading I’ve had in decades.
This was an eye-opener. Neil’s baseball years: Definitely worth a look. I met Neil as a fishing guide. I’d heard about his previous life but until I got the book, I didn’t really understand. That was so cool. I got excited reading it.
Neil the storyteller: Always looked forward to that. Neil the author: Just as good. Neil’s book is going to be on my coffee table the rest of my life. It will be handed out from time to time but I’m telling everyone I know to order it. Everyone should have their own copy of this one. Neil’s life in baseball was inspiring. Neil’s life as a fishing guide is great too. He has had his hand in a lot of things, hasn’t he?
Received your book In the mail today. Read it from beginning to end (a huge feat for me considering I haven’t read a book in years) it was fantastic! Easy read and took me back to some really good memories in life. Thank you!
Great book! Order one now!!
I umpired with Neil. I was eager to read his book. He captured what it is to be an umpire. The life. The people. I worked with three guys who made it to the big leagues. Neil was as good as any of them. You’d have to have seen it to understand. The players liked him. The managers liked him. I never saw someone make it look so easy. When stuff popped up, Neil was in the middle of it and it got resolved. He knew what to do and when to do it. Of all the people to write a book, I’m glad it was Neil. To my knowledge, no one else has done it. This is one of my prized possessions.
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$15 in person. $17, mailed. The three other books to also consider: Kayak Fishing. Fishing Tampa Bay. I Thought It Was Funny.