Finished Jim Bouton's 2004 book "Foul Ball". In short: it's nowhere near as entertaining as "Ball Four"-- which is probably the most honest, "scandalous" and humorous baseball book around.
"Foul Ball" is about Bouton's 2001 quest to save the historic Wachonah Park in Pittsfield, MA. The Astros Single-A team is packing up and leaving, so the city wants to pass legislature to fund a new stadium and attract a new team. Bouton and his buddy Chip Elitzer propose that it'd be better, all around, if they're allowed to privately invest money in Wachonah Park and bring in an independent Atlantic League team. Would save tax payers from having to fund a new stadium and everybody would be happy. That actually sounds cool and almost noble.
So what follows is his day-by-day notes on how the campaign rolls. Countless meetings with various Pittsfield officials and outsider investors cloud the narrative. While it's a journal, I question if Bouton actually remembers EVERY conversation he had with EVERY person, EVERY day, as he details in this book. He must be equipped with an audio recorder in his brain. It quickly becomes clear that Bouton believes his idea is bullet-proof...anybody who disagrees with it is a total scumbag and anybody who sends him a supportive email is A Wonderful Example of Humanity. His sarcasm and "humor" becomes very bitter and more about shaming his opponents than progressing on anything. When he encounters a new character, you can immediately tell; from his either complimentary or unflattering description of the person; if they're on his side, or not.
A big miss by the book is the subplot about a new stadium site and EPA contamination. It seems like this would be a whistle-blower type of conspiracy that is unraveled... but Bouton mostly ignores it and waxes on about how winning a public opinion on his plan for Wachonah Park. In the end, when it becomes clear that a buncha' rich white guys and their conglomerates will win, Bouton begins to depict himself and Chip as martyrs.
There are a few fun passages. My favorite is a new "Yogi-ism". Somebody was watching a John Wayne movie and Yogi Berra walked in the room.
Yogi: "What's that?"
Other Guy: "Stagecoach with John Wayne".
Yogi: "Oh. He made that movie before he died"
(Yogi leaves room)
"Ball Four" was funny. "Foul Ball" reminds you that you'd rather be reading "Ball Four". It ends with a promise that this is an ongoing crusade and we should check out Fouball.com for the "latest updates". Apparently didn't last too long, as that domain currently appears to be a "link farm". It's also passed through 16 different registrars in the past 10 years or so. Bouton's own personal self-promoting site (jimbouton.com) goes offline frequently and might be blocked by your ISP.
Bouton published a "Part 2" appendix, which detailed his July 4th 2004 exhibition game at Wachonah and how he was squeezed out, again. After that, records are spotty, but it appears Orioles GM Dan Duquette got involved with bringing in a Collegiate League team. Eventually the awesomely-named "Pittsfield American Defenders" came in for a bit.
In the end, it appears that Wachonah was given the care it needed and nobody had to pay for a new pricey stadium. In that regard, Bouton was successful. Yet I'm sure he'd rather tell you how everything that happened was stolen from his great ideas for Wachonah.
Basically, I lost a lot of respect and admiration for Bouton with this book.