Cute might be too dismissive a one-word summary of "The Zen of Zim," the second collaboration by Don Zimmer, senior adviser to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Bill Madden, columnist for the New York Daily News.
Maybe it's because Zimmer practically leaps at the opportunity to even the score with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who forced Zimmer out after eight seasons as Manager Joe Torre's bench coach and confidant. And while it's almost impossible to generate sympathy for Steinbrenner, Zimmer's one-sided tirade is a bit unseemly and stinks of dirty laundry.
But Zimmer's otherwise self-effacing stories make for a pleasant if lightweight read, even the chapter chronicling what was clearly Zimmer's most embarrassing moment in more than 50 years in baseball -- his bull's run toward Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series last fall, which, of course, ended badly when the 72-year-old was slam-dunked to the turf.
But give the man his due: For a self-described "old baseball humpty" and career .235 hitter, Zimmer's had a full career -- associations with dozens of Hall of Fame teammates and managers, two fistfuls of rings beginning with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers -- along with a full complement of interesting and amusing anecdotes.
-- Jim Hage