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Cleaning the desk before the hiatus

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Time again to round the bases and clear the decks before heading off for the annual fortnight's fling at the beach. The slate is heavy.

Summer Reading

And if you're looking for polished sporting tomes to lug with you to your favorite sand dune here's a matching pair you'll find hard to top.

Dick Johnson's "Field of our Fathers" is a splendid illustrated history trumpeting the centennial of our lyric little bandbox over in Kenmore Square, where modest observances continue. Johnson, whose devotion to the local scene inspires the sports museum he essentially founded, accounts for every jot and tittle of Fenway's life and times, faithfully.

In much the same spirit, Marty Appel's "Pinstripe Empire," fresh off the presses, is 600 pages of ripe yarns and anecdotal nuggets culled from the rich history of the team you most love to hate. After all, to properly loathe the enemy you must be properly versed in his every whim or fancy and all of this Mr. Appel -- long the Yankees' very smart and classy PR man -- commands with wit and wisdom.

Imbibe in both. If you feed on these treasure troves you'll be well-equipped to savor and hassle another century's madcap antics matching Athens and Sparta. But which is which?


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