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Steve Kettmann
Steve Kettmann is the author most recently of Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets, to be published in April 2015. He lives in Soquel, California, where he is the co-founder, along with Sarah Ringler, of the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, and leads weekend workshops for would-be writers. His other books include One Day at Fenway (Atria, 2004), all about one game between the Red Sox and Yankees, and the New York Times best-sellers What a Party! (with Terry McAuliffe), Juiced (with Jose Canseco), Shift (with Peter Arnell) and The Man Who Warned America, by Murray Weiss (as book doctor). Kettmann has reported from more than forty countries for publications including, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, the New Republic, Washington Monthly,, and, and was a finalist for the 2001 Online Journalism Award in commentary.
Kettmann was also the co-author, with Senator Robert Byrd, of Letter to a New President, and conceived and edited "Game Time," working with the New Yorker writer Roger Angell on a collection of his baseball writing. A former staff reporter for New York Newsday and the San Francisco Chronicle, he moved to Berlin in 1999 as an Arthur F. Burns Fellow, serving from 1999 to 2003 as Berlin Correspondent for Wired News. He speaks German, gets by in Spanish, muddles along in French and used to have decent conversational Russian, but Bozhe moi, it's faded over the years.

Entries by Steve Kettmann

On Bay Area Media: Good News in Santa Cruz, Amazingly Enough

(4) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 9:21 AM

As in the book world, we've had decades of depressing developments in the world of newspapers, so it's worth celebrating -- and spreading the word -- about respites from the gloom. That's why I want to urge people to check out the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a smallish paper...

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The Untold Story of Civil-Rights Progress in the U.S.: An Interview With Author Clay Risen

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 2:55 PM

Clay Risen's The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act, published this month 50 years after the legislation was passed, pulls off a feat that is in its way radical: It enables us, reading in this age of Washington gridlock that has moved...

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Rembering a Colorado Educator Beloved by Many

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 2:32 PM

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. -- Mark Twain

There are few more jarring experiences than sitting in a hospital room and hearing a neuro-oncologist deliver a report that full metastasis has...

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Pharrell's Real Message: I.Am.Not.A.Lawyer

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 6:03 PM

I guess you could make an argument that Doctor Seuss should have sued when the Black Eyed Peas front man trademarked sometime in the last millennium.

But that would have been pointless since Seuss -- Theodor Seuss Geisel -- died in 1991 and Will's adopted name was clearly...

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My Talk With the New Editor of the New York Times Book Review

(3) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 3:23 PM

Not so long ago it seemed as if news about trends in the world of books and book publishing was more often bad news. Borders went under. Barnes and Noble kept closing stores and might go under any year. Big publishers first spent years worrying that the arrival of e-books...

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For A's Fans, the Return of an Old Friend to the Pressbox: John Hickey

(5) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 10:06 AM

Bay Area baseball fans are lucky in a lot of ways -- as last year's postseason reminded the other coast and everyone in between, Bay Area baseball is the best in the country: The Giants have the best ballpark in the game and a fun, dynamic team that has won...

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Baseball Will Be Here Soon -- Great Book to Put the Game in Perspective

(8) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 6:18 PM

I love baseball books for the window they offer on life and human nature. I recently stumbled on a baseball book that blew me away -- and ought to be read far and wide.

Back in 2010 a kid pitcher named Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game -- he did....

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Here's Wishing Hillary Clinton Well

(24) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 9:05 AM

It's the time of year to be thankful for what's good and hopeful about what is to come, so I will be spending the last day of 2012 and the first days of 2013 quietly hoping for the best when it comes to Hillary Clinton and her health.

Hillary, here's...

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The Next Big Thing In Sports -- New Ways to Tell Stories

(3) Comments | Posted December 23, 2012 | 10:09 AM

Story-telling might not quite be dead in coverage of sports, but it's at least on the endangered-species list. How can anyone dig into telling a story or offering real glimpses of people in sports if they are focused on tweeting every few minutes, or, for that matter, reading tweets?


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On Whether Media Overkill Plays a Role in Creating Shooting-Spree Incidents

(6) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 9:25 AM

I'll leave to others the debate over whether it's insane to make acquiring assault weapons easy, and related questions, and will also forgo riffing on the numbing, soul-crushing sadness and horror of contemplating the list of twenty names and their ages.

I'd like simply to check in with a word...

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Talk of A's to San Jose Gets Unlikely Boost

(20) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 3:40 PM

Baseball's winter meetings are a bizarre spectacle, a lot of people standing around chasing rumors with not much going on much of the time, which was why it was a big deal when super-agent Scott Boras chose the occasion to talk up the idea of the A's moving...

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Is Satire Dead?

(11) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 4:28 PM

A lot of my favorite books, from Lucky Jim by Kinglsley Amis to just about everything Chris Buckley has ever published, make great sport of withering satire, but I'm starting to wonder: Is satire dead?

How can satire be a weapon to change minds when no one pays close enough...

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If the Beltway Media Had Been at AT&T Park, Instead of the Debate

(4) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 4:43 PM

The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals wrapped up a series of games in the National League Championship Series last night with both teams seeking to portray their performance in the most favorable light.

Picking up where they left off in Game 6 of the Series, the Giants had...

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What Is It About Running That Makes Great Books? A Talk With Author David Davis

(7) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 4:20 PM

As Chris McDougall explains in Born to Run, the three great U.S. running booms have all coincided with economic downturns: the first came during the Great Depression, the second starting in the early 1970s, and the most recent started the year after September 11th. This third running boom has also...

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Let's Pause to Remember Gitta Sereny, A Unique Voice on the Holocaust

(8) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 10:57 AM

Author Gitta Sereny, a brilliant interviewer who brought three-dimensional insight into even the most sinister subjects, died at age 91 earlier this month in Cambridge, England, and it's worth pausing to honor her lifelong inquiry into the Holocaust -- and the question of how such monstrous acts were even possible.

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The Myth of the Euro's Imminent Demise

(6) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 6:04 PM

The Occupy movement was supposed to have resulted in a fundamental reassessment of the notion, erroneously thought to have long been central to U.S. self-identity, that ours was a system of and for big money, in short, that a juiced-up, out-of-hand, shameless greed was the point of existence.

What a...

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Book Review: The Google Way to be Calmer, Happier and a Better Listener

(8) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 6:35 PM

Longtime Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan's new book Search Inside Yourself, with the subtitle, "The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (And World Peace)," is based on a program of the same name the author helped implement at Google.

The concept sounds simple, but is actually quite radical: What...

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We've Reached the E-Book Tipping Point

(29) Comments | Posted March 20, 2012 | 4:22 PM

Count me among those who would much rather hold a book in my hand as I read, pen at the ready, rather than clicking through glowing text on a screen. My idea of a satisfying reading experience is leaving a book I've been crazy about with notes and underlines, down-turned...

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Dear Jose, Please Hang It Up

(13) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 1:20 PM

It's often been remarked that few spectacles are sadder and more squalid than that of the once-robust professional athlete not knowing when to hang it up and stop competing.

Jose Canseco, once the hottest player in the game of baseball, American League MVP and celebrity (once taunted on the cover...

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Best Rip Job of the Year

(10) Comments | Posted February 5, 2012 | 3:14 PM

Few things are worse for books than reviewers who pull their punches and ask readers to wade through the lukewarm sludge of a bland, boring, fair-to-a-fault review when, reading between the lines, you just KNOW the reviewer wanted to carve up the book in question.

Good news, then, to...

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