June 26 2013

Father’s Day with Dwight Gooden


During our intimate, exclusive VIP Special Event, Dwight spoke eloquently about his relationship with his Dad, the pressure of pitching in NYC, his childhood, the memories of his playing career, his teammates, addiction, the fans, Mets history and more...


Listen in as Doc made us laugh, cry, remember.  Father’s Day.  A special day in the Clubhouse.







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June 8 2013

“Jewish Major Leaguers In Their Own Words” with Peter Ephross

Between 1870 and 2010, 165 Jewish Americans played Major League Baseball.  This book presents oral histories from Bob Berman, a catcher for the Washington Senators in 1918, to Adam Greenberg, an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 2005.  The players discuss their careers and consider how their Jewish heritage affected them.  Legends like Hank Greenberg and Al Rosen, as well as lesser-known players, reflect on the issue of whether to play on high holidays, responses to anti-Semitism on and off the field, bonds formed with Black teammates also facing prejudice, and personal and Jewish pride in their accomplishments.

Listen in, as Peter Ephross takes us through the oral histories that present a vivid portrait of what it was like to be a Jewish Major Leaguer...

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May 18 2013

“The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych” with Doug Wilson

For those who remember him, Mark Fidrych is still that player who brings a smile to your face, the irresistibly likable pitcher whose sudden rise brightened the season of 1976 and reminded us of the pure joy of the game.

Lanky, mop-topped, and nicknamed for his resemblance to Big Bird on Sesame Street, Fidrych exploded onto the national stage during the Bicentennial summer as a rookie with the Detroit Tigers.  He won over fans nationwide with his wildly endearing antics such as talking to the ball -- and throwing back the ones that “had hits in them;” getting down on his knees to “manicure” the mound of any cleat marks; and shaking hands with just about everyone from teammates to groundskeepers to cops during and after games. Female fans tried to obtain locks of his hair from his barber and even named babies after him.

But The Bird was no mere sideshow. The non-roster invitee to spring training that year quickly emerged as one of the best pitchers in the game. Meanwhile, his boyish enthusiasm, his famously modest lifestyle, and his refusal to sign with an agent during the days of labor disputes and free agency made him a fan favorite.  A rare player who transcended pop culture, Fidrych was named starting pitcher in the All-Star Game as a rookie (the first of his two All-Star nods) and became the first athlete to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Baseball researcher Doug Wilson delivers the first biography of this once-in-a-lifetime player. Through extensive interviews and meticulous research, the author recounts Fidrych’s meteoric rise from Northborough, Massachusetts to the big leagues, his heartbreaking fall after injuries, his comeback attempts with the Tigers and in the Red Sox system, and one unforgettable night when The Bird pitched a swan song for the Pawtucket Red Sox against future star Dave Righetti in a game that remains part of local folklore. Finally, Wilson captures Fidrych’s post-baseball life and his roles in the community, tragically culminating with his death in a freak accident at the age of 54.

Listen in -- as we celebrate The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych...

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May 10 2013

“501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die” with Ron Kaplan

You're not getting any younger.  Listen up.

"I don't know whether Ron Kaplan took any performance-enhancing drugs, but he has accomplished something amazing.  His book is the ultimate guide to baseball literature.  If you love baseball or books or any combination thereof, you should pick this up now." -A. J. Jacobs, editor-at-large at Esquire magazine and author of four New York Times bestsellers

From a bewildering array of baseball books, Ron Kaplan has chosen 501 of the best, making it easier for fans to find just the books to suit them -- or to know what they're missing.  From biography, history, fiction, and instruction to books about ballparks, business, and rules, anyone who loves to read about baseball will find in this book a companionable guide, far more fun than a reference work has any right to be.

In addition to working as a sports and features editor for a weekly New Jersey publication, Ron Kaplan is a freelance writer, specializing in book reviews.  A long-time member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he serves as editor for the Bibliography Committee Newsletter.  Ron writes about baseball books and other media regularly at RonKaplansBaseballBookshelf.com.

Since the pages on a calendar continue to turn for us all, listen in to the lively Clubhouse discussion about 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die...

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May 2 2013

“Core Four” with author Phil Pepe

Derek Jeter.  Mariano Rivera.  Jorge Posada.  Andy Pettitte.

Tracing the careers of four instrumental players who turned around the New York Yankees, Core Four shares behind-the-scenes stories from their early days together in the minors through the 2012 season, and follows them on their majestic ride to the top of the baseball world.  At a time when the Yankees were in free fall, having failed to win a World Series in 17 years and had not played in one in 14 years -- the Bronx Bombers’ longest drought since before the days of Babe Ruth -- along came four young players whose powerful impact returned the franchise to its former glory.

Phil Pepe is the author of more than 50 books on sports, including Few and Chosen Yankees: Defining Yankee Greatness Across the Eras, The Yankees: An Authorized History of the New York Yankees, as well as a biography of Yogi Berra, and collaborations with New York Yankee legends Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Whitey Ford.  He is a former Yankees beat writer for the New York Daily News and a past president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The legendary Phil Pepe filled the Clubhouse with fascinating stories about the Core Four, Yankees history, and a touching memory about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.  Listen and enjoy...

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April 26 2013

“Honoring Hank Greenberg” with author John Rosengren & filmmaker Aviva Kempner

“A man does not expire with his last breath.  He lives on in memories and the changes he wrought.  Hank Greenberg is not dead.  So long as his story is told, he remains with us.” --John Rosengren, epilogue to “Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes”

Baseball in the 1930's was more than a national pastime; it was a cultural touchstone that galvanized communities and gave a struggling country its heroes despite the woes of the Depression.

Hank Greenberg, one of the most exciting sluggers in baseball history, gave the people of Detroit a reason to be proud.  But America was facing more than economic hardship.  With the Nazis gaining power across Europe, political and social tensions were approaching a boiling point.  As one of the few Jewish athletes competing nationally, Greenberg became not only an iconic ballplayer, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.

When Hank joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933, they were headed for a dismal fifth-place season finish.  The following year, with Hank leading the charge, they were fighting off the New York Yankees for the pennant.  As his star ascended, he found himself cheered wherever he went.  But there were other noises, too.  On and off the field, he met with taunts and anti-Semitic threats.  Yet the hardship only drove him on to greater heights, sharing the spotlight with the most legendary sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.

Enter the Clubhouse, as award-winning author John Rosengren discussed his new book, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes.  Director Aviva Kempner joined the discussion and screened exciting new extra footage from the DVD of her Peabody Award-winning documentary, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.

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April 24 2013

“So Many Seasons In The Sun” with Dr. Lawrence Hogan

So Many Seasons In The Sun is the untold history of baseball as seen in the story of the major leagues' two most historically important teams told from the vantage point of the game's ultimate insiders, Fred and Ed Logan, Pete Sheehy, and Mike Murphy.  These four legendary clubhouse men are at the center of So Many Seasons In the Sun.  Their combined service for baseball's two most storied franchises, the Highlanders/Yankees of New York, and the Giants of both New York and San Francisco, stretches over a century.  Their stories, and the stories they tell, present the rich history of major league baseball, of great players, great teams, and great seasons from the 1880s until today.

In visiting baseball's inner sanctum, the "No Visitors Allowed" sign that has barred the clubhouse door for So Many Seasons In The Sun is taken down for the first time for a unique look at what is the real center of all that is important with any baseball team.

Join Larry Hogan as he takes us into major league clubhouses at this special event hosted by the New York Giants Preservation Society...

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April 12 2013

“The Greatest Game Ever Pitched” with Jim Kaplan

It would have been enough just to see them pitch. Taking the mound at San Francisco's Candlestick Park that summer night in 1963 were 42-year-old Warren Spahn and 25-year-old Juan Marichal -- the embodiment of an ageless wonder headed for the Hall of Fame and a whirling wunderkind making his own case for immortality. But as one scoreless inning followed another en route to a 16th-inning climax, the 15,921 fans in attendance began to sense that they were watching a pitching duel for the ages. They remained, shivering and thrilled, to see it end after midnight. The sui generis event surpassed the world of statistics and entered into the realm of magic.

Author Jim Kaplan, who covered baseball for Sports Illustrated in the 1970's and 1980's, initially planned to expand a magazine story he'd written about the game into book form. The more he researched the principals in his travels from San Francisco to South Buffalo to Santo Domingo, however, the more fascinated he became with their biographies. Spahn was one of the most decorated ballplayers to fight in World War II. Marichal narrowly escaped death three times. Despite their obvious differences -- Spahn was white, American, and left-handed, Marichal is bronzed, Dominican, and right-handed -- Kaplan found extraordinary similarities between the friendly rivals.

Listen in as Jim Kaplan takes us back, 50 years ago, to The Greatest Game Ever Pitched...

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April 9 2013

Big Fly Baseball Radio Hour

BIG FLY BASEBALL RADIO HOUR - FRIDAY, APRIL 5,  2013

A CELEBRATION OF BASEBALL ENTERTAINMENT

SPECIAL GUEST: FORMER MLB PLAYER, BILLY SAMPLE

YOUR HOST: CHRIS LUTKIN

BIG FLY BASEBALL RADIO HOUR PROGRAM

RAPHAEL BADAGLIACCA  - THE YOGI POEMS & OTHER CELEBRATIONS OF LOCAL BASEBALL

Author Raphael Badagliacca reads from his book, The Yogi Poems, a collection of 25 stories and poems is for anyone who loves baseball. http://www.theyogibook.com/

BROOKLYN BRAD – CASEY AT THE BAT

Brad "Brooklyn" Shaw, President of the Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club and historian of the MAVBBL and VBBA (Vintage Base Ball Associations), performs his rendition of “Casey at the Bat”  by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1888).

Brad will also share insights on playing in Vintage Baseball leagues in the area, including his team, the Flemington Neshanock, from Huntington, NJ.  Chris Lutkin also plays Vintage Baseball, for the Hoboken Nine. The Hoboken Nine are partially sponsored by the Hoboken Historical Museum.

http://www.neshanock.org/

www.HobokenNine.vbba.org

A READING FROM SCREENPLAY ‘BULL’

Written by Chris Lutkin and Enrico Falconi / Directed by Enrico Falconi

CAST:

Johnny Lancaster as Bull Smith

Brian Kelly as Honus Wagner

Jack Mulcahy as Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Fred Clarke

Enrico Falconi as Umpire Silk O’Connor

“Field of Dreams” meets a modern day "League of Their Own" in this new feature film screenplay, “Bull.” Seen through the eyes of a troubled 17-year old All Star athlete, we uncover the life of her Great Great Grandfather, "Bull," a real life ball player from a bygone era.

https://pro-labs.imdb.com/title/tt2609368/filmmakers

http://www.bullsmithmovie.com/

MORTY’S SONG by LEFTY

The Big Fly Baseball Radio Hour is proud to host LEFTY as our first House Band.

LEFTY IS:

Todd Montgomery, guitar, vocals

Todd Grapes, guitar, harmonica, percussion

Dave Bergman, flute

Bridget Hayes, percussion, vocals

In addition to music throughout the show, Lefty performed a special song honoring anyone who ever played softball in Central Park: Morty’s Song. Morty Gilbert has been playing Softball on the Hecksher Fields since WWII. Now 82 years old, he still holds the permit for Sundays at 11am; he no longer pitches but still bats in his games.  Diana Gross has made a documentary, "The Regulars," about Morty and his longest running (and one of the last) pickup softball games in Central Park.  Please go to the website to donate or get more info:  www.TheRegularsDocumentary.com

BILLY SAMPLE  - REUNION 108

INTERVIEWED by JACK MULCAHEY

“Reunion 108” is a full-length, comedy feature film that promises to be a no holds barred behind the scenes and in your face look into the world of professional baseball.

Billy Sample is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as an outfielder from 1978-1986. Sample played for the Texas Rangers (1978-1984), New York Yankees (1985) and Atlanta Braves (1986). His new baseball comedy “Reunion 108,” based on many of his own experiences in baseball, comical and otherwise, will have its first showings at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, N.J., on April 8.

Jack Mulcahy is the epitome of the working New York actor with over 80 stage, screen and television credits.  He has starred in a wide array of feature films, from the award winning and critically acclaimed “Brothers McMullen” all the way back to the box office smashes of the “Porky’s” trilogy.  Jack has several films set for release in 2013, including “Stuck in the Middle”, a theological slacker comedy, and “Reunion 108”, a baseball comedy that’s certain to ruffle the feathers of baseball’s establishment.

www.reunion108.com

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME - Led by Brad “Brooklyn” Shaw

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was written by Jack Norworth in 1908 after seeing a subway add for the NY Giants.  The music was by Albert Von Tilzer. Neither had ever been to a baseball game.

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April 6 2013

“Swinging 73″ with Matthew Silverman

From the Library Journal:  "If you had to pick out one year that epitomized the volatility of the 1970s, 1973 would be it.  Watergate was rearing its ugly head.  The Vietnam War finally ended.  OPEC embargoed oil, sending gas prices soaring.  In the midst of all of this, Matthew Silverman suggests, baseball offered a reprieve.  He details how the 1973 MLB season unfolded as it ushered in Willie Mays’s last season, and started two American League phenomena that changed the game: the designated hitter and George Steinbrenner’s ownership of the New York Yankees.  Silverman takes readers around the major leagues, placing the baseball season in the cultural and political climate of 1973 as he does so.  Anecdotes about such cultural details as the Atkin’s diet and Archie Bunker do not hinder the larger story as he effectively connects 1973 into baseball history.  He crafts a thrilling account of the 1973 baseball season itself right up to the final out of the World Series.  The reader will not get bogged down in detail during this fun and fascinating read."

Listen in as author Matthew Silverman takes us back to 1973 -- Baseball's Wildest Season...

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March 16 2013

“Summers at Shea” with Ira Berkow

Opening Day for the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse Spring 2013 Event Calendar... with a Pulitzer Prize winner throwing out the first pitch!

"My job as a columnist and feature writer, primarily -- as opposed to a beat writer covering the game itself -- was to give a sense, a feel of being there, to write about elements of the on-field participants that the spectator is not aware of, and cannot be aware of from his vantage in the grandstands, or on a couch in front of his television set." -Ira Berkow

Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow captures the spirit of the New York Mets in this unforgettable collection of opinions, stories, and observations.  On this night in the Clubhouse, memories and reflections about Casey Stengel, Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges, Yogi Berra, Art Shamsky, Ron Darling -- and even Michael Jordan & Abba Eban.

Ira Berkow, a sports columnist and feature writer for The New York Times for more than 25 years, won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2001 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer for commentary in 1988.  He is the author of 20 books, including the bestsellers Red: A Biography of Red Smith and Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar.

On March 14th, we had a standing-room-only crowd in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse -- and an hour's worth of stories from a Pulitzer Prize winner.  Listen in...

(This podcast is dedicated to the memory of Audrey McGinn)

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February 1 2013

“Satchel Paige” with author Larry Tye

Leroy "Satchel" Paige -- Athlete / Showman / Philosopher / Boundary Breaker

Through dogged research and extensive interviews, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher.  A stirring account of the child born to a poor Alabama washerwoman, the boy who earned his nickname from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, and the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school before becoming the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues.

Larry Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him in breaking the Major League color barrier, emerged at the improbable age of 42 to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series.

Over a career that spanned four decades, Satchel pitched more baseballs, for more fans, in more ballparks, for more teams, than any player in history.

Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend

Listen in as author Larry Tye leads the discussion in the Clubhouse.  And, remember, don't look back.  Something might be gaining on you.

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December 21 2012

“Lefty: An American Odyssey” with author/special guest Vernona Gomez — Part Two

Part Two -- Q&A -- with Vernona Gomez.

Enjoy this special event -- live from the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on December 13, 2012...

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“Lefty: An American Odyssey” with author/special guest Vernona Gomez

Vernona Gomez is the daughter of New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez and Broadway star June O'Dea.

As a child, she bounced on Babe Ruth's knee, made sandcastles on the spring training beach with Joe DiMaggio, and won card games with Cy Young.  Growing up in a baseball family, Vernona was a tag-along with her parents at Old Timers' games, World Series, and Cooperstown Induction weekends.  A concert pianist, Vernona made her debut at Carnegie Hall -- at the age of 8.

On December 13th, we were extremely fortunate to have hosted a special night with Vernona Gomez... stories, rare films and personal memories about the dusty streets of turn-of-the-century California, to the frenzied roar of Yankee Stadium and the exuberant sophistication of Broadway.

Our final author of the 2012 Event Calendar in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.  Enjoy Part One of this special evening with Vernona Gomez...

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December 17 2012

“Yankee Miracles” with Ray Negron

Listen in as we welcomed Ray Negron for an emotional evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

"Much of sports can leave us skeptical if not cynical. But I defy anyone to read Ray Negron's remarkable story and not come away believing that there still can be genuine heart, soul, and even redemption in the games we watch and play." -Bob Costas

"Full of fascinating personal anecdotes and behind-the-scenes details, it brings back memories of what it was like to be in Yankee Stadium on a warm summer afternoon." -Henry Kissinger

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October 27 2012

New York Giants Preservation Society - Inaugural Meeting with special guest Joshua Prager

Why was this night different from all other nights in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse?

On October 25, 2012, we hosted the Inaugural Meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society.  The Clubhouse was packed with mensches who happen to love the Giants.

Listen in to a bit of this evening, as Joshua Prager, author of "The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and The Shot Heard Round The World," told story upon fascinating story.

(This podcast is dedicated to the memory of my Dad.)

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September 22 2012

“Yankee Greats: 100 Classic Baseball Cards” with Bob Woods

“Yankee Greats” features 100 baseball cards of the greatest and most popular New York Yankees from the celebrated trading-card company Topps.

Showcasing original cards for legendary players such as Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Derek Jeter, this unique package provides a fun and fresh approach to revisiting America’s pastime.

“Yankee Greats” will let all baseball fans revel in and reminisce over many of the players that helped make baseball the game it is today.  These legendary cards will fill you with fond memories, whether you’re young -- or young at heart.  Join Bob for an evening in the Clubhouse...

Bob Woods is a freelance writer who grew up in upstate New York during the 1950s and 1960s, loving the Yankees and collecting Topps baseball cards.  His affection for the Yanks only increased when he moved to NYC after college, and later intersected with his career after he teamed up with Topps to create “Topps Magazine.”  Bob’s ongoing association with Topps ultimately led to this labor of love.

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August 18 2012

“Gil Hodges” with Danny Peary & special guest Art Shamsky - Part Two

Part Two of a magical night in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

Danny Peary, author of Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, the Miracle Mets, and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend, is joined for Q&A by a special guest -- beloved member of the 1969 World Champion New York Mets, Art Shamsky.

Enjoy!

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“Gil Hodges” with author Danny Peary - Part One

A towering figure during the Golden Era of the 1950s, Gil Hodges was the Brooklyn Dodgers’ powerful first baseman who, alongside Jackie Robinson, helped drive his team to six pennants and a thrilling World Series victory in 1955. The beloved home run hitter from Indiana married a Brooklyn girl and settled in that amazing borough, and the Brooklyn fans famously prayed for him when he slumped.

Dutifully following the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, Hodges longed to return to New York City. He joined the original Mets team in 1962, and he finished his playing career with them. In 1968, he took over the manager’s spot on their bench. Under his steady hand, the Mets went from a joke to World Champions -- the 1969 Miracle Mets.

Yet behind his stoic demeanor lay a man prone to anxiety and worry. Hodges was scarred by combat on Tinian and Okinawa during World War II, and his inner turmoil was exacerbated by tight pennant races and excruciating defeats. His sudden death in 1972 -- at the age of 47 -- shocked his friends and family, and left a void in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

Acclaimed authors Tom Clavin and Danny Peary delve into one of baseball’s most overlooked stars, shedding light on a fascinating life and career that even his most ardent fans never knew. An exciting biography that paints a portrait of an amazing era of baseball as much as it does an admirable player, Gil Hodges is sure to please fans of America’s pastime.

Danny Peary gave us a wonderful Clubhouse event a couple years ago with Roger Maris.  Listen in to Part One of Danny's return to the Clubhouse for Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, the Miracle Mets, and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend.

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July 25 2012

“Empire State of Mind” with author Zack O’Malley Greenberg

I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can -Jay Z

Some people think Jay-Z is just another rapper.  Others see him as just another celebrity/mega-star.  The reality is, no matter what you think Jay-Z is, he is first and foremost a business.

You can slip into his Rocawear clothing - official sponsor of the New York Yankees - wake up to the local radio station playing Jay-Z's latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, catch a Nets basketball game in the afternoon, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig before heading to an evening performance of the Jay-Z-backed Broadway musical “Fela!” and a nightcap at his 40/40 Club.  He'll profit at every turn of your day.

But despite Jay-Z's success, there are still many Americans whose impressions of him are foggy, outdated, or downright incorrect.  Surprisingly to many, he honed his business philosophy not at a fancy B school, but on the streets of Brooklyn and beyond as a drug dealer in the 1980s.

“Empire State of Mind” tells the story behind Jay-Z's rise to the top as told by the people who lived it with him.  This book explains just how Jay-Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world. Join Zack O'Malley Greenberg, live from the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...

Zack O'Malley Greenburg is a Forbes staff writer and author of the Jay-Z biography Empire State of Mind.  He pens The Beat Report at Forbes, where he's covered finance and music since 2005, profiling the likes of Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber, Richard Branson and 50 Cent.  Along the way, Zack's stories have taken him from Omaha's rail yards to the diamond mines of Sierra Leone.  He has also written for The Washington Post, Vibe, McSweeney's, Sports Illustrated and others.  He has served as a guest lecturer at Yale, Berklee School of Music, Georgetown and Harvard, and has appeared as an expert source for BBC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, E!, MTV, Reuters and other outlets.

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