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Announcers' voices enliven literary efforts

Red Sox broadcasters Joe Castiglione and Jerry Remy did some serious writing in the offseason. Suffice it to say, neither will become a full-time author, but each has come up with a book worthy of attention. It's unfortunate timing that they're on the shelves at the same time but good fortune that there's no overlap in subject material.

Neither Remy's "Watching Baseball: Discovering the Game within the Game" nor Castiglione's "Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw It On The Radio With The Boston Red Sox" is your classic read-it-in-a couple-of-hours-at-the-beach-page-turner. The books, which hit stores last month, are entertaining, informative, and have staying power. You won't want to read these and pass them along unless you're sure they'll come back to your bookshelf.

Co-authors Douglas B. Lyons (Castiglione) and Corey Sandler (Remy) each made sure his subject's personality came through in the words and tone of the work.

Castiglione breaks his book into three parts. The first first is autobiographical and documents his drive to get into the business and his years working the bush leagues. That real world is a far cry from ESPN's "Dream Job" in which you win a contest and move right from college to the big leagues.

This part of Castiglione's book should be must reading for his students at Northeastern and Franklin Pierce, not to mention all who hope to embark on a broadcasting career.

Part 2 reveals his natural curiosity. Castiglione spends his off time on the road exploring major league cities. He becomes a tour guide for fans who hopscotch the country catching the Sox on the road. Except for being robbed at gunpoint outside a Kansas City hotel ("My scariest moment on the road"), Castiglione has had a wonderful ride.

Part 3 is everything that didn't fit elsewhere: notes on memorable players, events, anecdotes, colleagues, the Jimmy Fund, and his teaching career.

The book captures Castiglione's folksy style and has the same overriding quality he considers vital for longevity in broadcasting: wearability.

Last month, a caller to WEEI's "Dale and Neumy" show said he'd read Remy's book and "didn't learn a thing." That's impossible, because no matter how much baseball you know or watch, the game always looks different through another's eyes. And Remy, with a 10-year playing career and 17 years in the broadcast booth, brings the perspective from both roles to his book.

"Watching Baseball," like "Broadcast Rites and Sites," is set up "to be continued," as the statistics and anecdotes can be updated for future editions.

For this reader, the fascinating chapter was on hitters' counts and, by extension, pitchers' counts. The explanation of what's going through players' minds makes you watch the nightly battles between batter and pitcher in a different light.

Remy talks about the best (and worst) places in the ballpark to see the game, the two types of hitters (those who swing inside the ball and those who surround it), the two types of infielders (the smooth and the "jabbers"), the theory behind infield positioning, and the courage needed to play second base because of the position's inherent vulnerability.

But it's the Remyisms that make it special, such as the advice he got from Dick Allen: "Kid, a slump is only as long as your last time at bat." Or, in this book, only as long as it takes to turn a page.

Boston on bottom Game 4 of the NBA Finals delivered a 14.4 rating (23 audience share) in the 56 metered national markets, making it Sunday night's top-rated national program. The game did a 45.9 rating (61 share) in the Detroit maket. LA, meanwhile, checked in with a 30.6 rating (50 share). Boston has been the lowest of the metered markets for all four games, this time with a 3.8 rating. The Boston numbers include Manchester's Channel 9. On Boston's Channel 5, the four-game rating is 3.6 . . . NECN's Chris Collins had Florida Marlins draftee Jason Allison (now on the restricted list) and his former Peabody High coach, Ed Nizwantowski, in studio Sunday night. The interview was a solid get for Collins, who used persistence and his hometown Peabody connections. Both guests, however, seemed to be in denial. Allison described his Oxycontin use ("Last November, I had a problem but didn't want to believe it and didn't know how to get out of it.") but said he's feeling well now and feels he's changed his life for the better. For those rooting for him to make it, a troubling note was his statement, repeated several times, that "I need to start loving the game more. You have to love the game and the life." Nizwantowski spoke of his teaching and coaching philosophy: "You make a mistake, apologize, and don't let it happen again." That would have been the perfect spot to ask Nizwantowski about having to stay outside the Lowell Spinners' LeLacheur Park Saturday as his Peabody team won the MIAA Division 1 North title. The ban was imposed by the Spinners after Nizwantowski refused to sign a team-drafted apology for a "verbal altercation" with a park employee last year.

Mixing his pitches Derek Lowe was an interesting mix of confidence and vulnerability in talking about the mental approach to pitching with Channel 4's Steve Burton on Sunday's "Sports Final." On the same show, Pedro Martinez was terrific in sitting down with Dan Roche to talk about his arm angle, release point, grips, and wrist snap, all designed to fire the ball "like an arrow out of a bow" toward the plate . . . ESPN missed Pokey Reese's double off the left-field wall Sunday night (switching to a center field camera that didn't show the ball hitting the wall, just the carom onto the field), but had his remarkable leaping catch from a variety of angles . . . The Globe's "Sportsplus" show will air at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow before the pregame show leading into Sox-Rockies (NESN, 9 p.m.). Dan Shaughnessy and Kevin Dupont join host Bob Lobel for a "Who's Better?" segment arguing the cases for Roger Clemens and Martinez . . . NESN will televise as many as 30 Canadian Football League games starting this Thursday (Ottawa-Winnipeg) at 9 p.m. and continuing through the Nov. 21 Grey Cup championship game . . . Tonight on CN8's "Sports Pulse," at 10, host Ed Berliner chats with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Patriots vice chairman Jonathan Kraft.

Bill Griffith's e-mail address is griffith@globe.com 

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