Friday, April 24, 2015

Baseball or bizarre racing: local authors fill the bill

From page B1 | May 09, 2014 |

As kids, most of us have sports dreams.

Once adults, few of our visions — like major-league baseball player, pro race car driver — have materialized.

Two Davis men, however, have been able to keep those dreams close.

Sure, Joe Taxiera never threw out Pete Rose trying to go from first to third. And Mike Meier never passed Graham Hill in a European endurance race. But both locals have new books that embrace their passions and, luckily for us, their publications are terrific reads.

For Taxiera, “A Unique Look at Big League Baseball” has been around for almost five years and is a must for baseball fans.

Meier’s new tongue-in-cheek visit to weekend hobby racing — “How On Fire Are We?” — is a riot, even if you know nothing about racing.

Taxiera, who will have a presentation and book-signing at The Avid Reader downtown on Saturday, May 31 (7:30 p.m.), just released the 2014 Broadcaster’s Edition while this is Meier’s first crack at publishing.

Let’s take a look at each …

“A Unique Look at Big League Baseball” started as a hobby for the longtime IBM software rep.

Taxiera has been a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan — a guy who always wondered how old-timers would have performed now, whether ballparks made that much difference and could statistics 100 years apart be compared and sense made of those eras?

The first ring-bound edition of Taxiera’s now-400-page reference guide was a self-published, personal project. But then KNBR radio personality Marty Lurie got a copy and began to augment his Giants shows by citing from “A Unique Look …”

Jon Miller and the team’s broadcast crew use it to this day — and at least 15 other MLB radio/TV crews are helped along by Taxiera’s tome.

From the National Baseball Hall of Fame to the River Cats gift shop, Taxiera’s work is on sale.

Taxiera is an accomplished photographer, and one of the additional treats of “A Unique Look …” is his photography from stadiums across the nation. His latest edition features a cover shot of the statue of Willie McCovey looking back into AT&T Park from the aptly named McCovey Cove.

Getting Taxiera’s book is as easy as heading to The Avid Reader, or taking in a River Cats game. It is available on and at Taxiera’s website, (on which you’ll find a whole bunch of fun diamond stuff revolving around the book).

Cost? $39.95.

If you want to dazzle your pals with head-scratching national pastime observations or one-of-a-kind baseball trivia, “A Unique Look at Big League Baseball” is your ticket.

“How On Fire Are We?” defies classification, but it looks like Meier has struck oil (from a broken head gasket) with his first effort.

Meier, retired after 15 years at UC Davis as an academic administrator, has loved cars since childhood.

He and another Davis man, Alan Brattesani, decided almost five years ago that their love for all things fast and fixable would be requited in the form of Tinyvette, a yellow 1971 Opel that the two men bought on a lark — then brought back to life.

The goal? Enter the world of crapcan racing (don’t look at me, that’s what it’s known as). Called the LeMons (get it?) endurance series, these outings are held on weekends throughout the nation. They feature a who’s who of bizarre machines, mostly saved from scrap heaps.

Tinyvette was so named because Meier, Brattesani (and maybe Rod Serling) felt the spry, little relic looked like a Corvette Stingray (remember, these men are living dreams).

Anyway, with some success competing in races (with names like Sears Pointless), the Meier-Brattesani team felt like an old-time rock band as mechanics and drivers came and went, yet the integrity of their music (the Tinyvette) was maintained.

As the team grew in reputation on the circuit, Meier felt the love. He also noticed the lunacy taking place around him.

An old Cadillac with antlers and a stuffed Kermit the Frog sticking out the back window was jockeying for position with a 1966 Volkswagen, dressed like a scrubbing bubble (complete with ground-sweeping straw skirts).

Meier, as he was passed, didn’t know whether to pull over, laugh or take notes. As he was laughing, he took notes.

“How On Fire Are We?” has more than 300 pages of anecdotes, team profiles, pictures and illustrations of life on the LeMons circuit; a circuit whose motto is “Good Enough.”

“This book is a noncommercial crapcan community project, the goal of which is to share and preserve our stories … and to do our bit for the (Sonoma Speedway Children’s Charities) that this racing helps support,” Meier says. “All proceeds from this book go to this charities.”

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the California Automobile Museum are other charities that will benefit from Meier’s page-turner.

So, if you want to see a mini space shuttle traveling down the course on the back of a mid-1970s pile of c&*% or a rainbow-colored stretch limousine, or a hollowed-out Rolls Royce or a seen-better-days Plymouth with the Foster Farms chickens on the hood, crapcan racing is your cup of tea.

Yeah, the book is expensive ($79), but the yucks are worth it and the cause is a good one.

Visit to see more (or to order).

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.



Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5