hunter ford

Paul Finebaum’s much anticipated book is out, and he is promoting the book signing tour as if it were a Led Zeppelin reunion.  I don’t know if I-Man’s accounts of “lines being out the door” for book signing events can be taken at face value.

My experience with the book is this:  I went to Wal-Mart in Troy, Alabama and marched up to the book and magazine section.  I did not see Paul’s book, and figured I would have to try a real bookstore next time I travelled to Montgomery or Birmingham.  I spent a few minutes poring over a fishing magazine, and then began to walk out.

While walking out of Wally World of Troy, I noticed a little couch, bed, and bookshelf combo decorated with Troy University blankets, pillow cases and pennants.  Next to this mock dorm room was a small cardboard display with a couple dozen of Paul’s books.  Maybe Paul is just not very big in Troy.  Maybe the location and display of the books was not conducive to catch the eye of potential buyers.  This was only a few days ago, and the book was already marked down from its suggested retail price of nearly $30 to a little less than $20.

I cracked the pages and went to the back to find the index.  There was no index.  I was hoping to quickly reference the page numbers where I could find stories of the people I’m most interested in.

I don’t know if the late, great “Shane from Centerpoint” made it into the book, but I didn’t find him.  I didn’t find references to several people I thought should have been mentioned in a comprehensive overview of the Paul Finebaum Radio Network, and Paul’s broadcasting career.  This is not really that kind of book.  It tries to be both a brief autobiography and a riff on recent SEC history, thereby failing to do either effectively.  It is a mash-up of what could have been a fascinating read mixed with the kind of book you leave by your toilet in the magazine basket.

Without giving it a thorough read, perhaps I should withhold judgment.  In defense of my willingness to review the book without reading all of it, I say this:  I have been a fan of Paul’s since his early days as a reporter.  I have interviewed him over the years, listened to his show, and read most everything he has previously written, or that has been written about him.

Thumbing through his book last week, I could not find one new or interesting fact about Paul, or a new or interesting opinion from him (or anyone else) that I have not already read about, heard on his show, or learned through some other avenue.  The publisher might as well have made this a pop-up book with pictures of Harvey Updyke spraying poison on the Toomer’s Corner trees and eating honey buns in a jail cell.  Perhaps I’m too big a Finebaum fan and can’t be easily impressed or surprised.

I’m glad I took time to read the fishing magazine.  Now I can remember how to tie a Carolina rig.

Here is a link to a second opinion on the Finebaum book.

Paul Finebaum has never, by his own admission, been a great writer.  He was a good newspaper reporter who evolved into a great radio interviewer.  Finebaum will now share some airtime on the SEC Network with former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.  Tebow’s new media gig probably means the absolute end of his playing days.  Finebaum’s cynicism combined with Tebow’s earnestness will make for an interesting combination for sure.

Paul Finebaum's book falls short, but his involvement with the new SEC Network should be interesting.
Paul Finebaum’s book falls short, but his involvement with the new SEC Network should be interesting.

34 thoughts on “Finebaum book lacks depth”

  1. You are spot on. Like you, perhaps I am too familiar with him and the shows characters. I felt this book was no different than any other SEC related book I’ve read over the years. Very little personal insight, inside stories, etc that I expected. I couldn’t care less about reading a rehash of the traditions of each SEC school to show how much “better” we are than the other conferences. Maybe a Big10 or Pac12 reader might find it iteresting that knows little about the SEC, but I doubt it. The book “The System” that I just finished was much more interesting. Now that shed some info on BYU, Mike Leach, Okie State that I didn’t know along with some goodies about Mal’s hiring of Saban that never gets old.

  2. Exactly, Hunter.

    I didn’t buy it because I read a chapter and, frankly, he can’t write.

    OK, maybe it’s not that he can’t write; the editing is good enough and he does try to keep the vocabulary interesting (albeit it sounds a little forced). Maybe it’s just me, but I simply didn’t like the way he tells stories. They feel artificially poetic, and I don’t need poetry when I’m reading about Harvey Updyke.

    I think it might be a good read for people outside of Alabama who never got his show on their radio and otherwise only know him for the Updyke stuff, you know, like the entire rest of the country.

    Finebaum is a personality. I don’t know how much of what he says is real, how much is sensationalized or dramatized, and how much is explicitly created to stir the pot, but it is sometimes interesting, at least. Frankly though, I prefer no-nonsense analysts like Kirk Herbstreit and Alabama’s own Nick Saban.

    I read somewhere recently that after Coach Saban retires that he’ll almost certainly become an on-air analyst for ESPN. It’s exciting to think about, although I can only imagine the furious anger across the nation for “Alabama bias” when Nick Saban and Paul Finebaum are buddy-buddy on a live stage as they dump off to Greg McElroy, Chris Fowler and Reese Davis for their segments…

    Roll Tide

  3. Perhaps, one day when Paul is closer to retirement, or retired, he will pull out the stops and give us a more thorough, behind the scenes, book.

    This one lacked a singular purpose.

    1. Did he leave out the Dustin Hoffman impersonator that got through Bob Lochamy’s call screen? That was among the funniest things I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

      None of those kind of stories? I’ll probably wait for it to hit the Hoover Library.

  4. I also have a Flux Capacitator And a Sports Almanac and I can play Johnny B. Good on guitar

    1. Looks like Therize is going to be ineligble…oh wait, this is Aubarn we are talking about. He’ll play.

      1. If Auburn declares someone academically ineligible YOU KNOW there’s so much there not even THEY can cover it up.

        And that is saying A TON.

  5. Peachy:

    Not good for who? I think you might understand this “Inside Baseball” joke….. “If you take all the crap I learned in high school it’s a wonder I can think at all”

    1. I think with Sims at QB Alabama is a 9-3 maybe 10-2 team. They aren’t a NC team with Sims at QB.

      1. Peachy:

        Sit down.. get some food… put on some Allman Brothers and ride it out… it will be okay … I promise Tomorrow you will feel better ….

  6. The best Alabama quarterback will start against the couch burners and you my friend Peachy. … give me some feedback on the Finebaum book… have you read about it seen it do you care?

    1. Peachy:

      Usually all you have to do is say “Fienbaum” SP wrong on purpose and you get JIMI HENDRIX STYLE FEEDBACK Maybe PAWLLL is done

    2. The person who wrote this article didn’t even read his book. I really don’t care to read it. Ive seen all the GIFs on the internet of Finebaum sucking Saban off. Cant imagine the book is much different.

        1. No one gives a crap about Auburn nationally. They just don’t.

          Outside the southeast…heck, outside Alabama…they are never, EVER mentioned.

          Meanwhile, Tuscaloosa remains at the epicenter of the game. As it should be.

          Roll Tide.

  7. I want to be honest. Have not bought the book and like many of you… are waiting for the price to trend toward ten dollars. That seems to be the trajectory. Like many of you… that are regulars… much of the book is old news. I will admit… that “Sparrow” being placed in the Book is damn odd. Can’t really recall any phone call she has ever made. The excerpts I have read…. are Wojo… not Paul. I am glad about one thing. I took a lot of shit from the Harvey Bunch about calling him a dirty cop…. even Harvey called and said I was a drunk….I will find this book eventually and read the damn thing. Glad all the usual suspects got their 15 minutes. Meantime… the genius… the one Paul said would always be with him … Pat Smith…. is unemployed. Perhaps that is the real story about Paul. Principle.

    1. Elmo:

      Paul, as always, is laughing all the way to the bank with his $500,000 advance. Maybe I am just don’t know enough, but if the book is already marked down, how many copies does it have to sell to make a profit for everyone involved? Or is that the point?

  8. Pat Smith is unemployed? What happened? Paul was giving him accolades the other day and I just assumed he was still with him

    1. Pat didn’t want to move his family to North Carolina, which ESPN was requiring him to do. I admire his dedication to his family in the stage of life his kids were in. Pat will most definitely land on his feet somewhere. The entire show was his idea, not Paul’s.

    1. Although I don’t blame Paul for the move ($$$$, exposure, career goals) his show is not the same. Taking the knuckle draggers with him like I Man, Phyllis, Jim, Charles, etc just isn’t translating to TV or even his new show now that it is national. (Yes, I know that it’s been “national” for awhile thanks to Sirius, but still he was in Bham) Plus Paul has gone civilized on us now that he works for Big Brother.

  9. Paul… you really did nail it. The show is not translating to the Radio…. like many of you… I work for a living and do not have time to watch cable television. That is the problem. Television Shows and 25 minutes of Ads…. ( How about a place for Mom ? Jesus.) does not translate well to the radio. I will agree that the ass wipes that he put on a pedestal … just a complete joke. Hell… Daryl from Columbus said “nigger ” on air just about 2 years ago… the rest of them are just the bastards that sit on the end of the Bar… until they are asked to leave. How many times can Tammy talk about her Vagina on air ? Talk about Birth Control. I just turn it off mostly now. Finebammer…. I invite your take on all of this… because you know where the skeletons are… like I do.

    1. my take? enjoy it while it lasts, paul, because it’s not.

      throughout his career, paul has been honest about one thing: his show is caller driven.

      paul’s show, as you know Elmo, was built on people calling in, reacting to what he had written in the then Birmingham Post-Herald. he’s always rode the callers. yeah, he does GREAT interviews. but that can carry you only so far. (see herb winches, tim brando)

      not long after his move to WJOX, you started hearing complaints about the CALLERS. callers not bringing anything “to the table”. for along time i tied it to the station. later on it hit me. he’s not WRITING anymore. and specifically, not writing in BIRMINGHAM.

      the quality of paul’s callers started to suffer after he quit writing in the birmingham market.

      yes, there have been some sideshows that drew attention here and there. i recall the “turn up the radio” moments, the infamous Eric Ramsey interview where after hearing Paul’s question his credibility, Ramsey swore he’d be back with the goods on Pat Dye. (he did and it cost Dye his job) the time Lochamy lined up an interview with a Tonya Harding “insider” who turned out to be a quack, her self-appointed “refreshment chairman”. the aforementioned Dustin Hoffman call. (that pushed Lochamy to step down for good)

      but the meat and potatoes have been the callers. Roger from Bessemer. Mike from Center Point. B.O.B. you, Elmo.

      and they all had something to say, they had something to “bring to the table”, generally because they were pissed off about something Paul wrote.

      now, callers are calling in reacting to each other for the most part. hence the degradation, the turnoff.

      after watching paul so far, my sense is that his show is to the SEC Network what australian rules football was to ESPN in it’s infancy. as we all know (or should) television is a different animal. paul’s flirtations with local TV never worked because his ascerbic demeanor never translated. he’s changed his game for this adventure, trying to be a kinder, gentler finebaum and it’s just not gonna last in my mind.

      what i’ve seen of him to this point is a man who’s just happy to be there. there’s got to be MORE there there.

      ESPN will soon tire of his bumper sticker quotes. his low rent callers trying to one-up each other. there’s no red meat any more.

      and without any red meat, the dogs get mangier.

  10. finebaum in his own words on the topic:

    Q: Today we have the NFL Network, the Big Ten Network, and talk the SEC could launch its own network—the SEC already has its own digital network with a website that employees several professional journalists to write for it. How do you think this has changed journalism? Is it a good or bad thing to have journalists working for the entities they supposedly cover?

    Finebaum: “It is a bad thing because what you are getting now is pretty much bought and paid for news media. It is a bad thing, but it is also the way it is. I’m in shock every time I see someone who I respect as a journalist end up writing for one of these entities. It is the times.”

    bought and paid for. in shock.

    1. Wow! That is interesting. Having the wolves guard the sheep? Or more like domesticating the wolves and turning them into lapdogs?

Comments are closed.