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Beltway Boys: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and the Rise of the Nationals Hardcover – May 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elliott Smith is a freelance writer who previously served as the Seattle Mariners beat writer for the Olympian for six years. He has covered the Washington Nationals for several outlets, including the Associated Press and MLB.com. He also covers Georgetown basketball for the Washington Times and the Washington Redskins for Express. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia. Bob Carpenter has been the Washington Nationals' play-by-play announcer on television broadcasts since 2006. He calls games on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) with color analyst F.P. Santangelo. Carpenter resides in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600788033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600788031
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elliott Smith is a freelance writer in the Washington, D.C. area who has covered the Nationals, Wizards, Redskins and Georgetown for a variety of outlets. Prior to moving to the area, he also worked in Olympia, WA and Odessa, TX, home of "Friday Night Lights." He wants you to know that he is not the musician Elliott Smith.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JohnO on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Beltway Boys is an excellent chronicle of the transformation of a pathetic baseball franchise into a powerhouse with (outsized) championship expectations. The writing is crisp, clear and engaging, and strikes a good balance of detail that will appeal to not only Nationals fans, but also casual baseball fans and Sabermetricians alike.

As a casual Nationals fan, I admit to never paying much attention to the team in seasons past. When a team is as bad as the Nationals once were, it is hard to become invested. However, for many of us in the area, that all changed last year as the Nationals built one of the most memorable baseball seasons I've witnessed since the Mariner's 116 game run in 2001. The author does a great job of bringing the season to life. Baseball seasons are long, and its easy to miss things in the midst of a busy summer.

The chapters covering the Strasburg debate were particularly fascinating. I questioned the decision during the lead up to the playoffs, but in reading the arguments from the various commentators and Nationals that the author cites, I have a much better appreciation for the GM's approach and ultimate decision.

The penultimate chapter, aptly named "Ecstasy and Agony", is every bit as gripping as I remember the final series that it describes. Jayson Werth's 13-pitch at bat is one for the ages, and I almost thought about putting the book down right there. The memory of that last game still hurts.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that it does a great job of covering not only the short history of the franchise, but also the tenaciousness (and luck) with which the GM and new owner employed to build a such a strong foundation for the team. The background chapters on both Strasburg and Harper were also interesting. While commentators and fans may disagree on the Strasburg decision, the one thing we all agree on is that the team's future is bright for many years to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timmaaayyyyy! on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I would have never thought a book about the history of the Washington Nationals would be a page turner, but it is! Like most casual baseball fans, my knowledge of the Nationals began and ended with Stephen Strasburg's historic debut. What I didn't know is that they have a rich and compelling history that spans more than 100 years and even includes Jackie Robinson (in a minor way).

In addition to the chronicles of the many iterations of the franchise, the book also profiles two of baseballs hottest young superstars. Strasburg the hardworking introvert and Bryce Harper the brash young athlete, their roads to the majors as different as their styles. The book comes to a conclusion with the teams thrilling and controversial run into the 2012 playoffs.

If you want a fun and educational book, this is it. You don't have to win a ton of championships to have a story to tell. As long as the Nationals aren't playing my home team, I'm a fan. I wouldn't have said that before I read "Beltway Boys".
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By Tim Williams on September 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Elliot Smith's debut book is an efficient and educational story of the National's rise from expansion-team doormat to division champs. My favorite part was the Ecstasy and the Agony, including the description of the Werth at bat. Although there were times when I felt like it was becoming an apologia for the Nationals (for example, the author seems to suggest that the reason why other GMs criticized Mike Rizzo for the decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg was guilt) it covers all the bases and is a good introduction to the team for Nat's fans and fans of other teams.
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Beltway Boys: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and the Rise of the Nationals
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