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Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball Paperback – April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061999814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061999819
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Men at Work, political pundit George Will breaks baseball down, parsing it into essential tasks: hitting, fielding, pitching, and managing. Why do some succeed grandly while others are more apt to whiff? By analyzing the way Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Orel Hershiser, and Tony LaRussa approach the game and do what they do, he finds striking similarities in intelligence, dedication, drive, and desire. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this book for the hard-core baseball fan, Will persuades such notables as Tony La Russa, Orel Hershiser and Tony Gwynn to offer details on the finer points of the game. "The author tends to retell well-known baseball history a little too often," said PW. "But as a sports journalist, he shows himself to be a master at enticing players into particularly enlightening discussions."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I bought this book for my son.
Amazon Customer
George Will provides insights into the details of baseball by examining the game from the perspective of the Manager, the Batter, the Pitcher and the Fielder.
E. King
What you will find is uncommon insight from some of baseball's best presented by a clearly devoted and talented writer.
James W. Susky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By ROBERT KINGSLEY on July 4, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever wondered how the players and managers prepare to do the amazing things we see every day of the baseball season this is the book for you! I have loved the game for my entire life, but I never realized so much preparation goes into every little aspect of the game. George Will covers each part of the game - pitching, hitting, and fielding - by observing and interviewing some of the greats of the game; Hershiser on pitching, Gwynn on hitting, Ripken on fielding, and Larussa on putting it all together.
George Will quoted Wes Westrum in this book - "Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand." This book increased my understanding of the game and as a result has added to my enjoyment of baseball. I see things I didn't see before I read this book - the nuances of the game have become more clear.
I did not believe I could love the game more, but after reading this book, I do! I would highly recommend this book to both students of the game and to newcomers looking to understand the game.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you have ever had any doubt that baseball is a slow paced, boring sport that withers in comparison to football, basketball, and hockey, then this book is definitely for you. In it, George Will explains the simple pleasures of baseball and the tremendous perfections in which it involves. He goes into great detail of the managers roles, the pitchers roles, the batters roles, and the fielders roles, focusing mainly on Tony LaRussa, Orel Hershieser, Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken respectively, but often throwing in stories of other baseball greats. Will gives tremendous insite of the finer points of the game which should be appreciated by any true sports fan. He shows how baseball is not only a game of physical skill, but of tremendous mental skill, and a little bit of luck. I found this book to be amazingly interesting and insiteful. Already being a baseball fan it taught me to enjoy the game on a whole knew level, the strategic level of it and I highly recommend it to any baseball fan, or sports fan for that matter.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By derykm@siu.edu on October 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
Ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors as the coaches meet before a game, or how much sign stealing really ocurrs? The answers to these questions and much more about the behind-the-scenes goings on of the great game of baseball are in this magnificent book by the conservative political columnist George F. Will. Will takes you behind closed doors with Tony LaRussa, the best manager in the game. He also takes you to the pither's mound with Orel Hershiser, to the batter's box with Tony Gwynn, and to the shortstop's position with Cal Ripken, Jr. And when he gets you there, he explains every thing that is going on in everyone's head and he does it with stunning detail, and first-hand knowledge that will keep you begging for more after you finish. Will's book is a must have for even the casual baseball fan.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Blanton on February 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating journey into the national pastime. George Will writes economically and wisely not only about what the game is, but also what it once was. The evolution of the sport - although that is certainly not the focus of the book - is illuminating for anyone who is interested in how institutions come to change. Will brings a deep explanation to the chief facets of the game - managing, pitching, hitting and defense. Ultimately they groove together to form a gorgeous tapestry of understanding. There's a word for this kind of non-fiction work: indispensable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. King on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy the sport of baseball, you gotta read this book. George Will provides insights into the details of baseball by examining the game from the perspective of the Manager, the Batter, the Pitcher and the Fielder. It's wonderful the descriptions of the minute aspects that make the difference between a regular player and someone with the skills like future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. I've read this book many times, and I never tire of the stories of how this game is meant to be played. You will enjoy the game even more after reading this book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mattman on August 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I agree with the reviewer who said this reduced baseball to a tech manual, removing the passion. I got the impression that Will enjoys baseball because it allows him to feel sophisticated. I enjoy baseball because it's a thinking man's game, but half of that equation is GAME, with competition, passion and celebration for the winners. At best, Will captures some of that passion in his book. But more often than not, it makes it seem more of an engineered factory product.

There are occasions when I really enjoyed the book. I love baseball, and I do love the minutia. It's fun getting behind the scenes to watch Tony LaRussa's coaches work together, and to see the pure hitting mechanics from a master like Gwynn. But I suppose the simplest way to put it is--it's too much of a good thing at times, it becomes mundane, repetitive and boring way too often. Even more advanced baseball writing (i.e. Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus) tends to be a lot more fun than this. Check out any of Halberstam's books, or John Updike's essay about Ted Williams' last game titled "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," if you want pure literary baseball magic.

One last thing--consider these two baseball titles. "Men at Work" versus "The Boys of Summer." Interesting the different images they bring to mind. I prefer the latter.
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