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on July 4, 2001
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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on February 18, 1998
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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on October 10, 1997
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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on February 26, 2006
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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on February 9, 2004
George Will shows his passion for the game in this work. As a baseball fan myself I can appreciate the technical aspects of the game and therefore this work. If you are no more than a casual fan I am not sure this is the book for you. If you are an avid fan, however, or wanting to learn more about the intricacies of the game then this book is for you. In lengthy detailed interviews from some of the games best you'll learn about all the little things that go on during a baseball game that you simply can't get from a box score. Pitching, coaching, managing, defense and hitting are all covered. Will addresses them all adequately and with quality, classy athletes. A must read for any true fan, old or new. While the players are retired now it is still worth any young baseball fans read. It will give you a much greater appreciation for the game as a whole. I can't wait for Spring Training.
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on February 15, 2006
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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on August 25, 1999
Will includes tons of fascinating insights and anecdotes, but the writing is ponderous. He seems unable to be agile in explaining anything. Statistics are frequently presented in far more volume than necessary to prove the point in question. There are misspellings and sentences which simply do not scan. This book seems to have lacked a strong, intervening editor. The result is a book at least 30% longer than it needs to be. In addition, although its 4 stars are still active in baseball, a great deal has changed since then including interleague play, smaller parks, the big home run totals, the even greater importance of the closer, the money -- this book is in big need of an update. It's also surprising that he never really addresses free agency. If he were writing it today, he would need to discuss salary cap and realignment.
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on June 28, 2015
Best baseball book I've ever read. Mr. Will shows all that goes into a game is much more than what you see. The strategies and moves that go into a typical game, although after reading this you may decide there is no such thing as a typical game, are identified as is the game through the eyes of the manager. Curious and interesting events and milestones are revealed along with many humorous stories. This book will will spark, perhaps reawaken, your interest in the great pastime.
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on June 10, 2013
This book was really great. Though each chapter focuses attention on a player since retired from active playing (La Russa aside as he is still managing), the chapters felt fresh and relevant to today's game. In short, this book changed the way I think about baseball as a game, as an athletic competition, and as reflective of American ideology. of the four chapters on hitting, managing, fielding, and pitching, I found hitting and pitching most interesting, represented by Tony Gwynn and Orel Hersheiser respectively. I recommend this book to anyone with even a modest interest in baseball, especially those who have become cynical because of the steroid era and the massive contracts many players sign.
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on October 26, 2014
Please...read this book and you will understang why the game of "baseball" is the most sublime of all human games. Trust me on this. Buy it and read it and you will NEVER watching another baseball game the same way again.
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