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96 Reviews
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inside look into the game of baseball.
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...
Published on July 4, 2001 by ROBERT KINGSLEY

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's OK at times, I suppose
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...
Published on August 18, 2004 by Mattman


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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inside look into the game of baseball., July 4, 2001
By 
ROBERT KINGSLEY (Fort Collins, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Baseball Gem, February 18, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Men at Work (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Will breaks down a complex game into four manageable pieces., October 10, 1997
By 
derykm@siu.edu (Carbondale, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Men at Work (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, February 26, 2006
By 
David Blanton (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Men at Work (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! I read it over and over and never tire of it, February 15, 2006
By 
E. King (Sacramento, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best baseball book available..., November 15, 2002
By 
Azim Jessa (Las Vegas, NV USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
So insightful and so true, even 10 years after the book was published. A must for any fan of THE GAME.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's OK at times, I suppose, August 18, 2004
By 
Mattman (Northern Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Men at Work (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed, October 29, 1997
This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
George Will does a great job of detailing great figures in the history of baseball and the changes over the last 100+ years. The section on Tony LaRussa shows the excruciating detail that goes into what appears to be a simple game. His writing style makes the reading a little slow at times, and requires a dictionary always within reach. Still a good book for baseball fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Spring Here Yet?, February 9, 2004
This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Information +, Style -, August 25, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Men at Work (Paperback)
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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Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George F. Will (Paperback - April 13, 2010)
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