17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning (Paperback)
If you like to read statheads explain the success of last year's red sox, then you will like this book. If you want more than that, you will probably be disappointed. The book really adds very little in terms of new insight into the baseball world. These are mostly the same points made more elegantly and in better prose in moneyball.
While the title purports to explain "how the Boston Red Sox got smart ... and created a new blueprint for winning," the book itself does a poor job of detailing that blueprint. As a collection of essays, the book comes off disjointed and wildly inconsistent. Obviously, some chapters are better than others, but overall most of them were disappointing.
The James Click chapter, "Cracking the Rivera Code," is typical of the book. It tries to explain the red sox success against the yankee closer: basically, it comes down to his limited repertoire and being overworked. So you see all this "sabre"-rattling comes in support of pretty commonplace and pedestrian conclusions that one could easily have guessed at without any kind of statistical data.
You also get retreads of familiar sabremetric topics as on-base percentage, the importance of pitch counts, etc. In other words, this is a lesser version of moneyball with boston standing in for oakland.
By the way, winning ONE championship hardly constitutes a blueprint for winning! Obviously, this book was written before the red sox were swept out of the playoffs in the 1st round by the white sox, but still it is rather proposterous to make that claim on the basis of a single championship season. Right now, you would have a better case for anaheim's brand of "smartball."