- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Blue Rider Press (July 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399176284
- ISBN-13: 978-0399176289
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 100 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Grind: Inside Baseball's Endless Season Hardcover – July 7, 2015
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“The best parts of “The Grind” are both intimate and expansive…contrary to its title, “The Grind” is a brisk work—it can be read during a nine-inning game—but Svrluga’s vignettes are no less affecting for their brevity.” –New York Times Book Review
"The Grind looks at the toll that the every-day-for-six-months-with-no-days-off pace takes on all sorts of people associated with the game and the oft-unseen sacrifices the sport requires." —The Wall Street Journal
If every era gets the baseball books it deserves, The Grind is definitely one for ours. Svrluga reveals a culture of nonstop stress: a relentless rhythm of scouting odysseys, training routines, travel monotony, injuries—all before anyone gets out on the field. No wonder these guys are obsessive. But they must also be undaunted. In our distracted, data-saturated age, grittier models of excelling would be hard to find.
“A little treasure.”
“Whether baseball bores you or thrills you, The Grind offers a glimpse into what it feels like to be a part of a rarefied world punctuated as much by failure and frustration as glitz and glamor.”
–Washington City Paper
"Each subject offers a view into little-seen aspects of the baseball life and provides curious fans with new insight into the elements required to make a MLB game happen. VERDICT A quick and enjoyable read for any baseball lover, not just Nationals fans.
"It's no grind whatsoever to read Svrluga's flowing prose. An illuminating and entertaining must-read for the baseball obsessed."
"Barry Svrluga is quite simply one of the best sports writers in America.”
—Tony Kornheiser, ESPN
"Sleepless pitchers, hopeful nomads, suitcase spouses. These are just some of the very real characters drawn with exquisite, page-turning insight by Barry Svrluga. The Grind enters the pantheon of must-read books about baseball."
—Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post
"Baseball generates a rich sediment of numbers, but the one most difficult for fans to appreciate isn’t about an exotic achievement -- Ted Williams' .406 or Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Rather, it is 162, the number of games in a season. Readers of Barry Svrluga's splendid book will henceforth watch the game with deepened understanding, and the players with increased admiration."
—George F. Will
"In The Grind, Barry Svrluga helps fans understand everything that happens outside the nightly three-hour window of the game -- how we prepare, who helps us prepare, and what goes into a major league season. Everyone in the clubhouse knows these stories. Few outside of it do."
—Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals infielder
"Baseball's daily grind is the game's winnowing test of character. Ballplayers and beat writers know it. Few others do. In The Grind, Barry Svrluga captures this rich side of the sport with more color, detail and insight than anyone before him. Svrluga's writing and reporting makes the game's toughest tasks a smooth pleasure for readers."
—Thomas Boswell, author of Why Time Begins on Opening Day and How Life Imitates the World Series
About the Author
Barry Svrluga has worked at the Washington Post since 2003 and is currently the national baseball writer. He previously reported on and blogged about the Washington Nationals and is the author of National Pastime, which details the franchise's relocation from Montreal and its first season in the nation's capital. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.
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Svrluga follows the Washington Nationals throughout "the grind" of the 2014 baseball season, by covering certain members of the Nationals and certain people within and around the organization who are all involved in what goes into and around a baseball season: The Veteran, The Wife, The Scout,
The Starter, The Twenty-sixth Man, The Glue (this is two people: the traveling secretary and the clubhouse manager), The Reliever, and The General Manager. And if you are thinking, "I don't want to read a book about the Washington Nationals" consider this passage from Svrluga's introduction:
"This book, it would seem, is about the Washington Nationals. But the characters in it and those around them will invariably agree: It could be about any of the thirty major league teams. In baseball, these themes are universal."
Ever wonder about the life of a baseball wife with two young children and a third one on the way goes through? Chelsey Desmond, wife of infielder Ian Desmond will let you know.
When does "the season" start for a ball player? For Ryan Zimmerman, it starts before the Christmas holidays.
Ever wonder what a starting pitcher does between starts? For Doug Fister, preparation for the next start actually begins before he leaves the clubhouse after his current start.
How about traveling and moving equipment on road trips? in 2014, the Nats' travel schedule included 33 flights, 2 train trips, and 5 bus charters. From the book: "The last of the Nationals' 12 road trips (in 2014) would go through 3 cities and involve 1 train ride, 3 flights, 46 bus rides, 78 passengers, 25 equipment trunks, 6 sets of golf clubs, 70 equipment bags, 1 massage table, 125 pieces of luggage, including 2 guitars. What could go wrong?" As Ryan Zimmerman said of the clubhouse/travel staff: "He's got to deal with twenty-five prima donnas that get paid a lot of money that want everything that they want, and he's got to make them all happy. That can't be easy."
And when does "next season" become "this season" for the General Manager? For Nats' GM Mike Rizzo, it began on the plane ride back to Washington after the Nats were eliminated from the playoffs by the Giants.
No, I am not going to feel sorry for ball players making millions of dollars while putting up with "the grind", but I do have a new level of respect for them - and for every one within an organization - after reading this book.
And if you are still thinking that this book is only about the Nationals, consider this post-season quote from Zimmerman when he contemplates the future:
"After this year, the landscape can change. If a couple of guys are gone, the goal would be the same again, but the situation would be different. It's almost a lot more emotional for the fans than for us. If it was up to me, I'd keep everyone and pay everyone and have the same team for ten years, but we understand that that's just not how it works. You can't keep everyone."
As a Pirates fan this season when the long term futures of fixtures like Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez have been topics of discussion, that quote hits home.
Really good book.
on day to day, hour by hour, mile by mile, in order to make
a baseball team run.
The Grind, takes the reader behind the closed locker room
doors, to see the part of the game the TV cameras don't cover.
You are also taken on a ride along with a team scout, as he
crosses the country, looking for future players in both the minor
leagues and in college.
It indeed is an endless job.
You are there on the field and in the locker room, when the team is
eliminated from the playoffs.
And for a few players, ending their time with the team.
But, for the team's General Manager, the endless season,
is just that, endless.
Good job, Barry Svrluga.
Not great writing but covers the basic type questions one might wish to have answered relative to the subject matter.
Most recent customer reviews
My daughter is reading it now!