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on March 29, 2012
As someone who fondly remembers the 1986 Mets team, this was fun to read. I had heard stories about that 1980's New York Mets team but nothing to the extent of what was covered in the book. Though I loved it, I would only recommend it to other Met fans looking to relive the glory years of the 1980's. It would probably drive other team's fans nuts reading about how this team managed to win 108 games while being inebriated most of the time.
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on March 13, 2017
Loved this book. All the dirt. All of the characters simply yet explicitly defined. Read it in three days. Takes you right back to '86 as I remember my Amazin' Mets were swagger AND talent. I love that Mets team. Thanks!
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on March 24, 2013
Baseball fans will enjoy the behind the scenes content. Funny and sad at the same time. Easy read Tough to put down.
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on April 14, 2009
The 1986 Mets will go down in history as the team that had it all, won it all, and just as quickly lost it all. Jeff Pearlman's book, while containing material that had been previously discussed, hashed and rehashed, really shines when it gets into the dynamics and characters behind the 1986 team. Whether it's talking about the infamous "Scum Bunch", or Bobby Ojeda's seething hatred toward the Red Sox, or the entire league's hatred of Gary Carter, Pearlman's book opens some doors and shines some light on stories that were not previously discussed (for obvious reasons).

The book is basically a chronological history of the Mets' rise to prominence in the early to mid-80's, beginning with Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday's purchase of the club, to the hiring of Frank Cashen as the club's General Manager, to the jettisoning of of malcontents and has-beens and acquisitions of Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, all the way through the 1986 season and the dismantling of the championship team. And while it could have been another treatise on "how NOT to run a ballclub", Pearlman for the most part avoids that and delves into the interpersonal relationships between the players and the dominating baseball team that it created.

It is THIS aspect of the book that drives the narrative, and turns it from merely a decent book to a good one. Everyone knows who the players on that 1986 team were. But not everyone knows who they WERE. And that is, a collection of ragtag men who gelled at the right time and at the right place. Which is not to say that it was perfect. For every nice guy on the team, like an Ed Hearn or Tim Teufel, you had a guy like Darryl Strawberry, who is described by one teammate as the nicest guy on the ballfield, but when liquored up, perhaps the most miserable SOB on the planet. In one anecdote, Pearlman describes a scene between Strawberry and pitcher Bruce Berenyi that is sure to make some cringe at the ruthlessness and disrespect with which Strawbery treats a teammate and fellow human being. You had guys like Kevin Mitchell, who came from a rough gang-infested neighborhood, and who had no problem bringing that rough attitude on the field and nearly killing a player during one of the team's (many) bench-clearing brawls. You had guys like Bob Ojeda, whose brashness and outspokenness put him on bad terms with ownership and his fellow teammates in Boston in 1985, who gets traded to the Mets in the offseason and literally foams at the mouth at the prospect of facing the Red Sox in the World Series. And who could ever forget Gary Carter? To the casual observer "The Kid" was the driving force behind the 1986 Mets, but to his teammates he was as phony as a $3 bill, a shameless self-promoter who didn't see a camera he didn't like and a guy who was the main reason behind at least one of the bench-clearing brawls.

These character studies are what REALLY get to the heart of the team, and reveal why, however unstoppable they were in 1986, by 1987 they were already a team on the decline and, despite their return to the playoffs in 1988, the Mets were a franchise on the verge of collapse heading into the 1990's. Whether it was the ill-advised trade of Kevin Mitchell (shipped out because management feared that he would be a bad influence on Dwight Gooden and Strawberry, despite the fact that those two were already heavily into drugs and alcohol) or the constant tinkering with Gooden's mechanics and pitch selection in order to make him a "better" pitcher (despite his coming off a 1985 in which he dominated NL hitters en route to the Cy Young Award), you get a firsthand view of just how the 1986 Mets were destined to be a team for the ages and then fizzle out just as quickly.

Some fans may be shocked when they hear some of the stories and realize just how flawed those Mets were (and how some STILL are), but for anyone who lived through the summer and fall of 1986, this book is required reading.
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on November 23, 2015
I wish I hadn’t read this book.
To read the front cover, one could easily get the impression that this book would be well balanced, covering both the less desirable aspects of the 86 Mets and the tactics, teamwork, and relationships that contributed to their success. But that impression would be erroneous. The Title says it all. “The Bad Guys Won!” Mr. Pearlman realizes that we all know that they won the 86 Series, all he needs to do is to prove that the Mets team was made up of “Bad Guys.” And he does so with a vengeance. He delineates every illegal, mean spirited, or underhanded example of the players’ inhumanity to themselves, to each other, and to their rivals – repeatedly and in great detail.
Oh, he does occasionally give a sentence or two of lip service to some good deed, but for the most part all we read are negatives.
If one is a Mets fan (and even though my life long allegiance is to the Pirates, I count myself as one) this book may make you change you mind. To read it is to learn that none of your childhood heroes has any redeeming qualities at all. If Mr. Pearlman set out to disillusion me about Baseball in general and The Mets in particular… he succeeded. – At first. Then I remembered all the good stuff and divorced my mind from his negativity. (Whew!)
I recommend that you read (or give) some more positive books instead. For example: For 86 Mets Fans: “If at First” or “The Complete Game.” For those who love the game: “Twin Killing” has some great stuff about old time players. And probably my favorite Baseball Book is “Driving Mr. Yogi.” After reading any of these you will still be a Fan, not only of Baseball, but also of Baseball Players. Would that Mr. Pearlman had set out with the same goal.
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on August 2, 2014
Great read for any sports fan and a MUST read for all Met's fans. Had the flavor of Ball Four and The Bronx Zoo and captured the internal culture of the 86 Mets and each individual on the team. I appreciated how Pearlman weaved in external backstories as they impacted that "Magical" year.
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on October 8, 2012
The key concept here is 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' Of course, if the author had followed this simple rule, there would have been no book. And no advance. And please spare me any mumbo-jumbo about the journalistic mandate to expose the truth. The last thing this book feels like, oddly enough, is journalism.

I was an adult Mets fan when they rolled through the 80s, so I had a pretty good idea of the personal failings of the major characters. The reason I bought the book was that, after a pretty disheartening Mets season, it might be fun to relive 1986. But when I was done with this book, my first instinct was to take a shower. I'm not suggesting the author took liberties; I'm just asking what was the point of one nasty--borderline vicious--anecdote after another? What was the point, other than making some money, of dragging this already well-documented group of idiots, miscreants and drug addicts through the mud? In looking at Pearlman's other titles, this appears to be his MO.

The 86 Mets, to my mind, were a joyous event. Their legendary disfunctions made their triumph all the more joyous. But there is no joy in this book. My advice is only buy this if you're a Phillies fan.

And one last thing, now that I'm warming up: It annoys me that the author doesn't understand the difference between the word 'fury' and the word 'furor.' Not once, but twice.

Two positives: I learned a lot about Bill Buckner that I didn't know. And Frank Cashen's ruminations about what the team could have been if Strawberry and Gooden hadn't gone off the deep end were both interesting and a little bit heart-wrenching.

But in the end, it's hard to imagine a book so full of nastiness being, in the end, so empty.
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on July 24, 2011
Wow. What a great read.

Being from Australia, the 1986 World Series was my 6th year of watching baseball. (At the time these were the only 5 - 7 games televised to Australia each year).

I was hoping Boston would win due to the number of years since they had won a World Series. I still remember watching the 6th game at about 2am when that ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs. Terrible!!

This book gave a good insight into the Mets & their opponents that year.

I have to give special mention to the chapter on Bill Buckner; before the ball went between his legs. He will always be remembered for this one play. Jeff Pearlman did a wonderful thing writing that chapter to give us a whole picture of this player. It was one of the highlights of the book. Great writing.
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on September 20, 2014
Hey, I'm a Mets fan. I eat this stuff up. This is the one season that worked, out of what probably should have been a dynasty. This book explains why they were so great, and why they weren't greater. Ultimately, with this team, you really wouldn't have it any other way. Almost Shakespearean in the sense that the same qualities that made them great brought them down. (That is probably a misuse of the word Shakespearean, but you know what I mean…it has a timeless theme of reaping the fruits of hubris.)
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on August 11, 2014
Growing up in Flushing NY, you have to be a Met fan. I was a teenager when the Mets won in '86 and I had no idea about the behind the scenes antics of the various players. This book goes a long way towards explaining why that team didn't go on to greater success. It explains the tension between management and players and between the factions of players themselves.

I don't know if you would enjoy this as much if you weren't a Met fan but I blew through this in a weekend of really enjoyable reading. I highly recommend this book.
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