Sunday, October 25, 2015

Three Days in August--Review

I've had this book on my bookshelf for quite some time.  I was looking for something appropriate to read for these days so I pulled it out and dusted it off.

Three Days in August is about baseball, specifically three days in the life of Cardinals former manager Tony La Russa. La Russa has been an effective manager wherever he has been employed. Buzz Bissinger the author of Three Days in August and also the author of Friday Night Lights, had taken a liking to La Russa so he thought to write about the manager's approach to the game and the game itself.

While the book is primarily about a three game series with the Cubs in August 2003, there are digressions to events in the past that relate to players and coaches in the 2003 series. For the most part, though, this is an inning by inning analysis of what takes place--from the manager's perspective--during a ballgame.

I love baseball. It was the first game my dad explained to me and I can remember taking a book out of the library written for kids about the nuances of the game. I was only about 8 but I came as close to studying the book as I studied anything as an 8 year old. I had pictures of the New York baseball Giants scotch taped to the wall in my bedroom.  I follow the Red Sox ardently and was a crazy lunatic New York Mets baseball fan when I was still living in New York.

With all that, I found this book too dense and detailed. Yes, it was interesting to know what La Russo was thinking when he was deciding about a hit and run, or how pitchers are looking for very specific portions of the plate for specific pitches, but, even for a fan, it seemed too much.

Bissinger writes very very well. Friday Night Lights, the book, is probably the best sports book I have ever read and I have read many sports books.  It is just a terrific depiction of Texas high school football. Just a great read. His writing abilities make this book as good as it is. His love for the game and respect for those who understand its intricacies comes out of nearly every page.

Still despite the excellent writing, you will have to love baseball a lot to love this book. I think that if you spent your life as a coach you, too, might love the book.  And, if you just want to get a better sense out of Tony La Russa you will find the book valuable. I have a much better sense of the type of man he is after reading the book. In that way, a goal of Three Days in August has been met.

No comments:

Post a Comment