Managers are an interesting breed. Their job security is virtually non-existent from the day they are hired, and they are second guessed on a regular basis. No matter what moves they make on the field, someone in the stands, on the team or in the front office will disagree with them. Like with most things in life, the cream of the crop usually rises to the top and Buck Showalter is no exception. Everywhere he has managed he has had some sort of measured success, but has never been able to make it all the way to the World Series. His most recent stop with the Baltimore Orioles to date has been without a doubt successful and will more than likely get him his ring. Today’s book takes a look at the methods, both on and off the field, that have brought the Orioles out of the basement of the A.L. East.
Skipper Supreme takes the reader through a journey that Orioles fans are ecstatic that they have been able to be a part of. It shows how Buck Showalter’s people skills and feel for the game have rebuilt a franchise that was bottom feeding for a long time. Much like fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the people in Baltimore were desperate for some light at the end of Camden Yards and with Buck at the helm the finally got one.
This book shows reader step by step how methodically Baltimore has re-built themselves into a serious contender. How through strong historical values, smart personnel moves and a little luck, this group of players have breathed life back into the city of Baltimore. The Orioles are the poster children for a good mix between old school baseball thinking and new school metrics.
If you are a fan of the Orioles, this book is right up your alley. 99% of the book is about the O’s march back to respectability. If you are looking for a full-on autobiography on Buck Showalter you will be disappointed. They don’t in any detail touch on his time with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks or Texas Rangers. They are mentioned in passing but nothing of great substance. This book is all Baltimore …..all the time.
Considering the authors are both Baltimore writers I get the reasoning as to why the book is this way. It is their hometown civic pride shining through. The Orioles finally have a team worth talking about and they don’t want them getting lost in the story lines of the larger market teams. Buck Showalter should be highly commended for his turnaround of that franchise and the authors do a very nice job of giving him and his players the credit they deserve. Orioles fans will enjoy their time spent reading this book, without question. Now next, I would like to see someone write a true Buck Showalter biography and give us some more details about the Skipper Supreme.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing
Its that time of year where baseball’s winter meetings are upon us. The one week a year where the business side of baseball comes to the forefront. Players are traded, free agents get signed and the Rule 5 draft occurs. For some fans it is an early Christmas present when your team signs that key free agent, while for others it might be the time you say goodbye to one of your favorite players. For the people that work these meetings it is just another day of business as usual. Fans sometimes get so engrossed in their team they may forget at the end of the day that baseball is still a business. For the people who are involved it is their job. A job many of us envy, but still a job nonetheless. Now there is a book that walks us through the business side of baseball and shows how the more things change, they somehow stay the same.
In Pursuit of Pennants takes an in depth look at the business of baseball, almost a history of the business side of you will. It looks at franchises over the last 100 years, showing the reader the dealings and hard business decisions that had to be made to produce winners. The book looks at how the teams were assembled and what worked and did not work. What key moves were made to help teams lay the groundwork for success, what moves should have been made to sustain the success or which moves proved to be just plain foolish.
The book also shows how teams heavily rely on their off-field personnel to help them build winners. The chain of command goes well beyond just the General Managers. All aspects of the front office play a part in the success of the team. It shows how everyone must believe in the team philosophy to be able to have it work at any level. It also shows that the same principles employed in the Moneyball theory have always been around. It may not have been the same ways to measure productivity or forecast any outcomes, but there were still theories that they adhered to that evolved as the game changed. The bottom line for all teams is to produce a winner.
Like other Armour and Levitt books, this book may not be for everyone. It is part history book, part reference book and part narrative. If you are looking for a nice easy flowing story that rolls through the book, this is not it. If you are looking for detailed information on the business side of baseball and a very thorough history lesson then this is your book. The authors have done a great job of explaining a not so glorious subject to the readers. The topic to some may be the equivalent of watching paint dry, but for those who stick with the book, you will be greatly rewarded in the end. You will walk away with a better understanding of how teams function off the field and understand the mindset needed to build a winner.
Baseball fans across the board that dedicate the time to reading this book will enjoy it. It honestly does start of a little slow but does pick up the pace enough to keep your interest through the rest of the book, so overall you wont be disappointed.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press
Each of us has our favorite team. It could be the team you have followed since you were a little kid or one whose allegiance you have recently pledged. Regardless of who your team is, there seems to be books out there dedicated to every one of them. Sports Publishing has put out a series dedicated to each individual team that gets the fans all the interesting inside stories from the people who lived them.
The Tales From the Dugout series is the fans link to their favorite teams. It gives you inside stories from some of the most interesting people who lurk behind the scenes in your favorite stadium. Each of the books is not written by the same person, as others have been. In this series, some are written by the teams announcer, other former players and some by the front office folks. So each book gives you a different perspective of the team.
The two I looked at were the Kansas City Royals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Two teams that I will honestly say are not high on my list of knowledge. These books gave me a little background on the stories and tales that have transpired throughout the teams history. They are fun stories, but they also give you a little history lesson on the team.
Fans should check these out because you can learn about some new teams that have been around a long time. Or you can re-live your own teams stories that you have probably heard hundreds of times before. Honestly though, if it’s your hometown team you will enjoy reading those stories over and over again.
You can get these books from the nice folks at Sports Publishing