I have learned sometimes reading books for this blog becomes more like a job and not a hobby. Trudging through books both good and bad is sometimes tedious, but my purpose with starting this was to help inform other readers. For myself as a reader it is nice to have a change of pace when I find a book that is not making me think. Today’s book is one of those books that has some serious value to the average fan but is still not to taxing on the brain.
The Baseball Maniac’s Almanac is a handy tool for fans. It contains statistics and facts that are of interest to the average fan. Along with team statistics it shows overall stats for certain categories and eras. It will help fans increase their knowledge of the game’s history, along with being an entertaining read. It is very comprehensive in its coverage of the game’s history and allows the reader to cover a broad period of time in a very small package.
Books like this are very interesting in an era where statistics rule the game of baseball. While this book is based on statistics, it is still the basic categories and formulas we all grew up with. Sabermetrics and the new way to analyze baseball has its place within the game, but so do the stats of yesteryear that are not in as much favor as they once were.
Baseball fans should check this out, if nothing else you will have a good time with the memories that these statistics can generate. It may also generate a few spirited debates between you and your friends, and that might be worth the price of the book right there.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing
In Baseball you always have to stay one step ahead of the competition. Both on the field and behind the scenes that same principle applies. You need to find the edge to beat your competitors because even if you keep the status quo, in reality you are falling behind. Sabermetrics and the Moneyball theory have turned baseball on its head and changed the way teams address their needs. So who really started that revolution and is it really a good thing after all?
Sandy Alderson is the current General Manager of the New York Mets and the man in charge of reviving that struggling franchise. While all has not been golden in the Mets re-birth, he has done a commendable job in restoring some dignity to the franchise. But is Sandy Alderson really the baseball genius everyone says he is, or is it just sometimes thinking outside the box that gets him some acclaim. That is what Baseball Maverick tries to figure out for the reader.
The book starts with Alderson’s upbringing and distinguished military career. It paints a nice picture of a man with courage and dedication. Two traits that come in very handy in the baseball world. You follow his professional career starting with the Oakland Athletics where he mentored current GM Billy Beane. It shows how Alderson got his reputation for thinking outside the box in regards to evaluating his team. Many of these ideas were born of necessity due to ownership and money constraints. It is during this stop in his career that Billy Beane gained most of the knowledge that he uses running the Oakland A’s.
The next stop for Alderson was San Diego where he again got the team back to respectability, but was unable to pull of a World Series triumph. After the Padres he put down roots with the New York Mets. Hi current home of Citi Field shows the reader in-depth how he has attempted to turn that franchise back into a winner. Attempting to overcome the Madoff scandal that has handcuffed the team financially has been an obstacle he has had to figure out how to overcome along with some bad player deals of the past. The 2015 season has brought them hopefully the start of lasting success, along with players they have developed finally reaching their expected potential.
After all this is Sandy Alderson the Baseball Maverick the book suggests he is? My thought is no. While he is a very talented General Manager, he is not the reason that Oakland has been able to compete on a shoe string budget. Billy Beane has been able to work with some of Alderson’s fundamental ideas and make them his own. That is what has made Oakland a success. Alderson may have planted the seed, but Beane made it grow. San Diego has been up and down so many times since the start of Alderson’s tenure there, that they should be a roller coaster not a baseball team. Finally the Mets were a train wreck when Alderson signed on, and it has to his own admission taken much longer for that team to make a substantial turn around than even he anticipated.
The book tries to make it seem that Alderson is responsible for the birth of Moneyball theories and I just don’t see that connection to just him. I see pieces of it in the way he has operated at certain stops, but it is a far cry from him being the one that designed it for the world to use. That being said, this is a very well written and entertaining book. It keeps the reader’s interest but it is very Mets heavy in subject matter.
Sandy Alderson is almost a mystery man in the baseball world. He has always worked behind the scenes and low-key, so this book gives you some insight on his personality. Again, I don’t agree with the Maverick term in the title, but he has made some substantial contributions to his teams and the game as a whole. Mets fans will love this book, and general baseball fans will like it. It gives us a glimpse of the man behind the curtain once and for all.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Atlantic Monthly Press
Opening Day 2015. The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived. The countdowns are over, the grass is manicured and rosters are set. Some dreams have been realized, while others have been shattered. Throughout all of the waiting and activity, one thing is crystal clear, baseball is back!!!!!
Each new season brings with it possibilities of greatness, with each day of the season giving new entries to the history books. As fans you never know what is going to happen, but you always will have the chance of witnessing something special. Being a fan is the easy part, but what about the people who have to assemble these teams. Like the game itself that process has to adapt to changes. Some methods are tried and true, while others are gaining credibility as time goes on. Many methods are out there, and each has their merits, so it is up to each individual to decide which works the best for their needs. Maybe for some, these books will help.
I have talked on here before of the merits of the new ways of judging baseball talent. These books are just two more versions of the new way of thinking within sports. Quite honestly this is probably not Bill James greatest book, but it does give some insight into how the game is analyzed. He rambles into subjects other than sports. For hardcore baseball fans that might be a turn off, but if you are a Bill James fan you may be willing to overlook that.
Basic Ball takes its own unique approach to three major sports, baseball football and basketball. It offers new techniques for analyzing players and gives new formulas for evaluating talent. For fans of all three sports it gives a new look on the old games. It is sometimes refreshing to get a new look at the same thing you have been looking at for years. In this instance you can teach an old dog new tricks.
With the new baseball season upon us, fans can take a new approach to watching their old game, and these books will surely help.
You can get these books from the nice folks at Acta Sports and St Johann Press
I have always thought a hobby was supposed to be fun. It was supposed to be something to pass your time and make you forget the everyday grind. Not something that necessarily made you think, but perhaps something mindless. With all that in mind statistical analysis was never something I thought would fit into the category of a hobby, until now……..
The Book-Playing the Percentages in Baseball
By:Tom Tango, Mitchell Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin -2007
Books like this I have never really given a chance. I always thought they were strictly the authors interpretation on any given situation, backed by their own derived numbers. Being that the main purpose of this blog was to explore new avenues of reading and share my thoughts with you, I figured I would give this one a shot.
What I found was a book of incredible analysis. The authors analyze every conceivable scenario within the game and give you every possible outcome. It uses numbers and graphs to show what the best and most probable outcome may be in any given situation. If you are not a numbers person some of this book may be over your head, but with a little understanding of their methods you can gain a lot of knowledge.
Honestly on a book like this, I found some of the explanations dry. I do not think it had anything to do with the authors writing style. I feel it all has to do with the nature of what you are reading about. Honestly there are only so many ways to make statistical analysis interesting, even to the most hard-core fan.
In the new era of Sabermetrics a book like this is important. It gives the casual reader a chance to see how numbers are effecting the thought processes on the field. It also gives fans who sit on their couches an opportunity to second guess the strategies playing out in front of them on the TV. The Book also has some sort of validity to the lower leagues and teachers of the next generation of ball players. Those coaches can generate a stronger knowledge of the game and the moves they can make to better prepare their players for the future.
I struggled with this book a bit, mostly because of my personal dislike of statistical analysis. As stated above this book is a quality tool that could help people both in the game, and watching it from home. So I would recommend it for anyone who has an interest in this topic.
You can get this book from the friendly folks at Potomac Books