• Apr

    The Book Everyone Should Read

    Thanks to my India trip and the 21 hours of flying time along with the layover time, I actually was able to read a book. And what a book it was.


    If you read only one book this year on baseball it should be Charles Euchner's "The Last Nine Innings: Inside the Real Game Fans Never See."  In this book Euchner examines the last game of the 2001 World Series in which the Diamondbacks came back to beat the evil empire in the memorable 7th game of that series. Euchner did an amazing amount of research for the book that goes much deeper than an analysis of one game, rather it becomes a detailed analysis of baseball itself.


    I've never read a more balanced book on the intricacies of the game of baseball. He dissects the very movements or the players on the field and the pitchers on the mound. He gets into the emotional, psychological, physical, and mental preparations the players go through and by interviewing the very people involved in the game, he gives you an unparallel looked into what goes into the game.


    If you are pure stat head, you should read this book. He goes into great detail as to why the game is played and managed by human beings and not computers. And the fact he brought up Tom Tippett's detailed research that crushed the ridiculous notion by Voros McCracken that pitchers can't control what happens to a batted ball, but can only control whether it's hit or not, makes it even sweeter. Not to get too far off the book, but I still don't get how anyone who follows baseball on a regular basis believed that report. Anyone who watches pitchers like Mariano Rivera saw off batters continually can visually see that his very success is determined by the movement of his cutter and the batter's inability to get good wood on it, thus creating a lot of poorly hit balls. Trying to say that a pitcher has no effect over how hard a batter hits a ball was ridiculous and one of the very reasons that you don't take everything these guys write as gospel, even if they do a lot of great statistical evaluations.


    However, don't think this book doesn't show you how important proper statistical evaluations can be of help as well. If you are a "stats are overrated guy" you need to read this book as well. If you are a traditionalist that thinks you should sacrifice with a man on first and no outs, you might change your mind after reading the book as well.


    Probably most importantly, this is a book that every young player including every minor league player should read. The detailed interviews on how successful players prepare both during and before the season should become required reading for all Orioles farm hands.


    Most of all, it an enjoyable, fun read and I guarantee even the most knowledgeable baseball fan will learn something from this book. Once you read it, let me know what you think on the message boards.


    Got a comment? You can always start a thread here and talk about it.



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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.