Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

ISBN: 0618710531
ISBN 13: 9780618710539
By: H.G. Bissinger

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About this book

Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. In his twenty-seven years of managing, La Russa has been named Manager of the Year a record-making five times and now stands as the third-winningest baseball manager of all time. A great leader, he's built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play.Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league manager and his team, Buzz Bissinger brings a revelatory intimacy to baseball and offers some surprising observations. Bissinger also furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative new afterword.

Reader's Thoughts


I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, which means that I can't really be objective here, but that clearly didn't stop Bissinger, so why should I let it stop me? He's obviously in the bag for LaRussa, which ... well, it is LaRussa's book, so I can't really fault him too much. And yet. It's almost as though Bissinger is throwing his bias in the reader's face, daring us to call him on it. The players he doesn't like, be they Cubs, or just lazy slacker spoiled athletes, are drawn with all the subtlety of Snidely Whiplash. LaRussa's managerial choices are all brilliant, regardless of whether or not they work. When a Cardinal player manages to get a hit off of a great pitch, it's a magnificent piece of hitting, but with the roles reversed fifty pages later, it's just a cruel twist of fate. Frankly, the problem here isn't that Bissinger is an unabashed Tony LaRussa fan; the man is a great and interesting manager, well deserving of Bissinger's praise. The problem is that Bissinger, granted the great opportunity of unfettered access to a major league ball club, showed up with his story all but written. His conclusions precede his evidence. Steroids bad; big contracts bad; LaRussa good; old-school humble ball players good. Honestly, if you're trying to write the story of the Cardinals' 2003 series, why focus on a relatively meaningless series against the Cubs in August, when the two teams would play a far more pivotal five-game series in September? If you want to write about LaRussa's genius, why focus on one series -- a limitation that Bissinger fights against throughout the book?The truth is that I don't much care about Bissinger's anti-Cubs bias (well, maybe a little). Mostly, I'm tired of the sanctimony surrounding baseball. There's a certain amount of charm to baseball writers' love of nostalgia, but after a while it turns into a creepy S&M thing; nostalgia, after all, is a form of pain. The fact that some players use performance-enhancing drugs, while others are overpaid and under-performing, doesn't really bother me. Baseball had never been the idealized version of itself that everyone remembers from their childhood. Sure, when we were kids, the ballparks were cathedrals, the players were giants, and the game was holy writ, but I also believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I cherish my memories of the baseball of my youth, but I also recognize that they lack the insight granted by age and experience. Bissinger and LaRussa don't seem to have the same recognition, instead misremembering the history of baseball to suit their own needs and desires. Also, why is "hit-and-run" always italicized?All of that aside, I did like (but not love) the book. Baseball always manages to have a real sense of drama, and Bissinger captures that. None of his insight is really revolutionary, but it is put forth clearly and eloquently. His section about the death of Darryl Kile, especially, captured the emotion and the shock of his death. I'm not sure that I really feel as though I were getting an unobstructed view into the mind of a baseball man, but this comes relatively close, albeit in a sanitized fashion.

Reid Mccormick

“Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.”Tony La Russa is one of the most successful managers in baseball history. Every game is a lengthy epic with countless stories and numerous subplots. La Russa is meticulous, always scheming for an edge. He and his army of coaches keep detailed notes on every player and every pitcher in the league including their own. Though the season may seem long and tedious, each game counts. A whole season can change in one game. La Russa knows this and he works tirelessly to win each day. Bissinger’s 3 Nights in August is exhaustive look into the mind of Tony La Russa. Though the game has changed significantly over the years with home runs, deep bullpens, sabermetrics, and so on; nothing can replace experience. La Russa managed with an unmatched intensity though he remained stoic and poker-faced. With his retirement at the end of the 2011 season after the Cardinals magical comeback against the Texas Rangers, baseball lost one of its most respected managers. Anyone who loves baseball, who loves the nuances of the game, the joys and the heartbreaks, will love this book.


If you are (as I am) a Cubs fan, this book won't be much fun to read. And yet, although I'm sure part of my dissatisfaction with this book stems from the fact that it's an unabashed shrine to Tony La Russa and all things Cardinal, I think we what really bugged me about it was how blatantly biased it is. Certainly, La Russa is a great manager. Any Cubs fan will agree. The problem here, though, is that the author is so genuinely in the tank for La Russa that every move described in the book frames La Russa as a genius and everyone else (except for his pitching coach, Dave Duncan) as incompetent. Even when a play goes awry, the story is that La Russa told the player the "right" thing to do and the player was too pig-headed to listen or just failed to execute. If he had just done what Oracle La Russa had said, the Cardinals would have won the game and every game that season. Maybe there was a truth-in-advertising problem here that I didn't pick up on until about 2 pages before the end of the book. I thought this book was going to be a unique look at the game of baseball through the eyes of a manager, using La Russa as a case study of a mindset in which all managers more or less engage. But in fact, I realized that this was actually a biography of La Russa. And because the author was commissioned *by* La Russa to write it, it's not surprising that all you end up with is filter-less praise for the guy. The book worked best when the author was giving profiles of individual players, such as J.D. Drew. Less compelling was the endless play by play and the odd, corny similes sprinkled throughout. The most frustrating thing was to see La Russa get a pass for his involvement and at least tacit support for the steroids era. He had McGwire on his team and eventually made him his batting coach, but all this warrants in the book is a couple paragraphs implying that unlike Canseco, McGwire was clean. No mention is made of his cowardly testimony in front of Congress. Maybe if you're a Cardinals fan you love this book, but for me it was a mildly insightful wasted opportunity.

Jason Phillips

You should buy this book for what it is, and not for what many of these reviews say it is. It is not anti-Moneyball, it is an insiders look at a baseball game in the context of the baseball world and the career of one man, Tony LaRussa. Sabermaniacs have brought a deeper understanding of baseball to the layperson, and have challenged conventional thinking about our great game. This book does not set out to refute ther tenets of sabermetrics, in fact, Moneyball is mentioned only three times in 279 (paperback) pages. Any anti-sabermetric review is probably motivated by an almost zealous subscription to the central teachings of Moneyball.Take the book for what it is: an intelligent, thought-provoking, entertaining, insiders look at the baseball world broken down into three games. There is a great deal of context given here for what is happening on the field and in the mind of the manager. As Mr. LaRussa points out in his Foreward, the book is not about three games, and that most of what you will read "should really be about baseball in general."As far as recent books, the excellent Moneyball's contribution to the avid baseball fan is thinking differently about the assumptions you make about the game, and that different business models can be adopted that offer advantages that can be observed as teams take the field. The contribution of this book is an insiders look at how the game is tactically executed and how the eyes, ears, and experiences of a quarter century affect the minute decisions that affect the whole.Entertainingly written, any baseball fan will enjoy this book.


Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.

Rob Kirbach

** spoiler alert ** I skimmed this book several years ago, but just finished actually reading it. The caveat: I'm a life-long Cardinals fan and admirer of Tony LaRussa. However, I love the game of baseball more than any one team or manager.I was pleasantly surprised that this book was not just about LaRussa, although he certainly is the highlight of the text. The focus really is on the intricacies and subtleties that compose a unique and largely unknown (especially to the naivete of ordinary/casual baseball fans) etiquette that is the game of baseball. Someone looking for unconditional praise of the Cardinals won't find that here. One won't find this to be merely a biography of Tony LaRussa. This is also not a book generically about the game of baseball. It is what it is: The story of the game told through the perspective of one particular manager while he happened to be managing one particular team. However, the author's use of flashbacks was a remarkable integration of general baseball knowledge and history and emotion sprinkled in throughout the setting of this book.


Bissinger's book, "3 Nights in August," about the Cubs-Cardinals series in 2003 give some clues to his mindset after being hit in the head, using Sammy Sosa as an example:Quote: ________________________________________"When the Cards faced him in May, it was pretty clear to Duncan and Mason, watching the DVD on him, that he was going through something. He was flinching on curve balls as if he were afraid he might get hit, and he began to develop a sizable hole in his swing on pitches down and away.To (Tony) La Russa, the explanation was embedded in human nature. In May, Sosa had gotten beaned by a pitch, his batting helmet splintering like a dropped glass of water. It was clear that he had gotten tentative after that, with good reason. Few things in sports are more terrifying than a pitch hurtling at a hitter's head with no time for reflexes, the incident only reinforcing to La Russa the urgency of the commissioner's office to stop ignoring the problem and do something about it, such as an automatic three-week suspension for the pitcher involved.Sosa had become intimidated, as every hitter in the history of the game has become intimidated, after such a frightening moment."________________________________________Pitchers start throwing Sosa pitches away -- and Sosa didn't start to hit again in 2003 until he went back to a stance crowding the plate -- and that took from May until July.


Tony LaRussa is one of the greatest managers in the history of Major League Baseball. This book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a baseball genius. "Buzz" Bissinger, the author of the football classic turned box office hit "Friday Night Lights", follows TLR and my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, around during a series against the much-maligned Chicago Cubs towards the end of the Cardinals extremely disappointing 2003 season.I admit that I am totally biased in giving this book five stars. Saying I am a fan of the Cardinals is quite an understatement (as I type this, I am staring at an Albert Pujols bobblehead on my desk, and sitting next to a Cardinals' trash can I've had since my eighth birthday). However, I believe anyone who loves the game of baseball will enjoy the view of the game presented by an exceptional author, Mr. Bissinger, and, possibly baseball's biggest fan, Mr. LaRussa.


This was a true behind the scenes book, Bissinger had great access to Tony LaRussa and did an excellent job of telling the story of the 3 game series against the Cubs by interweaving a back story for the key situations that happened in the actual game. It was neat to hear the story of a reliever coming in from the bullpen in a close game when you knew the context in which he was coming in (his previous struggles in his career, the season, at home and against particular opponents). The most interesting part to me was the narrative that Bissinger creates in his forward and afterword about his book being in opposition to Michael Lewis' Moneyball. He claims that others have said this but he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time in those two sections explaining his position that stats are given over importance (he is more eloquent than that but that is his position simplified). It is interesting to me because I love the advanced analytics in baseball but first fell in love with baseball because of the beauty and rhythm of the game. I don't see any obvious contradictions in the approaches; the only issues are when one side tries to completely dismiss the other side. In reading the book, I didn't get the feeling that LaRussa and even Bissinger was making some grand stand against advanced analytics. I enjoyed it because LaRussa clearly loved the human, strategic and statistical details of the game. He did wax on about the subtle's of dealing with human beings which as a trained sports sociologist was fascinating but he still measured the outcomes of performance because he had to. Ironically, similar to how Michael Lewis really was taken by Billy Beane in moneyball, Bissinger was equally fascinated by Tony LaRussa. I think when you understand someones deep motivations for doing what they do, you can't help but feel connected to that person and want to defend them. Maybe Bussinger and Lewis should talk, they might have more in common than they think.So all that to say, a well written book (though it started a bit slowly as Bissinger set the stage) with great detail of how baseball works with a unnecessary afterward on this contrast with Moneyball. Maybe that was just used to try to sell the book? If you want to know how baseball works, read this book.

Robert Ballinger

The author’s purpose of writing this book was to show how hard it is to coach and be a family person at the same time. This author wants to show how Tony La Russa saw the game through his eyes during their 3 game series against the Chicago Cubs. The author also wants to portray the strategy, heartbreak, and the joy inside the mind of a manager and show what kind of hard decisions he has to make to win baseball games. What was the theme of 3 Nights In August? The theme of this book was to show young men and women of all ages what managers like Tony La Russa and other managers have to go through. All of the Major League Managers have to make decisions like Tony.What is the style and effectiveness of the book 3 Nights In August? The theme was a narration because the author is telling of a story through a series of events that describes what happened, and is in chronological order. This is also a description because it explains particular time, place, and/or event. This book was basically talking about watching the game (baseball) through the eyes of a legendary manager named Tony La Russa. I thought this was an excellent book decently if you like baseball. I liked how they explained things, pretending I was in Tony La Russa’s shoes. I also liked when the author flashed back lots of memories or things that happened in the past. In the second section of the book I think it was devoted to game two of the Cardinals and Cubs series. In the second section of the book, author Bissinger focused more on the game than he did on Tony La Russa I don’t think I would change anything about this book because I thought he explained things excellent. If you would like to know what managers have to go through while being a manager of a major league baseball team. This book is similar to the book Three Nights in August Field of Doubts by Bissinger.


Jeffrey Huser 7th Hour December 16th, 2013 Do you ever wonder what it takes to be the best at what you do? Tony LaRussa knows exactly what it takes! Hard work and dedication through thick and thin times. Even when he is feeling ill, he gets the job done. From early mornings and late nights, he never gives up on not only his team but himself. Not only do you need determination, but you need heart and that is exactly what Tony possesses. My book, “Three Nights In August”, written by Buzz Bissinger was a book all about the 2003 postseason against the Chicago Cubs. Tony talks about how much preparation goes into each game, from taking notes on opposing pitchers to making mental notes about your own teams flaws. The Cardinals open up game one of a three game series with a loss of 4 to 7 to the Cubs. This is not a good way to start considering if you lose another game your teams season is over. All the hard work you put into it just goes down the drain on just one game. The Cardinals jump to a good lead in game two with a homerun by Albert Pujols to the Birds up by 3. The Cubs tack on to runs with a two-run homerun by Sammy Sosa. The Cardinals end up taking game 2 by a score of four to two. Its all down to the last game. The deciding fate of both teams depend on their starting pitchers to give the team a good game. Too see if the Cardinals go farther into the Postseason read, “Three Nights In August.” I really did enjoy reading this book because I am a baseball player and fan. Its crazy too see how much preparation goes into each and every game. It really shows how dedicated these managers are too there job. It was a slow paced book, but it would grab your attention on important parts of the game. I would recommend this book to any baseball player, because you can really respect the determination and dedication that these players and managers put into the game that they love. If you're not somewhat of a baseball fan then this book might not be right for you, just because there is alot of baseball talk and analogies. I personally did love this book though.

Zach Herman

Buzz Bissinger is a tremendously unlikable author, and Tony La Russa is an equally unlikable baseball manager. But somehow, Bissinger's book about La Russa is likable -- or, at least, entertaining enough to fill the afternoons of a chilly offseason.The buzz upon its release pegged "Three Nights" as a fawning tribute to La Russa's tactical and philosophical genius, but this is not a hagiography. Bissinger clearly admires La Russa and agrees with most of his old-school baseball principles, but he also devotes space to La Russa's troubled family life. The manager's borderline-obsessive behavior during the season is not glorified, but reported dispassionately.The book aims to deconstruct a crucial three-game series between the Cubs and Cardinals in 2003, but Bissinger seems caught in the middle a little bit. He offers some good insight into the unorthodox strategy and in-game maneuvering that made La Russa famous, but he also works hard to explain the game to readers who may be unfamiliar with it. As such, "Three Nights" may be more compelling for the novice than for the studied fan, despite its clear ambition to be an in-depth look at the game.Unfortunately, the narrative grinds to a halt whenever Bissinger chooses to interject the sanctimonious twaddle for which his writing is best known. He is an able reporter, but reading his analysis of what ails the game (You guessed it: greed!) is like listening to a child discuss "Othello." Bissinger doesn't waste a lot of space railing against high salaries and selfish players, but it is noticeable when he does. He's simply out of his depth.


I'm from St. Louis so I had heard about this book a while ago and just assumed it was sort of a standard puff piece for the Cardinals. Then recently a friend told me, "No really, it's more than that and you should read it." So I did and I was quite impressed with the entire scope of the book, which pretty much examines the minutiae of baseball through the lens of a single three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August of 2003. You don't necessarily have to be a Cardinal fan to enjoy this book. Cubs fans should also apply, as well as anyone who appreciates some of the finer strategy in baseball. I consider myself well-versed for a casual baseball fan, perhaps somewhere on the border between a casual and an obsessive fan. Thus it was quite a treat to gain insight into pretty much every facet of the game -- if Bissinger missed one I'm not aware of it -- from an individual at-bat to hit-and-run, from pitcher preparation to intentionally hitting a batsman, and all through the eyes of one of the most relentlessly intelligent managers in the history of the game.Bissinger weaves an impressive, labyrinth-like narrative that tells the story of the three-game series while frequently pausing to follow individual threads to their point of origin, then zooming back out to the overall narrative. These threads often consisted of the background of an individual player, or a specific type of player, and these were the parts where it was most rewarding to be a Cardinals fan, to learn some of the inside dirt on my favorite players from a decade ago. My main complaint with the book is Bissinger's writing style, which is almost always ostentatious and frequently pretentious. Admittedly this reaction could be colored by knowledge of his real-world personality; he's an unapologetic conservative in the bombastic style of Sean Hannity. But still, I think most objective readers can agree that some of his word choices, analogies and dated pop culture references are oftentimes distracting, which should never be the effect of good prose. Here are some examples so you can judge for yourself: Alou goes for it in his unbridled aggressiveness. He gets a swing on it, a pretty good swing -- a damn good one, actually. He fouls it straight back, meaning that he missed driving it by a matter of only inches. Stephenson throws another fastball, this one better located on the inside. Alou gets a swing on it, a pretty good swing -- a damn good one, actually. 61 Was it really necessary to repeat the same sentence? Dramatic effect is lost in the annoyance of reading it over again. He has the swagger that is the hubris of youth, taking his invincibility for granted when nobody ever should, receiving too much early attention and slathering in it. 75Now I could be wrong, but this just seems like the wrong word choice. You can't "slather in" something, you slather something onto something else. As far as I can tell he was looking for a word like "wallowing." But this indicates that Bissinger's grasp on the English language is not as strong as he's representing, which makes some of his other word/phrase choices all the more pretentious. The pitch is more difficult to handle than the first one, that lethal combination of high-heat velocity and location you see sometimes on the Autobahn. 122 Tortured metaphor. What kind of location do you see on the Autobahn? What does that even mean? Bissinger also employed a strange and somewhat arbitary use of italics:Wood comes with a curve that bites low, and Taguchi has no choice but to protect himself because of the count, and he fouls that off too, his fifth in six pitches. 173Then there were just a couple of plain 'ol WTF moments:In addition, the relief game, of which La Russa may well be the key cultural anthropologist, had yet to evolve. 177So this means that La Russa studies the relief game and compares it to other sorts of games? That he studies relievers and analyzes their society and value systems? The analogy makes no sense, especially when he appears to be looking for a word as simple as "inventor" or "inspiration." Another case of Bissinger trying to sound smarter than he really is. Then:(Lofton) is Kline's eternal nemesis, the psychotic ex-girlfriend who sends you creepy notes through the mail to remind you she's still around. 246First of all, the analogy of a psycho-ex does not really encapsulate what it means to be an "eternal nemesis," so he starts off with a badly mixed metaphor. Secondly, are there really enough of these types of ex-girlfriends to make this a good universal example? Thirdly, it's just not an apt comparison at all to the relationship of Kline and Lofton, the latter of whom continually takes advantage of the mistakes of the former. It's just bad writing. I grant that I'm probably being extra hard on him just because I disagree with his politics and find him to be kind of a d-bag anyway, so take my criticism for what its worth. On the other hand, a decent writer can spot these sorts of mistakes a mile away, and the compound effect is to really do a disservice to the content of the book, content which is pretty near impeccable. The only other thing I would have changed stylistically is to not try and needlessly manufacture drama -- whether in one particular at-bat, or one particular game or series -- when the narrative is already plenty compelling. So overall, regardless of my writing quibbles I would recommend this book to Cardinals fans, Cubs fans and/or borderline obsessive general baseball fans who are interested in acquiring a finer grasp on the minute strategy behind even the most mundane baseball decisions. It is an invaluable artifact for its in-depth discussion of pretty much every aspect of the game. And it's much better than the other TLR book, One Last Strike (see my review).Cross-posted at Not Bad Movie and Book Reviews.

Sam Perlin

Nights in August, by Buzz Bissinger, is a fantastic book based on a very tough series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. I’m a huge Cardinals fan, which is the main reason I loved this book, but one of the other reasons I loved this book is because it connects with me. I’m a pitcher, every pitcher wants to know how fast they’re currently throwing. Its just a common thing throughout all pitchers. Bissinger quoted, “La Russa once ordered the speed section of the scoreboard juiced up a few miles per hour because he could tell that his pitcher was paying as much attention to it as the fans were”(Bissinger 46). This quote really caught my attention because after I pitch I always try to see how fast i'm throwing also. Because of this, I really got caught into this book and really started to read this book in depth. Another thing that connected to me is a video coordinator that helps players work with their swing. In this book, there is also a video coordinator named, Blair. Bissinger stated, “Blair is the Cardinals video coordinator”(Bissinger 36). This quote shows us that Blair is a video coordinator. A video coordinator is someone who simply watches video of players and tries to improve what is wrong. This really caught my eyes because I once had a video coordinator who helped me change my swing. To sum it up, 3 Nights in August is a fantastic book because it connects with its readers.

William Johnson

This one is a weird one. It took me well over a month to finish this and I took about two long 'not even touching this' breaks during the process to read other things but not because of a lack of interest.The book isn't exactly long (not even 300 pages), nor is it tedious. Compared to John Feinstein's atrociously dull 'Living on the Black' (of which I read 310 pages and had to stop), Three Nights in August is very fun and quick paced.But those expecting a page-turning, focused masterpiece like Bissinger's own Friday Night Lights (one of the greatest books ever written in my opinion), you'll be sad to know that Bissinger has the right ideas in place but not the plans to put those ideas in motion.On the surface, 3 Nights seems like a delicious idea: break down, almost pitch for pitch, a three game series between deadly rivals Chicago and St. Louis. And Bissinger actually starts off by doing this. But you can see the gears start to jam up in Bissinger's brain as he continues to write: 'even if Game 1 goes to 15 innings, I'm going to run out of things to talk about'.So Bissinger decides to provide EPIC backstories for the 'characters' in the book by examining, almost down to their conception, their origins and current status up to the game day. This is fine, and often very enlightening, but also frustrating because, in the end, you have two books at work: a biography and a game analysis. One can't function without the other, in terms of Bissinger's style, but they also don't belong together.Before we figure out if a relief pitcher will go into a game (and he doesn't, by the way), we get 15 pages on how he got to the current game. These immense and in-depth vignettes are written well but totally derail the main crux of the story. It doesn't add to the drama of the story but, much like someone hijacking a remote control, causes the channel to be changed.Things get weirder as the book ends. After Game 3 of 3 ends, Bissinger concludes the book by making absolutely no observations of the season, game, and people he just examined for 240 pages and instead focuses on a completely different season (2004, and not 2003 when the three game series between the Cubs and Cardinals took place).And in his afterword, he does nothing but bash Moneyball supporters while, as if forgetting the entire point of his book, or, at least, its subject, thanks Tony La Russa! See, I just did it! This book is about Tony La Russa! I forgot to mention it because, well, I'm still deciding what this book is about! It is all over the place.This doesn't take away the great way it is written nor the enjoyment I received from it. But since it was such an episodic piece, I felt like I could take long breaks and leave it behind for a bit while I read something, if not better, then more coherently put together.In the end, we learn a lot about La Russa, the supposed focus of the book. But we learn it intermittently, as La Russa will disappear entirely for entire chapters. We learn a lot about players but not as a whole but in vignettes. I learned a lot about Albert Pujols but only on pages 43 and 44. . .and, with the exception of his at-bats during the Game sections, will never hear from him again.There is a rather devastating chapter dedicated to the tragically deceased Darryl Kile, a Cardinals pitcher who died of a heart-attack at the age of 33, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. The tragic nature of his death and its effect on the team has little to do with the main crux of the story, which is the three game series between the Cubs/Cardinals which takes place, by the way, in a different season then Kile's death.Am I saying there can't be drama, emotion, or backstory? No. It is necessary but not at the expense of the story promised to me. Kile's story, alone, is worth reading. . .but does it belong in a book about something else? Maybe is the best answer I can come up with. Even though Bissinger makes some connections to the players playing in, if memory serves, Game 3 of the three game series, it is fleeting and likely unnecessary. It doesn't make the players more important and the story doesn't become more relevant with it's telling. . .just more dense.But I'm still giving this three stars because I learned so much about baseball and about so many players and organizations. But these are almost encyclopedia entries, not facets to one coherent story. I wasn't given the book I was promised and it's schizophrenic nature made the proceedings more of a chore then a treat.

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