Friday, October 9, 2009

Back to it again … The Last Nine Innings

I had the best intentions of keeping up on my blogging by catching up on the books I’ve read lately and not reflected and blogged upon. It’s now been almost a week since I’ve thought about it. But here goes…

I brought The Last Nine Innings by Charles Euchner on our trip to Kenya this summer in the event that I needed a break from all the studying I was doing on the trip. I started it on that trip, but didn’t really get into it. I think I finished it during vacation in Washington in August. It was a book that I was excited to read quite a while. I think I saw it recommended on the USS Mariner Reading List when it was a thread that several people were contributing to.

Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed reading a baseball book or two each year. I’ve enjoyed Out of Left Field, Weaver on Strategy, Cheater’s Guide to Baseball, and Moneyball (my favorite). I don’t know if I’ve reached baseball fatigue, the writing wasn’t that great, or what, but I wasn’t thrilled with this book. I didn’t devour it.

The organization of the book is interesting. Euchner uses Game 7 of the Yankees – Diamondbacks 2001 World Series as an opportunity to speak about different aspects of the game. For instance, he talks about starting pitching in the first inning – unpacking pitching in general with Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens as his examples. Then he talks about fielding in the bottom of the inning, highlighting Derek Jeter and Steve Finley … and so he goes through the nine innings with relief pitching, hitting, managing, etc…

I don’t know why I didn’t love it. It had everything. Randy Johnson winning. Yankees losing. Fascinating discussions on the science of hitting and pitching (the most violent action in all of sports!). An explanation of international scouting. Debates on pitching and fielding. A lot of great stuff, but, like I said, I wouldn’t enthusiastically endorse it like I would Moneyball or Weaver on Strategy. But if you like baseball, you’d probably like it. So … consider it endorsed, just not heartily endorsed.

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