Titel: You're Missin' a Great Game: From Casey to ...
Verlag: Simon & Schuster
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included
Auflage: 1st Edition
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At its best, baseball calls on a wide array of subtle skills, rewarding the teams that know how to play the game better than their opponents over the long 162-game season. Whitey Herzog learned those skills under the tutelage of Cesey Stengel in the Yankees' training camps of the 1950s: how to take a lead; which side of the cutoff man to aim for; when to take an extra base depending on whether the outfielder throws left-handed or right-handed; the best ways to turn or prevent a double play. These little things might make a difference in two or three games over the course of a season, but two or three wins are often what separates a pennant winner from the pack. As Whitey would personally learn playing alongside greats like Roger Maris and Yogi Berra -- and managing players like George Brett, Darrell Porter, and Ozzie Smith -- baseball should reward such attention to detail. That inside knowledge can create the chance for a less physically awesome team to beat its imposing adversaries -- and what is more satisfying in sports than David toppling Goliath through skill and guile?
But in the modern game, Herzog argues, players don't learn these skills, and the game no longer rewards them if they do. Expanded playoffs mean that more teams reach the postseason, so excellence over 162 games is less important than ever before. Players know that their agents will negotiate salaries based on their home runs, batting averages, and RBI counts; why learn the parts of the game that don't show up in the box scores? The richest teams can bash their way into the playoffs by signing the players they need to play a power game at bat and on the mound. The free-agent draft deemphasizes good scouting, and the bonuses being paid to untested rookies further widen the gap between rich and poor. For the majority of teams, the season is over before it's begun; their economic circumstances won't let them play the only style you can win with today.
But it would be wrong to lump Herzog in with the crowd that says things can never be as good as they used to be. Outrageous, thought-provoking, candid, and laugh-out-loud funny, You're Missin' a Great Game celebrates the game of baseball as it was, and as it can be again. For all the fans revitalized by the excitement and glamour of the home-run chase and the barrier-breaking '98 season, Whitey Herzog shows how -- with some intelligent planning and attention to the virtues of the game -- baseball's best days can and should be still ahead of us.Review:
Herzog didn't earn his nickname as baseball's White Rat simply because of his hair color. Former manager of the Royals, Angels, and Cards, Herzog is one of baseball's great tacticians and blue-collar philosophers. He's tenacious and volatile; when the game's on the line, he's never held back, all of which is good news for the reader. For the fan, the color is less rosy. From Herzog's knowledgeable vantage point, baseball's integrity, despite a marvelous '98 season, is very much on the line these days, in danger of striking itself out as it loses touch with its fundamentals. Power is in, and subtlety's out. Singles hitters swing for the fences. Finesse, like bunting, is on the verge of extinction. Small-market teams can't compete. Free agency destroys loyalty. The wild-card, six divisions, and the extended playoffs undercut the pennant races. The game is in chaos.
Naturally, all of that--and more--has the Rat looking back at the good old days, gnawing over what worked; he's not afraid to show his teeth. His passionate screed raises questions, chews on problems, and spits out interesting solutions in a colloquial breeze that blows air more fresh than hot. Circling the bases of this personal-insider's journey, he examines why his baseball heroes--Casey Stengel, Ted Williams, Tom Seaver, and Ozzie Smith, for starters--are just that, and why the game needs more of them. "Baseball itself is a little nearsighted right now," he complains, "and there ain't any harm in riding it some. Maybe we can be the bench jockeys." Why not? Herzog's certainly shown a knack for bringing home winners from that position before, and the fun of Missin' is the ease with which it invites us all to join him for the ride. --Jeff Silverman
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