From time-to-time, I'll take a moment to review a Sports-related book I've recently read. This time, I'll highlight two books I highly recommend reading, and two others I recommend staying away from that I have read this year.
The Last Best League, by Jim Collins:
Awesome book about the Cape Cod League, where the best of the high school graduate/college players come to play ball in the summer. The same league that one movie with Freddy Prinze and Jessica Biel was based on, only in this book the main character doesn't leave in the ninth inning of a no-hitter to chase after the girl. Oh no! I spoiled it. Anyway, the book is one of the best sports books I've ever read.
A Good Walk Spoiled, by John Feinstein:
I really could have put any non-fiction by Feinstein here, but A Good Walk Spoiled is the book of his I read most recently. Feinstein follows the PGA Tour for a season, with total access behind the scenes. It's a little older, written in 1995, so the golfers followed are a little older - Norman, Faldo, Watson - but it is still very good. See also: Tales from Q School, The Last Amateurs, A Season on the Brink, A March to Madness
Throwing Bullets, by Roy Rowan:
Somewhat similar as The Last Best League as it follows minor league players, but not very well written. It follows Francisco Liriano and some other Twins minor leaguer who I can't remember for a season, although they are playing in different cities, so the author can't completely cover either player. I'm guessing it got published simply because of Liriano's amazing run last season, because it is very sloppily written and really doesn't hold up.
Faithful, by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan:
I love Stephen King, he's my all-time favorite author, and I love baseball. Should be great, right? Nope. It's written by the two authors, die hard Sox fans, although O'Nan says he's also a Pirates fan, so what's up with that, as they follow the Sox through the 2004 Championship season. The problem, is that they both wrote it diary-style, mostly separately, and there's no real narrative here. It would be very entertaining if we were reading it during the season, night-after-night, but in this format it's really, quite boring. I found myself continuing to read it only to get to their reactions to the actual playoffs, and that was pretty anti-climactic somehow. Read only if you're a die-hard Red Sox fan.