By Mark Newman
One year ago, his Cardinals were finishing the month of August a whopping 8 1/2 games out of the National League Central and NL Wild Card races. And that was after they had started a modest run. They had been 10 1/2 games out just a few days earlier.
No one comes back from a late hole like that to win a World Series. No one suddenly announces after the parade that his perfect ending is complete. No human writes a book the next year about what it was like inside a dream like that and puts it in the non-fiction aisle.
There is only one La Russa, though. His first memoir, titled One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, written with Hall of Fame Spinks Award-winning baseball scribe Rick Hummel, will be released on Sept. 25 by HarperCollins and available in the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will post three exclusive videos between now and then, based on his recent visit to the MLB.com studios for excerpt readings about the historic World Series Game 6. More
I am not a voracious reader of baseball books. I do read them from time-to-time, but I tend to gravitate towards books on politics, current events or American history. One baseball book that I highly recommend is Intangibles: Big League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game—in Baseball and in Life. The author is my friend, Geoff Miller, a Mental Skills Coach with the Atlanta Braves (I also wrote the Foreword for the book, but that’s beside the point.) My point is every once in a while a “must read” baseball book comes along, and this is one of them. People who know me think that I love numbers. The reality is that I love understanding how things work and I love decision processes. Numbers, if selected thoughtfully, just happen to be an outstanding vehicle to explain how things work and to improve decision processes for big league clubs. Understanding and appreciating the mental aspects of baseball is the perfect complement to a player’s stats or a scout’s ratings of a player’s tools.
Anyone who is passionate about the game of baseball, or is connected to it in some way, wants to understand the mind of the ballplayer. What makes him tick? How does he marshal his talents during a high pressure moment to perform? How does he prepare for an upcoming encounter with his opponent? These are the types of questions discussed in Intangibles—from the vantage point of an expert teacher and the athletes and coaches he’s encountered. Many of Geoff’s stories stem from his experiences with the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of his former employers. He has a rare and unique ability to grasp the bigger picture from his various coaching experiences, and it comes through in his writing. More
From Curt Smith’s Voices of The Game blog:
To some, progress means bulldozing the past. “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers,” rued actor James Earl Jones, “erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again.” Steamrolled: battlefields, historic shrines, even homes by eminent domain.
“Only baseball has marked the time,” said Jones, forgetting, say, Ebbets Field, Forbes Field, and the Polo Grounds — each pummeled by the wrecking ball: falling to, nor marking, time. A decade ago Boston’s Fenway Park, born in 1912, seemed sure to join them: too few suites and concession stands; too little parking – above all, too small.
If you’ll forgive an unpaid ad, my new book, Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park’s Centennial told Through Red Sox Radio and TV (Potomac Books, $27.50), tells how baseball’s oldest park was improbably preserved. More