I've been online with IGWT for a little more than 2 months now, and it's starting to yield some pretty sweet rewards. The BTF
crew asked me to partake in the annual "Looking Ahead to..." series, and last week I got my first free book in the mail to review. Let me take a minute to say that if anyone out there has any free stuff they want to send me, please feel free, no wait, feel encouraged to send it my way.
The book, entitled The Last Nine Innings
(written by Mr. Charles Euchner), uses Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (not the proudest moment in Yankee history) as a backdrop, similar to Buster Olney's Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty
. Unlike Olney however, Eucher uses the events of the game to discuss aspects of baseball we all know exist, but hardly know anything about.
By breaking the game down into it's most basic element, individual at bats (occasionally even pitch-by-pitch), Euchner provides insight into a wide range of topics, including the "power ballet" of fielding and subsequent defensive analysis, pitcher-catcher relationships, hitting mechanics, pitching strategies, bullpen usage, managerial strategies, the works.
Personally, I most enjoyed Euchner's dialogue regarding the globalization of the game (Chapter 18), which he previewed in the prelude:
At a time when so much of the game is reduced to scientific examination and action, I also wondered why the best players seemed to come from Latin America. If we have become a nation of superkids with superparents who hire supercoaches and use videos and stats and scientific research to teach throwing, hitting, running, and sliding to the privileged scions of the American Dream, why do so many great and innovative players come from places where bats need to be carved out of tree trunks?
Even though we all know the outcome of the game, Euchner still manages to capture your attention and leave you wanting more each time you put the book down. An extremely easy and quick read, I highly recommend it to not just Yankee fans, but fans of the game in general.
Alex Bleth over at Bronx Banter (by the way, a belated congratulations to the BB guys for being named the Best Sports Blog of 2005) provided an excerpt recently, you can find it here.