Thursday, June 21, 2007

"The Pride and the Pressure: A Season Inside the New York Yankee Fishbowl" and Other Interesting Reads

The Book Review

There is an entire tradition of "inside baseball" books and now we have "The Pride and the Pressure: A Season Inside the New York Yankee Fishbowl" by Phillip Morrissey (Doubleday, $23.95, 288 pages). The "New York Post" baseball writer had unrestricted access throughout the 2006 season to all things Yankee - and he has written an insightful, steamy, sometimes sordid account of the happenings that year - what went wrong and why it did, being one of his main themes.
There is gossip galore, embarrassing accounts of grown men acting like teenagers. We have Joe Torre's feud with ESPN and YES. We have the struggles of perhaps the worst Yankee free agent signing ever - Carl Pavano and the enmity he engendered from his Yankee brothers. We have more info than we really need on George Steinbrenner's health condition. We have gossipy treatments of A-Rod vs. Jeter - their relationship and non-relationship on and off the field.

If you are into Yankee gossip, if you are one of those who wants a look at the game within the game - this is the book for you even though reading it in 2007 makes a great deal of the content which is from 2006, dated. .

"Reynolds, Raschi and Lopat: New York's Big Three and the Great Yankee Dynasty of 1949-1953 by Sol Gittleman (McFarland, paper, 230 pages) is not at all dated but a winning look back by the author, a history and literature professor at Tufts University. We are there in the glory days of the team and their workhorse hurlers through the momentous winning days and nights of Bronx Bomber baseball. This slim tome is a real treat.

FOR RED SOX FANS: "Big Papi! My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits by David Ortiz and Tony Massarotti (St. Martin's Press, $24.95, $16.95 Spanish edition) is the rags to riches story of the Boston strong boy slugger. For BoSox fans this is the book to go for - for the rest out there - optional reading.

NOTABLE: From Frank Deford comes "The Entitled" (Sourcebooks, $24.95, 318 pages) about Howie Traveler who had an 0.91 big league average and now has a shot as a manager of the Cleveland Indians. About a Willy Loman type character, a book Arthur Miller would have enjoyed, an inside look at the game today, "The Entitled" is the kind of tome one would expect from the man GQ dubs "the world's greatest sportswriter."

BACKLIST: There are two especially wonderful books for Yankee fans - by Joe Carrieri, former bat boy for the team - "Joe DiMaggio the Promise (Carlyn Publications, Inc., $22.00, 212 pages) and "Searching for Heroes (Carlyn Publications, Inc., $22.00, 214 pages). Both are wonderful reads detailing Carrieri's time with the Bronx Bombers from 1949-1955.