ReviewNovember 3, 2006


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Book Reviews: Volume One

By Madison Jones

Welcome to the first in the Cafe’s series of book reviews! As of right now, we will be running book reviews every six months, but should we wind up with more books and reviews, we will add to this series, and do it more often. For now though, here is our first installment. You may even get a Christmas idea out of it. Enjoy!
 


Title: The Bad Guys Won!
Author: Jeff Pearlman
ISBN: 0060507322
Published: 2004
Pages: 304

 
Reviewed by: David Allinger (Pokerplaya)

If your idea of a good baseball book is something by Bill James, this may not be the book for you. This book will not provide you with any groundbreaking statistical insight, analysis, or theories; but what it will do is show you that there is more to baseball than what takes place on the diamond. Jeff Pearlman, who took a leave of absence from his position at Sports Illustrated to write this tale of the infamous 1986 World Champion New York Mets, does a fantastic job of showing how these 25 individuals came together through all of their dysfunction to win it all. [More]



Title: Little League, Big Dreams
Author: Charles Euchner
ISBN: 1402206615
Published: 2006
Pages: 320

 
Reviewed by: Denny Foster (Cleveland Steamers)

Little League, Big Dreams is an eye-opening book about the Little League World Series, the kids involved, the work needed, and the extremes coaches and parents will take in order to get there. After a deep history of Little League baseball, Euchner goes into great detail when discussing every aspect of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania experience. As the Little League World Series continues to grow in popularity, kids, coaches, and parents are quickly put under the spotlight. As Euchner explains, this spotlight can have a negative effect on all involved, especially coaches, causing many to go above and beyond what many people would consider effective coaching strategies. [More]



Title: Fantasyland
Author: Sam Walker
ISBN: 0670034282
Published: 2006
Pages: 368

 
Reviewed by: Mike Barry (Acidrock23)

Fantasyland will help get a fantasy baseball addict through the dark depths of winter meetings and spring training, capturing the buzz of the 2004 Tout Wars league from a unique and entertaining perspective. The author, Sam Walker, was able to secure an invitation to participate in the league, a 12 team auction league of fantasy legends, including Baseball Forecaster author Ron Shandler and Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan, as an exercise in journalism. Mr. Walker has a significant advantage over typical fantasy owners in that his position for the Wall Street Journal served both to bankroll his exercise, and allow him ‘insider access’ to locker rooms, baseball psychics, and a NASA biomathematician named “Sig” who signs on to assist with quantitative analysis. As Walker explains in chapter 7, “Every time I told a seasoned Rotisserie player about my plan to spend ten days and $2400 scouting ballplayers in Florida and then, in short order, ten days and $3000 in Arizona for the same purpose, the response was more or less consistent: You are an idiot.” [More]

 
A special thanks to the guys who took the time to read these books and do such great writeups for all of us. Thanks guys!
 
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