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Michael

Gym, eat, work, audiobooks, sleep, repeat.

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2007

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  • Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred-Year Rivalry Between the Yankees and the Red Sox

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mike Vaccaro
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    The New York Yankees. The Boston Red Sox. For a hundred years, no two teams have locked horns as fiercely or as frequently, and no two seasons frame the colossal battle more perfectly than 2003 and 2004. Now, with incredible energy and access, leading sports columnist Mike Vaccaro chronicles the history of the greatest rivalry in sports, and the two stunning American League Championship Series that define a century of baseball.

    Dan says: "Best rivalry in sports, solid listen (Go Sox!)"
    "Good but not great. (A triple, not a home run)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great content, great subject, well-written and very well-narrated, but disjointed and lacks closure.

    As an enthusiastic but not eccentric Red Sox fan, I enjoyed this book, but it could have been much better simply by changing the structure.

    This book is written the way most newspaper sports articles are structured. (Considering the author is a NYT columnist, this shouldn't be a surprise.) Vaccaro ropes you in with the denouement up front, then steps back and starts filling in the details. That's a perfectly good approach to start with -- the problem is that, it's not laid out chronologically. Throughout the 13 plus hours, we jump repeated back and forth countless times like a game of pong, trying to keep tabs on what decade we're in and which generation of Sox and Yankees players we're talking about. Even for someone who knows the back story, it's hard to follow, there's no flow, and the herky-jerk approach really makes it hard to get fully invested in the book.

    I've never been a fan of this sort of writing in newspapers in the first place, and it really doesn't translate to a work of this length. It's like the author doesn't respect the audience enough to trust that he can hold our attention. All the while, he's forgetting that we aren't skimming newspaper headlines -- we're reading a book and he shouldn't feel the need to keep waving something new at us to keep us engaged.

    Also, as others have pointed out, the book doesn't finish the story of the 2004 season. Yes, I realize the Cardinals aren't the subject of this book, but that year was chosen as the end point of the book for good reason. Without the Red Sox world series victory, the 'curse' doesn't end. This feels like a natural part of the book and is strangely missing.

    Simply put, if the book was exactly the same, except re-edited to lay it out chronologically like a conventional biography or history, the experience would be much better. If you can get past that issue and let Scott Brick work with what's given to him, you can still enjoy this book. It's a great effort, but manages to stumble somewhere between third base and home plate.

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