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Publisher's Summary

The former ESPN columnist and analytics pioneer dramatically recreates an action-packed 2017 game between the Oakland A’s and eventual World Series champion Houston Astros to reveal the myriad ways in which Major League Baseball has changed over the last few decades.

On September 8, 2017, the Oakland A’s faced off against the Houston Astros in a game that would signal the passing of the Moneyball mantle. Though this was only one regular season game, the matchup of these two teams demonstrated how Major League Baseball has changed since the early days of Athletics general manager Billy Beane and the publication of Michael Lewis’ classic book.

Over the past 20 years, power and analytics have taken over the game, driving carefully calibrated teams like the Astros to victory. Seemingly every pitcher now throws mid-90s heat and studiously compares their mechanics against the ideal. Every batter in the lineup can crack homers and knows his launch angles. Teams are relying on unorthodox strategies, including using power-losing - purposely tanking a few seasons to get the best players in the draft.

As he chronicles each inning and the unfolding drama as these two teams continually trade the lead - culminating in a 9-8 Oakland victory in the bottom of the ninth - Neyer considers the players and managers, the front office machinations, the role of sabermetrics, and the current thinking about what it takes to build a great team to answer the most pressing questions fans have about the sport today.

©2018 Robert Neyer (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    10
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    5
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  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid overview of Baseball in 2018

This book gives a very great picture of the current state of baseball, contextualizing it through the lens of a single late-season game between the A's and Astros. It covers many diverse topics from analytics to unions to steroids and gives many good examples. It is, however, just a general overview - at times I wish it would have delved further into certain topics. The book is perfect for someone who has a cursory understanding and interest in baseball, watches games fairly regularly, but wants to get deeper into the game. If you're up-to-date with the current status of the game, it may be a bit repetitive and be telling you things you already know, however, giving examples and a lens through which to view the problems and questions around the game is always nice.

One problem (mentioned by other reviewers) is that the narrator does seem to have problems pronouncing names, which can be a bit distracting at times. At first, I thought it was an issue in domain knowledge, but it's narrated by the author, who is knowledgeable on the subject. Later in the book, he mispronounces the physicist Neils Bohr's name, so my suspicion is that it's just an overall issue with names. While a touch distracting, it does not take away from the content, which is quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

Rob Neyer’s done it again. He’s so astute and brings in so many angles to the game it’s truly a pleasure. Well done Mr.Neyer!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Baseball lovers beware

this book draws you in slowly, and somehow allows it to feel like a game

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great writing. loved how the book flowed

loved it. very creative writing, interesting topics start to finish. any baseball fan would enjoy it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Stick to the topic

Wish it had stuck to baseball
I really wanted to like this book and many parts of it were very captivating. However, when I purchase a book that has on the cover "pure baseball brain candy," I expect the book to be about baseball. And in fairness, it mostly was. But when I want to escape into a baseball book, I don't want to listen the author's opinions about social issues. For instance, in one of several bizarre twists, Mr. Neyer lamented why no baseball players have come out as gay. He went on to say that he hoped it was a highly paid super star who finally did it so then no one could tell him he couldn't play. What?! Who in 2018 thinks a player would be banished because of their sexual orientation or even have to pay any price whatsoever? Nobody really cares. Equally as ludicrous was the author's veering into global warming. (Excuse me, climate change because global warming no longer works so well). The irony is that, for someone so centered around data metrics, he makes wide sweeping generalizations that would be closer to what you'd hear a middle school student spout at the earth day fair,rather than a learned data metrics guru. If he had the same detail with this subject as the rest of the book, he could explain how it started as global cooling in the 70's, then switched to global warming in the 80's, then "the warming pause" in the 2000's, and now to climate change. That debate is fine to have, but not in a freaking baseball book! Lastly, the author would do well to have invested in a professional narrator. His tendency to trail off at the end of sentences was frustrating. This had the chance to be a really brilliant baseball book, but unforced errors prevented that from happening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tyler Burch
  • 11-21-18

Solid overview of Baseball in 2018

This book gives a very great picture of the current state of baseball, contextualizing it through the lens of a single late-season game between the A's and Astros. It covers many diverse topics from analytics to unions to steroids and gives many good examples. It is, however, just a general overview - at times I wish it would have delved further into certain topics. The book is perfect for someone who has a cursory understanding and interest in baseball, watches games fairly regularly, but wants to get deeper into the game. If you're up-to-date with the current status of the game, it may be a bit repetitive and be telling you things you already know, however, giving examples and a lens through which to view the problems and questions around the game is always nice.

One problem (mentioned by other reviewers) is that the narrator does seem to have problems pronouncing names, which can be a bit distracting at times. At first, I thought it was an issue in domain knowledge, but it's narrated by the author, who is knowledgeable on the subject. Later in the book, he mispronounces the physicist Neils Bohr's name, so my suspicion is that it's just an overall issue with names. While a touch distracting, it does not take away from the content, which is quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-18

Great Book

Rob Neyer’s done it again. He’s so astute and brings in so many angles to the game it’s truly a pleasure. Well done Mr.Neyer!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tony
  • 11-03-18

Baseball lovers beware

this book draws you in slowly, and somehow allows it to feel like a game

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bradley K.
  • Leander, Tx
  • 12-17-18

great writing. loved how the book flowed

loved it. very creative writing, interesting topics start to finish. any baseball fan would enjoy it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andy Witner
  • 12-16-18

Stick to the topic

Wish it had stuck to baseball
I really wanted to like this book and many parts of it were very captivating. However, when I purchase a book that has on the cover "pure baseball brain candy," I expect the book to be about baseball. And in fairness, it mostly was. But when I want to escape into a baseball book, I don't want to listen the author's opinions about social issues. For instance, in one of several bizarre twists, Mr. Neyer lamented why no baseball players have come out as gay. He went on to say that he hoped it was a highly paid super star who finally did it so then no one could tell him he couldn't play. What?! Who in 2018 thinks a player would be banished because of their sexual orientation or even have to pay any price whatsoever? Nobody really cares. Equally as ludicrous was the author's veering into global warming. (Excuse me, climate change because global warming no longer works so well). The irony is that, for someone so centered around data metrics, he makes wide sweeping generalizations that would be closer to what you'd hear a middle school student spout at the earth day fair,rather than a learned data metrics guru. If he had the same detail with this subject as the rest of the book, he could explain how it started as global cooling in the 70's, then switched to global warming in the 80's, then "the warming pause" in the 2000's, and now to climate change. That debate is fine to have, but not in a freaking baseball book! Lastly, the author would do well to have invested in a professional narrator. His tendency to trail off at the end of sentences was frustrating. This had the chance to be a really brilliant baseball book, but unforced errors prevented that from happening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tyler Burch
  • 11-21-18

Solid overview of Baseball in 2018

This book gives a very great picture of the current state of baseball, contextualizing it through the lens of a single late-season game between the A's and Astros. It covers many diverse topics from analytics to unions to steroids and gives many good examples. It is, however, just a general overview - at times I wish it would have delved further into certain topics. The book is perfect for someone who has a cursory understanding and interest in baseball, watches games fairly regularly, but wants to get deeper into the game. If you're up-to-date with the current status of the game, it may be a bit repetitive and be telling you things you already know, however, giving examples and a lens through which to view the problems and questions around the game is always nice.

One problem (mentioned by other reviewers) is that the narrator does seem to have problems pronouncing names, which can be a bit distracting at times. At first, I thought it was an issue in domain knowledge, but it's narrated by the author, who is knowledgeable on the subject. Later in the book, he mispronounces the physicist Neils Bohr's name, so my suspicion is that it's just an overall issue with names. While a touch distracting, it does not take away from the content, which is quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-18

Great Book

Rob Neyer’s done it again. He’s so astute and brings in so many angles to the game it’s truly a pleasure. Well done Mr.Neyer!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tony
  • 11-03-18

Baseball lovers beware

this book draws you in slowly, and somehow allows it to feel like a game

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bradley K.
  • Leander, Tx
  • 12-17-18

great writing. loved how the book flowed

loved it. very creative writing, interesting topics start to finish. any baseball fan would enjoy it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andy Witner
  • 12-16-18

Stick to the topic

Wish it had stuck to baseball
I really wanted to like this book and many parts of it were very captivating. However, when I purchase a book that has on the cover "pure baseball brain candy," I expect the book to be about baseball. And in fairness, it mostly was. But when I want to escape into a baseball book, I don't want to listen the author's opinions about social issues. For instance, in one of several bizarre twists, Mr. Neyer lamented why no baseball players have come out as gay. He went on to say that he hoped it was a highly paid super star who finally did it so then no one could tell him he couldn't play. What?! Who in 2018 thinks a player would be banished because of their sexual orientation or even have to pay any price whatsoever? Nobody really cares. Equally as ludicrous was the author's veering into global warming. (Excuse me, climate change because global warming no longer works so well). The irony is that, for someone so centered around data metrics, he makes wide sweeping generalizations that would be closer to what you'd hear a middle school student spout at the earth day fair,rather than a learned data metrics guru. If he had the same detail with this subject as the rest of the book, he could explain how it started as global cooling in the 70's, then switched to global warming in the 80's, then "the warming pause" in the 2000's, and now to climate change. That debate is fine to have, but not in a freaking baseball book! Lastly, the author would do well to have invested in a professional narrator. His tendency to trail off at the end of sentences was frustrating. This had the chance to be a really brilliant baseball book, but unforced errors prevented that from happening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful