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Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Managerby Buzz Bissinger
Synopses & Reviews
Three Nights in August shows thrillingly that human nature — not statistics — dictates ballgames outcomes. We watch from the dugout as a spectacular series unfolds between the Cardinals and their archrivals, the Cubs, and we uncover surprising truths about the pathology of slumps, the psychology of the clutch, the complex art of beanball retaliation, the rise of video, and the innumerable eccentricities of pitchers. The greatest players of our time grace the lineup: Albert Pujols, Sammy Sosa, Scott Rolen, Mark Prior, and more.
Through twenty-five years of managing, Tony La Russa has won more games than any current manager. He's the most strategically adept, and arguably the smartest, man in a baseball uniform. For all his intellectual attainments, he's also an antidote to the number-crunching mentality that has become so modish in baseball. As this book proves, he has built his success on the conviction that ballgames are won not by the numbers but by the hearts and minds of those who play.
Three Nights in August is underpinned by La Russa's forty years in baseball and by Bissinger's swinging prose and laser-beam focus. Drawing on unprecedented access to a manager and his team, Bissinger brings the same revelatory intimacy to major league baseball that he did to high school football in the classic Friday Night Lights.
"Tony La Russa is one of the best minds in baseball. In Three Nights in August, he and Buzz Bissinger offer unprecedented insights on the game, revealing the hidden decisions that affect each play. This book proves that baseball is so much more than statistics, and clearly demonstrates how instincts, logic, and emotion impact every game." Cal Ripken, Jr.
"Great writing alters the familiar. Just when you think nothing more could be written about baseball, Three Nights in August reveals the sport like no book before. Buzz Bissinger is a master of focus, zeroing in on the battle than unfolds minute-by-minute beneath the deceptively placid surface of the game. It is a masterpiece of reporting and writing, and flat-out one of the best books on the subject ever." Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo
"The Cubs against the Cardinals in the heat of August and a pennant race ? this is baseball at its best. What is the best way to watch it? Through the eyes of Tony La Russa. Readers of this finely focused study of the everyday drama of the sport of the longest season will be both exhausted and exhilarated. Exhausted by the grinding attention to detail required for the incessant decisions that managers must make. And exhilarated by La Russa's no-wasted-motion professionalism as he practices what many people preach ? respect for the game." George F. Will, author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
"Tony La Russa is one of baseball's most intriguing figures. Buzz Bissinger is one of our most respected writers. Together, they provide a unique and compelling view inside the game that for so long has fascinated, rewarded, and tortured the Cardinals manager." Bob Costas
Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. In his twenty-seven years of managing, La Russa has been named Manager of the Year a record-making five times and now stands as the third-winningest baseball manager of all time. A great leader, he's built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play.
Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league manager and his team, Buzz Bissinger brings a revelatory intimacy to baseball and offers some surprising observations. Bissinger also furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative new afterword.
Showing that human nature--not statistics--dictates the outcome of ballgames, the author watches from the dugout as a spectacular series unfolds between the Cardinals and their archrivals, the Cubs.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning author captures baseballs strategic and emotional essences through a point-blank account of one three-game series viewed through the keen eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa. Drawing on unprecedented access to a manager and his team, Bissinger brings the same revelatory intimacy to major-league baseball that he did to high school football in his classic besteller, Friday Night Lights.
Three Nights in August shows thrillingly that human nature — not statistics — can often dictate the outcome of a ballgame. We watch from the dugout as the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs for first place, and we uncover delicious surprises about the psychology of the clutch, the eccentricities of pitchers, the rise of video, and the complex art of retaliation when a batter is hit by a pitch. Through the lens of these games, Bissinger examines the dramatic changes that have overtaken baseball: from the decline of base stealing to the difficulty of motivating players to the rise of steroid use. More tellingly, he distills from these twenty-seven innings baseball's constants — its tactical nuances, its emotional pull.
During his twenty-six years of managing, La Russa won more games than any other current manager and ranks sixth all-time. He has been named Manager of the Year a record five times and is considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. For all his intellectual attainments, hes also an antidote to the number-crunching mentality that has become so modish in baseball. As this book proves, he's built his success on the conviction that ballgames are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play.
About the Author
Buzz Bissinger is the best-selling author of Friday Night Lights, which was named the best sports book of the past twenty-five years by ESPN and was recently made into a hit movie. He also wrote A Prayer for the City. He has won the Pulitzer Prize and the Livingston Award for his journalism and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.
During his twenty-five years as a manager of the Oakland Athletics, the Chicago White Sox, and now the St. Louis Cardinals, Tony La Russa has won more games than any current manager and ranks sixth for all time. He has been named Manager of the Year a record five times.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Tony La Russa xvii
1 Fear Factor 17
2 Locked In 26
3 ?I?m Gonna Kill You!? 41
4 The Peeker 53
5 The Pitcher?s Tale 67
6 Praying for Change 85
7 Gonzalez Must Pay 105
8 Light My Fire 121
9 Whodunit 138
10 Being There 156
11 Under Pressure 175
12 D.K. 199
13 Thing of Beauty 216
14 Kiss My Ass 224
15 Three Nights in August 240
A Note on Sources 269
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