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The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness
Synopses & Reviews
For six extraordinary years around the turn of the millennium, the Yankees were baseball's unstoppable force. With four World Series championships in five seasons and a deep bench of legends and comers, they dominated the major leagues, earning the love of their hometown fans and the grudging admiration of players and spectators elsewhere.
For the players and coaches, baseball Yankees-style was also an almost unbearable pressure cooker of anxiety, expectation, and infighting. With owner George Steinbrenner at the controls, the Yankees money machine spun out of control, and as the team's revenues skyrocketed, salaries were inflated beyond belief and smaller teams were priced out of competition. With New York's unforgiving fans behind him, Steinbrenner let the Yankees know loud and clear that their big paychecks carried a clear obligation: win now, and win all the time. As the spending and emotion spiraled, careers were made and broken, friendships began and ended, and a dynasty rose and fell.
In The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Buster Olney tracks the Yankees through these exciting and tumultuous seasons, giving intimate insights into the stars, the foot soldiers, and the coaches and managers. With unparalleled knowledge of the game, he also advances a compelling argument that the philosophy that made the Yankees great was inherently unsustainable and ultimately harmful to the sport.
"Nothing succeeds like success. But human nature being what it is, some people get a thrill when the successful fail. Is it a matter of rooting for the underdog or bringing the haughty and powerful down a peg? Olney, who covers the Yankees for the New York Times, addresses the question in this sympathetic assessment as he selects their seventh-game loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series as the turning point in the team's decline. Recounting the details of the contest, he flashes back to reveal how individuals contributed to the Yankees' accomplishments in recent years. Of course, the one person who demands success, and for whom even victory doesn't seem to be enough, is owner George Steinbrenner. Much of the ill will generated by the legions of Yankee-haters can be traced to Steinbrenner, with his bullying and deep pockets. Olney's work puts the team under a microscope, as if the daily exasperations, disappointments and even boredom suffice to explain why their fortunes reversed. Olney gives a good account: success is hard work that, like prayers, sometimes does not yield the hoped-for result. Agent, Chris Calhoun. (Sept.) Forecast: Both Yankees fans and Yankee haters will find this one interesting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Olney is a skilled and lucid writer. He is adept at revealing all the minute elements of chance and strategy that constitute any single baseball game and that make the game such a constantly surprising, frustrating, even excruciating obsession." New York Times
"An excellent work of sports writing." Library Journal
"A well-mulled, highly atmospheric, and richly versed story....Both subtle and opinionated, a densely layered portrait of the Yankees late-20th-century dynasty and the enduring impact of that commercial and competitive juggernaut" Kirkus Reviews
Olney tracks the Yankees through six exciting and tumultuous seasons, giving intimate insights into the stars, the foot soldiers, and the coaches and managers. 8-page insert.
About the Author
Buster Olney, who covered the Yankees for the New York Times for four seasons, is currently a senior writer for ESPN. He lives in New York.
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