Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Returning mini book reviews from Flammable Epidermis Man 

Well, as optimistic as my parting hopes were, they were ore or less bang-on. The 67s are indeed through to the Eastern Conference finals, and while the Lynx didn't go on an 8-game tear, they did win 5 of 8 (including a split in front of a big crowd on Saturday) and both games since then to go to 7-5 and a share of first.

Meanwhile, never one to take my responsibilities lightly, I spent my week away, toiling on a far-away beach, reading a pile of books, sustained only by unspecified beverages and the occasional swim in the ocean. As a distant cousin of the Gremlins, I've also been known to spontaneously combust when exposed to sunlight. I try to stick to the shade. Thus, I can bring you a few more sports book capsule reviews.

Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty - Buster Olney

I don't know if I'd recommend non-Yankee fans go out of their way to pick it up (outside hardcore baseball fans), but as a long-time Yankee fan I enjoyed it, even though the ending sucked (the 2001 World Series that the Yankees lost in the bottom of the 9th to the Diamondbacks) .

Friday Night Lights - H.G. Bissinger

Having seen and enjoyed the movie, I picked up the book to compare and fill in the details. No real surprises. The afterword describing Odessa's reaction to the book was interesting.

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut:

Not a sports book, not one of Vonnegut's best, but not bad. So it goes.

Game Time - Roger Angell

A collection of Angell's baseball writing, which was easily my favourite book of the bunch. Angell's writing is second to none, both lyrical yet tight. Although Angell has been covering baseball since "only" 1962, he was born in 1920 and recounts some of his own experiences growing up in NY as far back as the late 1920s. He also manages to avoid the "things were always better back in the day" trap, which captures many of his cohorts. He seems to love the game as much now as ever. It shines through in his writing.

I also loved the seasonal structure of the book which flowed from spring training pieces, to mid-summer pieces, to playoff pieces.

A perfect introduction to Angell's writing.

Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy - Jane Leavy

Well written bio of one of the great lefties (pitchers period, for that matter) of all time. The first chapter has an outstanding description of Koufax's biomechanically-perfect pitching motion.