HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

by Buzz Bissinger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6521436,415 (3.77)6
Biography & Autobiography. Sports & Recreations. Nonfiction. HTML:

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 the legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball. A great leader, he 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 skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy and offers many surprising tactical insights. Bissinger also furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative Afterword.

.
… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This is a detailed analysis of the three-game baseball series in August 2003 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. It is told through the eyes of Tony La Russa and delves into many details of baseball that are invisible to most fans. The author goes into Tony’s thoughts on the strategy for the game going beyond just the play-by-play thoughts. He describes the psychology of player selection, both the egos and goals of the players and the opposing lineup. He looks into the player rituals, revenge hit-by-pitcher strategies, if he can afford to hurt a player’s ego.

It does go into pitch-by-pitch commentary at times, discussing how the game and the psychology changes at each point, what options La Russa is considering and what counters he anticipates.

The writing is ok. But the author does repeatedly use bad metaphors to emphasize points at times, I’m not quite sure he knows what his target audience is, but it did kind of remind me of some baseball announcers I’ve heard.

Overall I enjoyed the book, it is a good read for the baseball enthusiast. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Jan 4, 2024 |
A wonderful look at the mind of one of the greatest managers in baseball (even though I'm a Cubs fan). I enjoyed it very much! ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
This is just about the perfect time of the year to read a book like Buzz Bissinger’s, Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Head of a Manager. As I write this, teams have just reported to Florida and Arizona for Spring Training, beginning the long 2017 baseball season that will ultimately crown one team as the year’s World Series champion. Veteran players now have six weeks to work themselves back into playing shape while a handful of top minor leaguers are hoping to make enough of a positive impression to stick with the big club when camp breaks.

But players and umpires are not the only ones who use Spring Training to work themselves back into regular season form. Managers, already faced with making the tough player cuts required of them every spring, must also get themselves mentally prepared to make all those little game-time decisions that might add up to winning an extra five or six games a season – more than enough to mean the difference between participating in the playoffs and watching them on television with the rest of us.

But what counts, of course, is what happens during the regular season, and that’s what Three Nights in August is all about. The book frames itself around an August three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs that was played at a point late in the 2003 season when the Cardinals, Cubs, and Houston Astros were virtually tied for first place. Cardinals manager Tony La Rusa gave Bissinger the kind of access to himself and his team that writers usually only dream about, and the resulting book is an interesting look at what makes La Rusa one of the best managers the game of baseball has ever seen.

The pivotal three games are covered in great detail, so much so that at times it seems as if an entire inning is being replayed pitch-by-pitch as La Rusa tries to out-think Dusty Baker, his counterpart in the Cubs dugout. The two men have known each other for decades and neither of them has any new tricks not already seen by the other. A baseball game between them is akin to watching two chess masters play each other for the five-hundredth time over the course of their two long careers.

But as indicated by the book’s subtitle, Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Head of a Manager, La Rusa was prepared to reveal much more about himself than the strategies he employs against Dusty Baker. The book explores La Rusa’s long managerial career and the sacrifices his wife and children have made in order to make it possible for the manager to achieve what he has. During the season, Tony La Rusa was all about baseball and had time for little else. He is a private man, comfortable with being alone, and even when the Cardinals were playing at home he often stayed in a local hotel rather than sleeping at home – especially when the Cardinals lost a tough game or series.

Love him or hate him, Tony La Rusa has achieved the status of baseball legend now, and that alone makes Three Nights in August an interesting read for baseball fans. But the part of the book I will remember most is the section dealing with the sudden death of Darryl Kyle, the great pitcher who died in his sleep at age thirty-three on June 22, 2002. Cardinal players and coaches (and their fans) were hit hard by such a stunning loss, and that they were able to overcome their grief and hold the season together at all was a fine tribute to the dogged attitude about the game that DK always displayed. (As a side note, fans and players in Houston were equally devastated by news of his death.)

Bottom Line: Three Nights in August is a great way for anxious baseball fans to prepare themselves for the 2017 season, a little “Spring Training” all of our own.
  SamSattler | Feb 15, 2017 |
In the words of a fellow reviewier: this book is beautiful baseball. ( )
  Proustitutes | Jun 11, 2015 |
I'm from St. Louis so I had heard about this book a while ago and just assumed it was sort of a standard puff piece for the Cardinals. Then recently a friend told me, "No really, it's more than that and you should read it," so I did and I was quite impressed with the entire scope of the book, which pretty much examines the minutiae of baseball through the lens of a single three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August of 2003.

You don't necessarily have to be a Cardinal fan to enjoy this book. Cubs fans should also apply, as well as anyone who appreciates some of the finer strategy in baseball. I consider myself well-versed for a casual baseball fan, perhaps somewhere on the border between a casual and an obsessive fan. Thus it was quite a treat to gain insight into pretty much every facet of the game -- if Bissinger missed one I'm not aware of it -- from an individual at-bat to hit-and-run, from pitcher preparation to intentionally hitting a batsman, and all through the eyes of one of the most relentlessly intelligent managers in the history of the game.

Bissinger weaves an impressive, labyrinth-like narrative that tells the story of the three-game series while frequently pausing to follow individual threads to their point of origin, then zooming back out to the overall narrative. These threads often consisted of the background of an individual player, or a specific type of player, and these were the parts where it was most rewarding to be a Cardinals fan, to learn some of the inside dirt on my favorite players from a decade ago.

My main complaint with the book is Bissinger's writing style, which is almost always ostentatious and frequently pretentious. Admittedly this reaction could be colored by knowledge of his real-world personality; he's an unapologetic conservative in the bombastic style of Sean Hannity. But still, I think most objective readers can agree that some of his word choices, analogies and dated pop culture references are oftentimes distracting, which should never be the effect of good prose. Here are some examples so you can judge for yourself:
Alou goes for it in his unbridled aggressiveness. He gets a swing on it, a pretty good swing -- a damn good one, actually. He fouls it straight back, meaning that he missed driving it by a matter of only inches. Stephenson throws another fastball, this one better located on the inside. Alou gets a swing on it, a pretty good swing -- a damn good one, actually. 61
Was it really necessary to repeat the same sentence? Dramatic effect is lost in the annoyance of reading it over again.
He has the swagger that is the hubris of youth, taking his invincibility for granted when nobody ever should, receiving too much early attention and slathering in it. 75
Now I could be wrong, but this just seems like the wrong word choice. You can't "slather in" something, you slather something onto something else. As far as I can tell he was looking for a word like "wallowing." But this indicates that Bissinger's grasp on the English language is not as strong as he's representing, which makes some of his other word/phrase choices all the more pretentious.
The pitch is more difficult to handle than the first one, that lethal combination of high-heat velocity and location you see sometimes on the Autobahn. 122
Tortured metaphor. What kind of location do you see on the Autobahn? What does that even mean? Bissinger also employed a strange and somewhat arbitary use of italics:
Wood comes with a curve that bites low, and Taguchi has no choice but to protect himself because of the count, and he fouls that off too, his fifth in six pitches. 173
Then there were just a couple of plain 'ol WTF moments:
In addition, the relief game, of which La Russa may well be the key cultural anthropologist, had yet to evolve. 177
So this means that La Russa studies the relief game and compares it to other sorts of games? That he studies relievers and analyzes their society and value systems? The analogy makes no sense, especially when he appears to be looking for a word as simple as "inventor" or "inspiration." Another case of Bissinger trying to sound smarter than he really is. Then:
(Lofton) is Kline's eternal nemesis, the psychotic ex-girlfriend who sends you creepy notes through the mail to remind you she's still around. 246
First of all, the analogy of a psycho-ex does not really encapsulate what it means to be an "eternal nemesis," so he starts off with a badly mixed metaphor. Secondly, are there really enough of these types of ex-girlfriends to make this a good universal example? Thirdly, it's just not an apt comparison at all to the relationship of Kline and Lofton, the latter of whom continually takes advantage of the mistakes of the former. It's just bad writing.

I grant that I'm probably being extra hard on him just because I disagree with his politics and find him to be kind of a d-bag anyway, so take my criticism for what its worth. On the other hand, a decent writer can spot these sorts of mistakes a mile away, and the compound effect is to really do a disservice to the content of the book, which is pretty near impeccable. The only other thing I would have changed stylistically is to not try and needlessly manufacture drama -- whether in one particular at-bat, or one particular game or series -- when the narrative is already plenty compelling.

So overall, regardless of my writing quibbles I would recommend this book to Cardinals fans, Cubs fans and/or borderline obsessive general baseball fans who are interested in acquiring a finer grasp on the minute strategy behind even the most mundane baseball decisions. It is an invaluable artifact for its in-depth discussion of pretty much every aspect of the game. ( )
1 vote blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Biography & Autobiography. Sports & Recreations. Nonfiction. HTML:

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 the legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball. A great leader, he 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 skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy and offers many surprising tactical insights. Bissinger also furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative Afterword.

.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.77)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 5
2.5 4
3 36
3.5 7
4 64
4.5 7
5 24

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 208,471,676 books! | Top bar: Always visible