Bruce is on vacation this week
With some time on my hands to finally just sit and read, I’ve packed up a few of the sports-related books that I’ve received from publishers in recent weeks and which I have been looking forward to getting a chance to really get into. Here are three of the books I’m going to be reading:
This book marks the 30th anniversary of the famed 1979 Indiana State/Michigan State NCAA championship basketball game which featured Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squaring off for the title. This game is still viewed as the precipice of March Madness and the first of the golden era finals matchups of 1979-1985 which introduced us to the players that would win nearly every NBA title for the next 20 years – Magic, Bird, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
In addition to all the background and behind-the-scenes information about the game itself, the book also covers the recruitment of both stars out of high school, Bird’s desertion of Bob Knight and the Indiana program, Bird’s decision to remain in school after the Celtics drafted him, Magic’s decision to stay in school after being tempted by the pros after his freshman year, and the close friendship that Bird and Magic share today.
For years Red Sox fans were told by a certain columnist in town that their team was cursed because the Sox sold Babe Ruth the Yankees. But as Jerry Gutlon reveals in this book, there is much more drama to Red Sox history than the “Curse of the Bambino.” The truth is more shocking than any myth.
Gutlon attempts to explode many of the myths that fans have been led to believe about the team by a press which was a complicit accomplice in the long history of Red Sox failure. By supporting the management and players they worshiped, without bringing the failures of racism and cronyism to light, writers and broadcasters only fortified the culture of failure that lasted from 1919 to 2003.
I should add that I’m quoted in this book a couple of times, which is pretty neat.
I actually started this book before I left. The book has sort of been promoted as a Joe Torre tell-all, but that hasn’t been the case thus far. If you liked The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty by Buster Olney, you’ll like this one as well. It’s really about the rise of fall of the Yankees during Joe Torre’s tenure.
The book does have plenty of revelations (at least 10 of the 2000 Yankees were taking steroids) and behind the scenes moments, but from the perspective of a Red Sox fan, there are also plenty of good and bad moments and chapters on their team. From a replay of the 2003 ALCS game 7 to the Red Sox passing the Yankees in player development and organizational philosophy, there’s plenty to interest the Boston reader.