Play Ball, by John Feinstein
The sports journalist John Feinstein, whose previous books include in-depth looks at the worlds of college basketball and professional tennis, here chronicles the 1992 major-league baseball season. Following the arc of the season itself, Play Ball begins with the cheerful optimism of spring training and opening day, continues through the dog days of summer and the commercialized All-Star-game recess, and concludes with the pennant races and the World Series. Interspersed throughout are chapters examining some of baseball’s most controversial topics, including the volatile dynamic between ballplayers and the media, the dearth of minority managers and front-office personnel, and the ambiguous and often fractious role of baseball’s Commissioner.
More than anything else, however, Play Ball is about business. Feinstein devotes much space to detailing the work of baseball’s off-field generals, the owners and general managers. He recounts in detail the maneuvering that takes place behind the scenes as general managers try to trade away players who are either too expensive or otherwise considered troublesome. He also discusses the complex relation between baseball franchises and their host cities, and the manner in which teams blackmail cities into financing new stadiums by threatening to go elsewhere. And he focuses extensively on the players’ salaries.
About the Author
Jay Lefkowitz, a lawyer in New York, served as a senior domestic-policy adviser to President Bush in 2001-2003, and previously as a policy aide to Preisdent George H.W. Bush. He is currently the President’s special envoy for human rights in North Korea.