Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Blunders - by Rob Neyer

This is not a book about baseball bloopers. Neyer goes to great lengths to explain this is a book about blunders. This book discusses some of the worst decisions ever made in baseball history. A couple Red Sox examples include selling Babe Ruth, and leaving Pedro in game 7. In all, over 45 decisions throughout baseball are discussed in depth to see if they really are the blunders history has made them out to be.

I’m a Rob Neyer fan. I was a regular reader of his columns before they made you pay for them. I like the way he looks at everything with a clean slate, and doesn’t let emotions get in the way of analysis. This book could have been much better, however. It didn’t appear that he put his usual effort into the analysis. It looked like every blunder was rated as so-so, once the numbers were worked out. If we’re to believe this book, just about every decision in baseball history was a coin toss, with neither side really losing out. He also tended to quantify success or failure strictly in terms of championships won. So, if adding a player cost a team 15 wins, but the team lost the pennant by 16, it wasn’t a bad decision to add the player. They wouldn’t have won anyway. I’m more of the mindset that even if you lose a pennant by 50 games, it wasn’t a good idea to add a player that costs you 15. The book left me with a “blah” feeling, and I had to push myself to get through the whole thing.

Rating:2 bases.

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