I just finished reading “Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember” by John Feinstein.
For those not aware, with this book, Feinstein details the 2007 season for the Yankees Mike Mussina and the Mets Tom Glavine – as well as the how last year went for their teams.
I truly enjoyed this book.
The first tip towards the fact that I enjoyed “Living on the Black” was that I read it – the entire book. And, that’s saying something for me since the book is over 500 pages long. I don’t think I ever read a book that was 500+ pages long. I just don’t have the attention span for it. Well, if I did ever read something that big before it was probably because I was forced to read it in school – and I don’t remember it because I’ve already erased the memory from my mind.
Now, it’s not a perfect book. In fact, I found many editing errors in the text.
On page 172, it refers to the Trenton Thunder as being the Yankees Triple-A farm team. On page 211, it refers to the Yankees bullpen at Yankee Stadium being in right field. On page 407, it refers to WFAN’s Yankees reporter as being “Sweeny Murdy.” And, on page 478, it refers to the Mets and the Nationals as being tied for first place with one game left to go in the season.
And, we know these are statements are incorrect. Yet, poor editing aside, it doesn’t take away from the great story-telling that Feinstein does in “Living on the Black.”
With this book, he does a great job at bringing us inside the heads of Mussina and Glavine. I was amazed to see that Glavine actually ‘lost’ his change-up during the season – and to see what he had to do in order to recover it. And, I was elightened to see how Mussina struggled with his confidence last season – and how much that impacted his season.
Oh, and as a Yankees fan, you also get to enjoy reading through how the Mets choked in 2007.
I could see where some might not enjoy all the detail – almost game by game at times – in this book. But, again, for me, thanks to John Feinstein’s enjoyable style of writing – where it’s just like a ‘normal’ person talking to you and not someone trying to show you how smart they are, etc. – the game detail was not an issue.
I was very happy to have a chance to read this book. As a Yankees fan, it gave me a new appreciation of Mike Mussina. And, as a baseball fan, it provided me with some great insight on Tom Glavine too. Feinstein shows you that they’re people, just like you and me, even though they’ve both won so many major league games.
With the baseball regular season coming to a close, and October soon to come and leave in a flash, if you’re looking for something to extend your attention on the game – in a way that you can enjoy and learn some things as well – I highly recommend reading “Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember.”