Sports writers tend to specialize in one sport or another, but John Feinstein writes about different sports, and does every one equally well. However, his latest book, Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember, is definitely for readers who are more than just casual baseball fans. It's for those readers who are passionate enough to want to read about the 2007 season, following each pitch made by Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina. I'm one of those baseball fanatics.
When Feinstein picked Tom Glavine of the New York Mets and Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees, he selected two experienced pitchers who were very different. He knew if one was injured during the year, he still had another pitcher to follow. Glavine, a lefty, who never went to college, is a future Hall of Famer who spent his career in the National League. Mike Mussina, a righty, went to Stanford, and pitches in the American League. By selecting these two men, Feinstein could also examine the culture of the two New York baseball teams.
Feinstein sets the scene for his book by telling about the careers for these two masterful pitchers. Since Glavine and Mussina both cooperated with the author, it makes for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the lives and careers of the two players. And, then 2007 proved to be an interesting year. Tom Glavine went for his 300th win, and the Mets went down to the wire in their Division. Mike Mussina struggled to find his pitches after spending time on the Disabled List, and the Yankees' woes jeopardized Joe Torre's career. Feinstein's writing is so good that even those of us who remember how 2007 turned out are left hanging on every pitch.
John Feinstein's Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember is one book for baseball fans to savor, and remember.
Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember by John Feinstein. Little, Brown and Company, ©2008. ISBN 978-0-316-11391-5 (hardcover), 526p.