Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Five best books about baseball as a business

Richard J. Tofel, author of A Legend in the Making: The New York Yankees in 1939, named a list of the five best books on baseball as a business for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
As They See ’Em
by Bruce Weber
Scribner, 2009

Though not about home-run- ­hitting batters, fast-balling ­pitchers or pennant-winning managers, this is the best baseball book of any type in years. New York Times reporter Bruce Weber provides a fascinating tour of the subculture of Major League umpires—how they are trained, how they live and how they think. They are a tribal group, Weber says, with carefully crafted rituals and an intense focus on how to maintain respect. Weber recounts the confrontation ­between the umpires and MLB in 1999—the reverberations from which are still being felt in the tense relations between umpires and management. When it comes to automated systems that are ­designed to detect balls and strikes—a potential source for “reviewing” umpire calls—Weber acknowledges their accuracy but worries about their effect on the game. Overall, he provides a vivid portrait of what it feels like to have a job in which 50,000 people can happily and lawfully scream that you ought to be “killed.”
Read about another book on the list.

Also see Tom Werner's six favorite baseball books, Fay Vincent's five best list of baseball books, Tim McCarver's five best list of baseball books, and Nicholas Dawidoff's five best list of baseball novels.

--Marshal Zeringue