Where nobody knows your name Life in the minor leagues of baseball

John Feinstein

Book - 2014

"A fascinating account of the mysterious proving ground of America's national pastime, pulling back the veil on the minor leagues of baseball."--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Doubleday [2014]
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 368 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780385535939
0385535937
Main Author
John Feinstein (-)
  • Scott Elarton: starting over
  • Podsednik and Montoyo: the walk-off hero and the .400 hitter
  • Lindsey, Schwinden, and Lollo: the mayor, the traveler, and the ump
  • Rolling with the punches in Allentown, Pawtucket, Norfolk
  • Johnson and Montoyo: managing expectations
  • Sent down, called up
  • Schwinden and Podsednik: life on the roller coaster
  • Wally Backman: second chances
  • All roads lead to Norfolk
  • Nate McLouth: comeback kid
  • Elarton: still one step away
  • On the road in pinstripes
  • Managing, Indianapolis
  • Schwinden and Lindsey: home sweet home
  • Jamie Farr would be proud
  • Weekend in Toledo
  • Brett Tomko: more than nine lives
  • Mark Lollo: traveling the umpiring road
  • Managing the highs and lows
  • I-75
  • Elarton: pigs (not) in the bigs, and the ever-present revolving door
  • Columbus
  • Montoyo to Longoria: hot summer nights in Durham
  • Charlotte
  • Podsednik: hot streak
  • Ron Johnson: real life gets serious
  • Maine and Schwinden: comebacks
  • One at-bat in eight years
  • Elarton: fighting father time
  • Voices of the minors
  • The endless month
  • Syracuse, Washington, Columbus
  • Tomko and Lindsey: it's never over till...
  • Syracuse
  • Lollo: a bad call
  • March to September
  • Lollo and Tomko: ending.
Review by Booklist Reviews

The prolific and best-selling Feinstein here spends a year (the 2012 season) with the players and managers (and others) of the Triple A International League, the apex of minor-league baseball. But, as Feinstein makes clear both explicitly and with the telling detail and quote, it is a wholly different culture and a long way from the majors, which remains the dream of all ­participants—newcomers, those who have made it there previously (in a few cases as stars), and those who, in the course of a season, make the trip up and back, sometimes with astounding frequency. It is a frustrating experience, far from luxurious, and there is a sameness and a sadness to the individual lives. They are rivals rather than pals, all looking to go up, and the primary function of the teams is player development more than winning. As Feinstein's focus is on a cross section of the league, including the Durham Bulls and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, rather than on a particular team, the book lacks the drama of, say, a pennant race. Like the players, Feinstein's account has its ups and downs, but it is sure to interest true fans of the game. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Feinstein gets a level of marketing support and media attention unknown to most authors of sports books; his latest will be no exception. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Minor league baseball: it's played in small towns nationwide, so it would seem to be the heart and soul of American baseball. But everyone in the game is on the way up, on the way down, or just fighting to be noticed, and top-drawer sportswriter Feinstein aims to capture its particular pathos. [Page 70]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

With firsthand interviews and an omniscient presence, Feinstein (Washington Post columnist; Season on the Brink) chronicles a diverse range of personalities experiencing the grind of a minor league season and sharing an ambition to reach the majors. The author believes poignant sporting narratives are not made by recounting the lives of immortal players or legendary events, but rather by portraying "the guys who love their games, even though they often fail while playing them." And it is these unheralded individuals Feinstein depicts. For highly touted prospects, the minors are a temporary initiation to the rigors of professional baseball before reaching the majors. Yet, for most, these leagues are an inescapable reality of brief call-ups and a constant revolving door between organizations. VERDICT Feinstein accomplishes more than revealing an aspect of baseball that many fans overlook or relegate to a subsidiary of the major leagues. He presents relatable characters whose dedication and sacrifice create empathy. While primarily recommended to baseball fans for its survey of a misunderstood aspect of the sport, all readers may gain inspiration from the perseverance of underdogs pursuing a lifelong passion.—Stephen Arougheti, Arizona State Univ., Phoenix [Page 92]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Seasoned sportswriter Feinstein has embedded himself with an NFL team (Next Man Up), gone behind the scenes at college basketball's Final Four (Last Dance) and traveled on professional golf's PGA Tour (A Good Walk Spoiled). Now, he turns his attention to Triple-A baseball—which either serves as the final step up to a Major League team or the first one down to what could be an arduous and frustrating journey into retirement. Feinstein chronicles the 2012 season through the lives of five players, two managers, and one umpire. Nate McLouth was an All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 before his batting average plummeted and he was sent to the minors, Ron Johnson was demoted from first-base coach for the Boston Red Sox in 2011 after a colossal collapse and was managing the Norfolk Tides and Mark Lollo, in his 11th season of umpiring, had only worked six Major League games. Ultimately, Feinstein swings and misses this time around, with scattershot storytelling across 37 chapters of disjointed and melodramatic magazine-style vignettes. This exercise in repetition focuses on the anxieties of moving up and down baseball's ladder, the perils of tight travel schedules, the heartbreak of recurring injuries and the inevitable role aging plays in a young man's game. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Seasoned sportswriter Feinstein has embedded himself with an NFL team (Next Man Up), gone behind the scenes at college basketball's Final Four (Last Dance) and traveled on professional golf's PGA Tour (A Good Walk Spoiled). Now, he turns his attention to Triple-A baseball—which either serves as the final step up to a Major League team or the first one down to what could be an arduous and frustrating journey into retirement. Feinstein chronicles the 2012 season through the lives of five players, two managers, and one umpire. Nate McLouth was an All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 before his batting average plummeted and he was sent to the minors, Ron Johnson was demoted from first-base coach for the Boston Red Sox in 2011 after a colossal collapse and was managing the Norfolk Tides and Mark Lollo, in his 11th season of umpiring, had only worked six Major League games. Ultimately, Feinstein swings and misses this time around, with scattershot storytelling across 37 chapters of disjointed and melodramatic magazine-style vignettes. This exercise in repetition focuses on the anxieties of moving up and down baseball's ladder, the perils of tight travel schedules, the heartbreak of recurring injuries and the inevitable role aging plays in a young man's game. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A New York Times best-selling sportswriter takes readers deep within the secretive inner-workings of the minor leagues through the stories of eight men who are living on the cusp of the dream—some of who have tasted major league success and some of who have toiled for long careers. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Explores the secretive inner-workings of the minor leagues through the stories of eight men who are living on the cusp of the dream--some who have tasted major league success and some who have toiled for long careers.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the acclaimed #1 bestselling author . . . a riveting journey through the world of minor-league baseball“No one grows up playing baseball pretending that they’re pitching or hitting in Triple-A.” —Chris Schwinden, Triple-A pitcher“If you don’t like it here, do a better job.” —Ron Johnson, Triple-A managerJohn Feinstein gave readers an unprecedented view of the PGA Tour in A Good Walk Spoiled. He opened the door to an NCAA basketball locker room in his explosive bestsellerA Season on the Brink. Now, turning his eye to our national pastime, sports journalist John Feinstein explores the colorful and mysterious world of minor-league baseball—a gateway through which all major-league players pass in their careers . . . hoping never to return.Baseball’s minor leagues are a paradox. For some players, the minors are a glorious launching pad toward years of fame and fortune; for others, a crash-landing pad when injury or poor play forces a big leaguer back to a life of obscure ballparks and cramped buses instead of Fenway Park and plush charter planes. Focusing exclusively on the Triple-A level, one step beneath Major League Baseball, Feinstein introduces readers to nine unique men: three pitchers, three position players, two managers, and an umpire. Through their compelling stories, Feinstein pulls back the veil on a league that is chock-full of gifted baseball players, managers, and umpires who are all one moment away from getting called up—or back—to the majors.The stories are hard to believe: a first-round draft pick and pitching ace who rocketed to major-league success before finding himself suddenly out of the game, hatching a presumptuous plan to get one more shot at the mound; a home run–hitting former World Series hero who lived the dream, then bounced among six teams before facing the prospects of an unceremonious end to his career; a big-league All-Star who, in the span of five months, went from being completely out of baseball to becoming a star in the ALDS, then signing a $10 million contract; and a well-liked designated hitter who toiled for eighteen seasons in the minors—a record he never wanted to set—before facing his final, highly emotional chance for a call-up to the big leagues.From Raleigh to Pawtucket, from Lehigh Valley to Indianapolis and beyond, Where Nobody Knows Your Name gives readers an intimate look at a baseball world not normally seen by the fans. John Feinstein gets to the heart of the human stories in a uniquely compelling way, crafting a masterful book that stands alongside his very best works.