One of my favorite summer traditions is to start working my way through the great books about or involving baseball. This was of course aided by the efforts of Dustin Parkes over at Getting Blanked. The Toronto baseball scene has benefitted from an overwhelming amount of intelligent baseball writing online and in the spirit of that, Dustin started the Getting Booked Baseball Book Club and has started to organize movie nights at one of the city's historic cinemas.
Through this I've finally sat down and read the Michael Lewis classic Moneyball, Jonah Keri's new bestseller The Extra 2% and Dirk Hayhurst's book The Bullpen Gospels.
I continued on my own though and read John Helyar's Lords of the Realm and I'm about halfway through The Yankee Years by Tom Verducci and Joe Torre. The Yankee Years is an interesting read for me as I've found that my "Yankee-hate" has been lessening in recent years. Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira are just too damn good to not enjoy watching play. This book though is the first that I've read with such a distinct Yankee bias. Getting through the obscene amount of time dedicated to why NY loves Derek Jeter made me actually understand how good he is. I mean, I get it...he's a great ball player (with declining skills) and one hell of a leader. I have my reasons for not liking Derek Jeter, and I'll make them a little more known when the Yankees come to town next week.
That said, I'd recommend The Yankee Years to any baseball fan. The chapters dedicated to steroid use in the post-strike era made me realize how truly dirty the game was (is?) and also made me understand just how ridiculously good Roger Clemens was when he was in Toronto. With the Toronto media needing to ask the question about Jose Bautista's year last year, it seems that no one wanted to ask the question about Roger's back-to-back Cy Young seasons in Toronto.