The incredible inside story of power, money, and baseball's last twenty years.
In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation.
It is a tipping point for baseball, a crucial moment in the game's history that catalyzes a struggle for power by three strong-willed men: Commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and union leader Don Fehr. It's their uneasy alliance at the end of decades of struggle that pulls the game back from the brink and turns it into a money-making powerhouse that enriches them all.
This is the real story of baseball, played out against a tableau of stunning athletic feats, high-stakes public battles, and backroom political deals -- with a supporting cast that includes Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, George Bush and George Mitchell, and many more.
Drawing from hundreds of extensive, exclusive interviews throughout baseball, The Game is a stunning achievement: a rigorously reported book and the must-read, fly-on-the-wall, definitive account of how an enormous struggle for power turns disaster into baseball's Golden Age.
The action is in the boardroom, not the ballpark, in this dramatic account of the business side of baseball. Journalist Pessah follows the 23-year reign of retiring baseball commissioner Bud Selig. During his tenure, the sport wrestled with labor conflicts over ballooning player salaries, including a work stoppage that cancelled the 1994 World Series; a split between large-market and small-market teams over revenue-sharing; and the simmering scandal of steroid abuse, which threatens to wreck the game (after helping rescue it by fostering crowd-pleasing home run hitters). Pessah sometimes styles Selig as the man who saved baseball, but that judgment is belied by the hard-hitting substance of his narrative, which often shows the comissioner using underhanded tactics and making ill-considered decisions in pursuit of the narrow interests of owners (especially himself). Depicted as more heroic are Don Fehr, the players' union chief who parried Selig's maneuvers, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, the always entertaining tyrant who built great teams while improving the sport's finances. Pessah includes engaging play-by-play from key games, but his focus is on contract negotiations, revenue models, politics, deal-cutting, and the commercial calculations behind moving a team or injecting steroids. The resulting account of off-field strategizing is as engrossing as any stadium showdown.