3 Nights in August
Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager
This inside view with the Cardinals’ Tony La Russa by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Friday Night Lights “should appeal to any baseball fan” (Publishers Weekly).
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
“Plenty of books have taken us inside baseball, but August takes us directly inside players’ heads.” —Entertainment Weekly
3 Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball’s quintessential form: the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival, the Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball.
A great leader, La Russa built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play. Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy that offers many surprisingly tactical insights—and furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative afterword.
“Superb . . . Will be devoured by hard-core strategists.” —The New York Times Book Review
Bissinger eschews the usual method of writing about baseball in the context of a season or a career, choosing instead to dissect the game by carefully watching one three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in late 2003. The Pulitzer-winning journalist and author of Friday Night Lights had unprecedented access to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, as well as his staff and team, and he used that entr e to pick La Russa's formidable baseball brain about everything from how he assembles a lineup to why he uses certain relievers. As the series unfolds, Bissinger reveals La Russa's history and personality, conveying the manager's intensity and his compulsive need to be prepared for any situation that might arise during " 'the war' of each at-bat." Typical characters the gamer, the natural, the headcase, the crafty old timer are present, but Bissinger gives new life to their familiar stories with his insider's view and cheeky descriptions (e.g., "Martinez's response to pressure has been like a 45-rpm record, a timeless hit on one side, and the flip side maybe best forgotten"). Bissinger analyzes each team's pitch-by-pitch strategy and gets the dirt on numerous enduring baseball questions: What does it feel like to have to close your first game in Yankee Stadium? Who knew about players using steroids before the current scandal hit? Do managers tell their pitchers to throw at hitters? Mixing classic baseball stories with little-known details and an exclusive perspective, this work should appeal to any baseball fan.