Red Sox Rule by Michael Holley

(I’m catching up on some books that came out in 2008 that I wasn’t able to get to during the regular season…a bit shorter review than normal, but hopefully enough to give you some insight to the book.)

Without question, the Red Sox have been one of the most dominant teams in the past five years, which is coincidentally when Terry Francona took over as manager. Brought to Beantown following the Grady Little incident in the 2003 ALCS, he has managed to step into the fire of Red Sox Nation without burning his feet.

Michael Holley is quick to recognize the apparent connection of Francona’s arrival and the success of the Red Sox, and offers 202 pages on the man who has been at the healm of the club since 2004.

This is a good read for Red Sox fans looking to learn a bit more about Francona, both on and off the field. Like many, he’s taken an interesting route to get where he is, and like most, it hasn’t been a straight or easy path to the manager’s chair. Having met Francona on several occasions, I wouldn’t say he’s the most dynamic fellow I’ve ever come across, and the book didn’t do anything to change my opinion of him. It provides quite a bit of information on him that I didn’t know before, but given that he’s 3,000 miles away from me, its immediate relevance is a bit tougher to discern.

For non-Red Sox fans, such as myself, the insight into Francona may be a bit more than most folks would like to spend 200 pages on. He’s a darn good manager, but it’s more of a biopic as opposed to a strategy book, although there are some nuggets scattered throughout about how he approaches the game from a strategic sense. You might read this and end up really liking Francona…or you might get to the end and say to yourself, “ok, nice story – now what?”

By no means is Red Sox Rule a bad read – I’d just want to know your interest in the subject matter before giving it a whole-hearted recommendation. If you cheer for the Red Sox, read it – you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not a Red Sox fan, proceed at your own risk — I can’t guarantee you’ll get that into it.

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