I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of fiction – but when I heard about Frank Deford’s new book The Entitled, I decided to put my bias to the side – and I’m very glad I was.
The Entitled is the tale of Howie Traveler, a manager who struggled up the ladder and finally landed a major league job – only to be on the hot seat because he has lost his touch with his Jay Alcazar, his megastar outfielder.
It’s when Howie sees something at Jay’s hotel room door, he is challenged with making an ethical decision between protecting his player and the team or admitting what he saw when a woman brings a rape charge against the slugger.
Complimenting this conflict is the development of both Howie and Jay as individuals – particularly Jay, who returns to Cuba, where he was born but taken away from as a young child, where he goes in search of his mother only to have his foundation shaken about who he is.
The Entitled is a brilliantly written novel meshing old-time baseball values with the current climate of multi-million dollar contracts and superstar players.
Deford is a six time National Sportswriter of the Year and a contributor to Sports Illustrated – and he takes you inside today’s game better than most non-fiction books I’ve read. His ability to illustrate the real-world climate of modern baseball shines through as you see that both manager and player are much deeper and broader characters than a stereotypical ballplayer.
The Entitled by Frank Deford should be on your must reads this season – it made me a fan and I think it will make you one too.