Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Bill James Handbook 2008

The Bill James 2008 Handbook

Reviewing a book such as The Bill James Handbook 2008 is a tough job – mainly because so much of it is statistics that aren’t really grounds for review. There are only a few pages of articles and opinion — so that’s what I’ll focus on.

By far the most interesting and progressive part of the book was James’ section on which teams have the best young talent – and who the most talented young players are. James takes on the challenge of placing a value on youth in a quest to name the best players under age 29. His Young Talent Inventory is certainly something that every baseball fan should take a look at – as the results will surely spark debate in your circle of fellow seamheads.

The real question is what will you do with this book? While James is known for producing some great analysis of baseball – he challenges you to do the same by providing you pages and pages of data to draw your own conclusions from. If nothing less – I think it would be fair to say that he hopes you’ll become a more engaged and aware fan by having a concise resource to reference.

If you’re not a fantasy baseball player, you may dismiss this title as something that doesn’t need to be on your bookshelf. However – if you’re in to having information at your fingertips – regardless of your involvement in a fantasy league – this should have a spot within arms reach.

What do you think about The Bill James Handbook 2008? Join the discussion and post your comments!

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Get In the Game – by Cal Ripken, Jr.

Cal Ripken, Jr. - Get In the Game

Imagine if so many people asked you the same question that it compelled you to write a book about it?

Welcome to the world of Cal Ripken, Jr.

The question – as you may have guessed – is “how did you do it?” in reference to his streak of playing in 2,632 consecutive Major League ballgames. And it’s an obvious question to ask.

Ripken answers the question in eight chapters (a convenient tie-in to the number he wore) which make up his eight principles for success. They’re your fairly standard motivational topics — love what you do, trust those around you, and so on. If you’ve read any best-selling business or self-improvement book that’s come out in the past ten years or so, you should be fairly familiar with the topic.

Ripken incorporates a lot of his baseball experience into his writing – which makes this book a bit unique. I wouldn’t call it rich with baseball history, but there are some funny stories and anecdotes that someone researching Ripken’s career would find pretty interesting.

If you find inspiration in Cal Ripken, Jr. and what he accomplished by setting the consecutive games played streak – I think this could be a fairly enjoyable read for you. If Ripken isn’t your thing, I wouldn’t give this an outright recommendation for you — borrow it from a friend or the library – and only if you have some extra time.

As with any motivational book – the question that ultimately decides its quality is how you use it to change your life. I could very easily see this book lighting a fire under somebody – especially a few decades from now when Ripken’s legend will have grown and people will be seeking insight into his life and career.

However, I have to wonder how squeezed out the motivational book category has become…and what people will make of Ripken’s achievement based on his writings.

What do you think about Cal Ripken, Jr.’s Get In the Game? Join the discussion and post your thoughts!

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