This was a great book for the true baseball fan. It’s not terribly exciting (except for the part when Glavine finally gets his 300th career win), and fairly dry in its style. But I enjoyed reading it, because it gave me some real insight on what goes on in a major league baseball player’s head during a season.
In Living On the Black, Feinstein follows Tom Glavine (NY Mets) and Mike Mussina (NY Yankees) during the 2007 season. Being a Red Sox fan, it was hard to wrap my head around reading a book that was half about a Yankees pitcher. But, after doing so, I have an enormous amount of respect for both Glavine and Mussina, two pitchers who were, in 2007, very close to the end of their careers. I learned a lot about MLB pitchers in this book, and even more about the game that I love so much.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a deep-seated love for baseball. One of the things I especially loved was toward the end of the book. After Tom Glavine started the last game of the season for the Mets (which was lost in a very bad way), he was asked by the press how devastating the loss was, because it knocked them out of the playoffs. “Devastation is for much more important things in life than baseball,” he said. “I wouldn’t use that word.” This immediately sparked cries among the fans that he didn’t care. Later, though, Tom said this: “I think once you become a parent, your entire outlook on life changes. To me, devastating is finding out that a neighbor’s eight-year-old is going to lose a leg to cancer. Hurricane Katrina was devastating. Devastating to me involves life and death or the health of a child.” He goes on to say that if he had been asked how disappointing it was, he would have said that he had never been as disappointed on a baseball field as he was that day. He just wasn’t going to allow someone to put the word devastated in his mouth. I have a very deep respect for this man after reading that. He seems to have his priorities straight.