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A Pitchers Story Paperback – 1 Apr 2002
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Review: Mr. Angell is one of the best baseball writers, and he took on a new format with this book. "Cone has agreed . . . to let me hang around with him during the coming season . . . ." This was the 2000 season with the New York Yankees. During that year when he was 37, Mr. Cone experienced injuries, pain, and painful emotions. His won-loss record was 4-14 and you don't want to know his e.r.a.
In fact, the strength of this book is that it explains about the pain that pitchers endure very well. There's "good" pain which is from sore muscles and "bad" pain which comes from sore joints. " . . . [G]ood old 'normal soreness' on the day after you pitched felt as if you'd been punched hard in the arm about fifty times." In fact, major league pitchers "take pride in their mental toughness." One of Mr. Cone's role models was Orel Hershiser's remarkable performance in the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers.
One of the challenges of such extreme pain is that you can have a serious medical problem and not realize it. In Mr. Cone's case, he had a life-threatening aneurism that was creating blood clots, but was hard to diagnose. Fortunately, the aneurism finally was and he lived to tell the story. "Dr. Hershon saved my life."
You will learn a lot about Mr. Cone's character. After his perfect game in 1984, he spent over $200,000 to buy Swiss Ebel wathces for teammates, coaches, family friends and advisers. "I just got lucky and wanted to remember some of the people who'd helped."
Unlike a lot of big leaguers who complain about their parents, Mr. Cone is respectful about his father. "He wasn't proving anything through me."
Although the book focuses on the 2000 season, you also get standard biographical information about growing up. You may learn more about Mr. Cone's youth in Kansas City than you wanted to know . . . unless you are a youth player now.
The discussions about the relationships between pitchers and catchers were interesting. That would make a great book!
There is a short discussion of pitching mechanics. Mr. Cone credits his style of staying on the rubber longer than other pitchers as contributing to his success. Coaches were always trying to get him to stop doing that. More information on this point would have been helpful.
After you finish enjoying the well-written prose and new facts about Mr. Cone and pitching that you learn from this book, I suggest you think about what your attitude should be towards pain. When should it remind you to seek help? When should you use it to steel your resolve? When should you ignore it? What other obstacles should you be focusing on overcoming . . . and under what circumstances?
Look and move beyond surmountable obstacles to live your dreams! Focus on your optimism and hopes!!
I wanted to read this book about David Cone. The book was originally supposed to be about the craft of pitching, how a top level pitcher prepares and the mechanics of pitching. That is the book that Roger Angell intended to write. However, when Cone's mechanics broke down and his season fell apart, Angell stayed with him and realized that he had a completely different story. This is the story of David Cone's last season with the Yankees and the collapse of a talented ballplayer.
Baseball is a game of digression. Since the only action in the game takes place during frenzied bursts of motion between long periods of waiting, this gives the sportswriters and broadcasters time to talk about the game at hand as well as games and moments from years past. This is a good thing to think about as you begin to read the book. Roger Angell takes us through the 2000 season of David Cone. He also provides a biography of Cone as well as moments from different parts of his pitching career. This is just like a baseball game where everything is connected to history. What is happening in May might recall David's rookie year, or his high school days. This is how the book goes, from the 2000 season when Angell is spending time with Cone right to David's childhood and back again. It may feel at times that there is very little organization, but I felt that it had part of the natural flow of watching (or listening to) a baseball game.
Some readers might be put off by the lack of chronology to the book and that it jumps around quite a bit. It is a little distracting, but it wasn't bad at all in my mind. It just felt like this is the way you tell the baseball story. I was completely enthralled by this book and I'm glad that I got the chance to read about one of my favorite pitchers from my childhood.
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