Is This a Great Game, or What?: From A-Rod's Heart to Zim's Head--My 25 Years in Baseball
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Is This a Great Game, or What?: From A-Rod's Heart to Zim's Head--My 25 Years in Baseball

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  307 ratings  ·  45 reviews
ESPN's Tim Kurkjianhas spent over twenty-five years coveringalmost 3,000 Major League Baseball games andinterviewing about that many players, coaches, managers and executives.
In Is This a Great Game, or What?, Kurkjian combines his years of experience, uncanny knowledge and deep love of the game, to create a book filled with some of the most fascinating insight into Major...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 16th 2007)
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This book is simultaneously pointless and incredibly wonderful; I mean, it's mostly 275 pages of Kurkjian telling baseball stories, which is, ultimately, pointless, but he's a good writer, funny and observant, and he tells stories on just about everybody in the major (and sometimes minor) leagues in the course of the book. Not a book to read if you want to be made to think or consider the greater implications of baseball, but funny and full of good stories.

(I'd have given Kurkjian four stars ins...more
Oct 12, 2007 Emily marked it as to-read
Shelves: baseball_books
Ok, I adore Tim Kurkjian. And not just because he once CALLED ME PERSONALLY after I wrote him a letter. He is an insightful baseball mind who truly LOVES the game. He is so warm and enthusiastic about it. He is my favorite part of Baseball Tonight on ESPN.

(Ok, I know you didn't ask, but here's the story: At the Philly airport 3 years ago, while waiting to board a return flight, my sister and I struck up a conversation with an elderly lady. We made small talk, and she asked what I did for a livi...more
Baseball. It is my one true summertime love, and this book reinforced that through and through. Kurkjian has been covering baseball for twenty-five years in one way or another, and his deep love for the game is both evident and infectious. I especially loved the many references to early-1990s baseball (when Kurkjian was a beat writer) because that's when I was in my childhood baseball-loving prime, and so many of the player names are familiar and wonderful: Andy Van Slyke, Jim Deshaies, Roberto...more
Pure baseball homerness. Quick, easy, and will make you want baseball back in your life.
Nathan Kemp
Fun book. Only thing I didn't like was the scatter-brained writing style.
Michael Hannaford
Fluffy. Entertaining in places but not the best baseball book I've ever read.
Donald Harwick
A very fast, enjoyable read. I love baseball and it's stories so this book made for very good entertainment. However, the flow of thought was disjointed in most of the chapters. The author usually focused on one subject in each chapter, such as fear in the game, etc., but many of the stories were run together. However, I could read baseball literature all the time and never tire of it. Ever! I will likely re-read this.
Dustin Gaughran
Not bad. Timmy K loves baseball, and that comes through. I appreciate his enthusiasm, and admire the fact that he gets to basically watch baseball for a living.
The book is a collection of stories and odd facts assembled from the various parts of baseball life. It's a little dated already, but that's hard to avoid. It doesn't detract from the book much, except when it comes to the 'roiders.
One thing about the book that I don't like is the editing. So many small mistakes are littered through out...more
Timothy Diem
Kurkjian has an encyclopedic brain when it comes to the game and the book comes off much like a conversation as he riffs from story to story dropping tidbits from the past as he goes. It may be that since this book was in my wheelhouse, as it were, TK telling stories centered on the guys I grew up watching, but I really enjoyed the walk down memory lane, wandering around as it went.

I do think the chapter on fear in big league players and the one in which he talks about what the competitive youth...more
Tom Gase
Pleasantly surprised by reading this book. Got it for a dollar at the book fair and wouldn't have purchased it if not for a dollar. However it was a very enjoyable read, kind of read like a Roger Angell book, although not quite as good. A lot of great stories about players and baseball events that Kurkijian witnessed since covering the game in the early 1980s. Some great stories about Earl Weaver, Ricky Henderson, Matt Nokes, Mike Flannigan, as well as countless others. The only problem I had wi...more
Gary Anderson
After a a recent blog post about baseball books I've read in the past year, Josh and Brad--friends and good baseball buys--both recommended this book to me within 24 hours. They were right.

Tim Kurkjian draws on his 25 years as a baseball writer to give his perspectives on various quirks and crannies of the game. Each chapter includes interesting anecdotes, most of which I'd never heard.

Opening day is still about six weeks away. This book is a great way to bide that time.
As someone who loves baseball, but struggles with memior style baseball books, I can confidently say that Tim Kurkjian has written one of the most entertaining and engaging baseball books I have ever read. Kurkjian is a brilliant, yet humble baseball enthusiast who has been fortunate to experience so much following the game he loves over his career. We are fortunate that he can so eloquently share these experiences with his readers.
Jul 01, 2007 Frankie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Baseball fans/historians
One of the best baseball minds of the past 30 years. Kurkjian's personal stories and anecdotes are a joy to read and I found myself laughing out loud at some of his wacky tales. As far as baseball knowledge is concerned he hasn't quite reached the level of Peter Gammons but he is definitely nipping at his heels. This book is chock full of stats, jokes, stories and personal accounts that baseball fans of all ages can enjoy.
BORING! Imagine if every paragraph started with one of the following phrases: "No one works harder than [insert baseball player's name]" or "There isn't a nicer guy that [insert another baseball player's name]" or "[Baseball player] is the most competitive person I know." That's what this whole book was -- I got through it because I love baseball, but it was challenging.
Reviewer A. absolutely hit it on the head:

"This book is simultaneously pointless and incredibly wonderful."

Now, I might hedge on "incredibly wonderful," but there are a number of good stories in here, the kind of stories that can only come from gossip in the locker room. Roger Angell he is not, and there is an arbitrariness at play, but overall it is enjoyable to read.
A great summer read whether you love baseball or are a casual fan. The stories are interesting, the writing is great and the book moves. Some of the best chapters are later in the book - especially the one dealing with players' fears. Once you read about the nightmare of getting hit with the ball, you will have a new respect for the game and those who play it.
Alex Lennon
Fantastically entertaining. A great travel read. One hilarious anecdote after another. Must read for baseball fans (or those wondering if they should become one).
Winnie Bertrand
Really it's just a collection of stories some about the baseball teams and individual players Kurkjian has covered and others about things that have happened to him along the way but he's a great story teller and very funny. If you're not a baseball fan you may enjoy some of it but not all of it.
Zack Norman
I love Kurkjian!

He wrote this book very similar to how he writes his segments on ESPN. The entire book is filled with great baseball facts, history and stories from people involved in all aspects of the game. If you like Tim in ESPN, this book is a must read.
Great baseball book. If you want a behind-the-scenes look at the game from one of best, this is it. Tim has great insight into the past, present and future of the game. He goes into great detail about how the game thrives and keeps from advancing. Excellent casual read.
A fun read - it's essentially great baseball stories told in a way only Tim Kurkjian can, put into some historical context. It's not a retrospective or analysis- just great stories that will make you all warm and fuzzy about baseball.
This is a wonderful book filled with real-life stories that display the quirkiness, history and passion that make baseball such a great sport. Tim Kurkjian's love of the game is obvious and infectious. I finished this book wanting more.
A collection of stories that Kurkjian, who has covered baseball for various media outlets for twenty-five years, uses to make his case that baseball is still a great game even with all the problems recently.
Kurkjian provides us with an in-depth look at all sides of baseball, from giving signs to spring training. Kurkjian's passion for baseball is evident in the way he writes about these inside stories.
Kurkjian just tells stories from his time on the beat in Baltimore and just following baseball in general. I always liked him on ESPN so I was excited to read this and he didn't disappoint.
May 27, 2008 Don rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: baseball fans
Shelves: sports
Easy read, collection of anecdotes from Kurkjian, positive book about baseball. Full thoughts here.
Aug 20, 2007 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: baseball lovers
Shelves: 2007-books
What a fun read! It is full of anecdotes about baseball for the last 30 years. A definite read for baseball lovers. I was really "struck" by the chapter regarding baseball injuries.
Tom Rudig
What a pleasure. If you're a baseball fan, you'll treasure this book. If you're not a fan, you'll become one after reading this book. I found myself laughing out loud.
Julie Elliott
A fun book for baseball fans--keeps a smile on your face from opening bit about his brief experience covering football to the very end. Easily can be read in one sitting.
This is an easy read and Tim Kurkjian has some amusing stories to tell about his life in baseball. There is nothing too controversial, but it is a fun read.
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