Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember
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Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  857 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Pitchers are at the heart of baseball. Each has the potential to make his team a winner or, very quickly, a loser. The pressure is huge. In the end, only those with both the arm and the heart and the ability to manage extraordinary stress will emerge as champions.

John Feinstein looks into this complex side of the game through the events of one nerve-racking season and thr...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published May 11th 2009 by Back Bay Books (first published May 1st 2008)
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Kerfe
The moral of this story is: don't let someone writing a book (or filming, that's you San Francisco Giants) follow you around for the season. David Cone should have warned Glavine and Mussina.

Despite, or maybe because of, the two pitchers' trying seasons, I enjoyed reading their thoughtful insights and those of their teammates, coaches, and competition, about both the process of pitching and Major League Baseball in general. As a Mets fan, it was a bit depressing to re-live the 2007 collapse, but...more
Kerry
The premise of following two pitchers (Tom Glavine - Metz, Mike Mussina - Yankees) through the 2007 baseball season is the most interesting thing about this book.

The "Black" is the border around a seventeen inches wide home plate. A great pitcher can consistently get the ball over the black edges of the plate. A pitcher who throws straight over the white plate will have a short life in baseball.

home plate

Feinstein originally wanted to write this insider's look about David Cone in 2000, but, as Feinstein...more
A.
Ultimately, my problems with this book aren't the book's problems: it is not, in fact, John Feinstein's fault that I loathe Tom Glavine with the fire of a thousand suns and would cheerfully punch Glavine in the face if ever presented with the opportunity. It's actually a solidly good, interesting book; could have been shorter, could have cut some of the needless Glavine-angsting crap, but overall, I really enjoyed it. There's good stories in it, about the Yankees and Mike Mussina and bit players...more
Spiros
Dec 09, 2010 Spiros rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to relive the Mets falling flat on their asses
A workmanlike account of the 2007 seasons of two veteran pitchers, Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina, in the twilights of their outstanding careers. As it happened, both were pitching for their respective New York teams, which were both vying for slots in the post season. The story is engaging enough, but I get the feeling that baseball isn't Feinstein's main sport; he denigrates young players who were on their way to becoming very good ("the immortal Wandy Rodriguez"), and refers to Derek Lowe as ha...more
Andrew Kubasek
I originally bought this book hoping that it would provide insight into the most unique position in baseball - pitching.

And it did have insight, plenty of it. The problem was that the insights were occasionally dull or common sense (so, I guess, not technically an insight), or the information was hidden under piles and piles of other information.

The book claimed to follow two pitchers through one full season. In that, it succeeded. It's success weighed it down, though, as going almost pitch-by-p...more
♥Beleza★✰
This is an account of the lives of two major league pitchers, one for the Yankees and one for the Mets during the entire 2007 season, from off-season work to spring training and real baseball.

Before we get to 2007 John Feinstein gives us a history of their lives leading up to this year.

Even though I am a big baseball and Yankee fan I didn’t quite love this book. At one point I remembered how 2007 ended and almost quit. It is incredibly detailed, at time too detailed which tended to make it drag...more
Adrian
Feinstein conceives an idea to follow two pitchers for an entire season charting their ups and downs. He chooses Tom Glavine, a Met, and Mike Mussina, a Yankee, as his two subjects for 2007. The book begins with a potted history of each pitcher's career up to 2007. As the season progresses Feinstein reveals the fragile nature of each pitcher's confidence. It is surprising how often they tinker with their mechanics and how unnerved they get by bad umpiring. Glavine's 2007 is more dramatic. He win...more
William Johnson
I don't think I've ever been so deep into a book and gave it the old 'abandoned' treatment. 310 pages in and I had to just say 'enough'. The book is very educational but it lacks any excitement! And Feinstein, who shows no neutrality when dealing with his subjects, finds himself defeated by the endless baseball season as he ends up repeating himself far too often and having no creative ideas when things get a bit repetitive.

A noble effort and I gave it quite a looooong chance (I read 300+ pages)...more
Mike
This would be a 4 star book if Feinstein had taken a hundred or so pages out. Glavine and Mussina were very compelling in a way I found surprising, but there are times that Feinstein acts like he is writing for the encyclopedia, and he falls back on some hoary cliches from time to time on top of it all. There are four average players who Feinstein dubs as "the immortal so-and-s0" over the course of the book
Mason
Jul 28, 2011 Mason added it
I like John Feinstein. I like Mike Mussina. I like Tom Glavine. Why is this book so bloody annoying?! Could it be there is no real story? Could it be Feinstein's writing voice is perfect for radio? I tried fifty pages to figure out the source of my pain and eventually gave up. Hardcore Yanks or Mets fans (or even some rosy-glassed Braves fans) might find something here. I found little.
John Kaufmann
This book tracks two of baseball's best pitchers, Jim Mussina and Tom Glavine, through their last year. It compares and contrasts similarities between the two over their excellent careers, and follows them through the 2007 season. The book covers their ups and downs and struggles through a long, trying season. What I found most interesting was the physical and mental adjustments they had to make to try to compensate for their declining skill-set. The book also gives some biographical background...more
Travis
Jul 19, 2012 Travis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans, ppl who like tom glavine/mike mussina
Recommended to Travis by: i did
awesome!!!!!
Kevin
An interesting premise that failed to deliver. Feinstein came up with a great idea to follow around a couple of pitchers for an entire season in order to get an inside look at how a starting pitcher's season progresses from the inside. Feinstein did himself a big favor by picking a couple of future Hall of Famers (anyone who doubts Mussina's credentials should check out his comps on baseball-reference) who are also generally regarded as being intelligent and thoughtful guys. Unfortunately, Feins...more
John
John Feinstein’s Living on the Black has a lot going for it, not the least of which is a unique and intriguing concept: take two pitchers, Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina, both worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, and follow each of them though one complete baseball season – a season that became a landmark for each man.
Living my entire life in the American Southwest, I’ve never been a fan of either the New York Yankees or the New York Mets. The Cincinnati Reds won my heart during my boyhood, and...more
Ron Kaplan
John Feinstein� s latest tome considers two veteran major leaguers plying their craft during the 2007 season search of major milestones in the magnifying glass of the media frenzy that is New York. Tom Glavine won his 300th game with the Mets last year, while Mike Mussina, a member of the cross-town Yankees, won his 250th.[return][return]Feinstein painstakingly chronicles these athletes as they inch towards their lofty accomplishments. Glavine has since returned to the Atlanta Braves, for whom h...more
Samantha
John Feinstein is a very good sports author. I love most of his books. I thought this was an interesting concept for a book. I enjoy both pitchers, Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine, that he chose to follow. Mr. Feinstein showed a different side of both pitchers. He had a great season to follow with the New York Mets collapse and the New York Yankees fighting to make the playoffs. I really enjoyed Mike Mussina's breaking down of what a pitcher truly is and what they do.

Now the bad, I hated that Mr....more
N.
Growing up listening to Orioles games, I was primarily interested in the Mike Mussina story. Being a sport "nerd" and still a fan of the Orioles, the book did a great job of helping me recall when he left the Orioles and why I still follow him when he became a Yankee. Surprisingly, Feinstein does a good job of making me care about the Tom Glavine story. The contrast between the pitcher help keep the story fresh. The book insight into pitching may not be fresh to some people, but Feinstein does a...more
Jeff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Dodson
Very detailed account how two accomplished major league pitchers nearing the end of their careers go through the ups and downs of a long 2007 baseball season. The narrative shifts back and forth between Tom Glavine’s Mets and Mike Mussina’s Yankees in sort of a documentary style which gives you a sense that you’re there listening in and observing. Throughout, there’s a lot of emphasis on the effect the constant scrutiny from the New York media has on both teams. You’ll get a good sense of the mi...more
Mark
An inside look at two of the game's great pitchers, at least one of whom is probably destined for the Hall of Fame, and written by one of the premier sports writers of our time, this book followed Tom Glavine of the New York Mets and Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees through the 2007 season. Glavine started the season needing 10 wins to reach the 300 victory plateau, while Mussina was withing striking distance of 250. Both pitchers were veterans on teams that were expected to compete for the...more
Michael
Linda left this for me to read - since I don't have a corner bookstore, I am much less inclined to pass over books that don't look interesting. Particularly a hardback that runs over 500 pages!

This tom describes the 2007 season for Mike Mussina (Yankees) and Tom Glavine (Mets). I was thinking I would give it 50 pages, but I was pulled in quite quickly, although I'm not sure why - I'm hardly a baseball fan.

Sometimes the detailed inning-by-inning descriptions of games that they pitched got to be...more
Charles M.
Author followed HOFer Tom Glavine on the NY Mets and Yankees Mike Mussina duiring the up and down 2007 baseball season to focus on their struggles to continue their careers and seek personal glory. Feinstein is a much better golf writer and this tale is mediocre at best.
Larry


Read this book.

If you love baseball, or if you don't. If you're only vaguely familiar with baseball, read this book.

If you do, or don't typically like "sports writing", doesn't matter. Read this.

Feinstein as always brings a subject he loves into a perspective that anyone with a heart can't help but become engrossed in. It's a story of one year in the lives of two people in the twilight of successful careers. Ups, downs, triumph, heartache, frustration, elation....

You may know the ultimate "end...more
Ty
This book is an excellent in depth look at how great (or at least, very good) pitchers pitch. the author chose to follow the 2007 for two highly regarded pitchers, Mike Mussina from the Yankees and Tom Glavine with the Mets. the "year in the life" approach really works as the pitchers face hard times, injuries, winning streaks, losing streaks, great personal milestones, contract discussions, and about 35 games of baseball each. for many of the games, the author goes through the game each batter...more
Robert
Interesting enough book for anyone who likes baseball. Otherwise I do not recommend it. Some fascinating insights given what happened to Mussina/Glavine and the Yankees/Mets in 2007 and the backstory of Mussina's and Glavine's careers was interesting as well. The middle of the book did get somewhat repetitive however, much like a baseball season itself does. I would have appreciated more insight into what these guys do with so much downtime rather than going through every start and whether they...more
Pat Murray
My favorite writer on sports insight. In this book he covers two great pitchers Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina. Both were approaching the end of their careers on two teams expected to win the World Series in the biggest media market. Glavine also had the added pressure of trying to achieve an MLB milestone of 300 career wins. The author gives you an inside look of the baseball season through their ups and downs, success and doubts. Another superb job by this talented writer. He could write a book...more
Rod
John Feinstein has written some excellent sports non-fiction (e.g., A Good Walk Spoiled about the Ryder Cup). Here he attempted to chronicle the season of two smart, experienced pitchers during the Major League Baseball season (Tom Glavine, Mets, and Mike Mussina, Yankees).

This was a really dumb idea. Because both are staring pitchers , we really get reporting every fourth day. Goodbye, tension buildup!

By the way, both teams were involved in pennant races, so the potential for drama was high. It...more
Amanda
Great book focusing on Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina. The beginning portion of the book chronicles the two pitchers' growing up, getting drafted, the minors and their career up to the 2007 season. The rest of the book (the main focus of it, actually) follows the two through the 2007 season - from Spring Training to the end of the regular season (and on into the post season, with Mussina).

Very interesting to read what they were thinking during particular times of the season or during individual g...more
Sharmayne
Pretty good read until about a 3rd of the way, them it just DRAGGED to the end! I think the problem was Feinsteins criteria for choosing who to follow thru a season, other then being talented MLB pitchers, was picking the 'good guys' enjoyable to hang around with. OK, for him but does not make for scintillating reading for us! One of baseball's historical strengths is the colorfullness of its characters and Feinstein missed the oppurtunity to continue the great baseball/journalism tradition.
Tom Fuchs
The stuff that is quoted verbatim from Mussina and Glavine is great and an awesome look into the structure and thought process of a pitcher in the major leagues, but is all of Feinstein's stuff written like this? He uses the same jokes repeatedly, and then he also just buries the living shit out of random ballplayers who intersect with their stories. Although I do like the "everybody hates Guillermo Mota" subplot a bit. Also: Ned Yost quotes! And Doug Melvin! Kind of recommended?
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John Feinstein is one of the nation’s most successful and prolific sports authors who has written 24 books to date. His most recent work Are You Kidding Me? , written with Rocco Mediate, was released on May 18, 2009, and is presently on the shelf at bookstores everywhere. In addition, he is an award-winning columnist and regular contributor in both radio and television.

John Feinstein is a 1977 gr...more
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