Anders Gustafson's Reviews > The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds

The Machine by Joe Posnanski
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Oct 06, 2009

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Read in October, 2009

Baseball seasons are long. Some detractors might say they're too long. But fan or not, there's no denying that encapsulating every part of a team's 162+ games is probably impossible, and certainly undesirable. From that standpoint, I really enjoyed "The Machine". I was born in 1985, ten years after Pete, Johnny, Big Dog and the rest of 1975 Reds demolished the competition for the better part of their long season. While there's no substitute for experiencing such brilliance firsthand, reading this book makes me feel like a more complete baseball fan. I feel as though I have a great understanding for that moment in baseball history, thanks in large part to the author's ability to select the games, the quotes and the moments that most vividly revealed the the dynamic of the '75 Reds. He painted a clear picture of a team that was both physically and emotionally ruthless. Whatever it takes -- feelings, relationships, body parts all be damned -- to win.

My favorite part of the book, though, came at the end as the author was able to record a lengthy stream of personal reflections from Pete Rose (in a modern day setting, Pete having been reduced to a "career" of signing autographs at a casino. Could he enjoy that?). What it made me realize is that the rest of the book lacked a similar touch, a more introspective viewpoint. That's not to say the author failed to develop the players' personal lives -- he includes several relationships, including those between Sparky Anderson and his son, Pete Rose and his dad and Johnny Bench and his new wife. But those were side stories, explanations for why Sparky managed in his style and why Pete/Johnny played as they did.

Still a great book, in particular for baseball fanatics. You can't know the sport without knowing the 1975 Reds.

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