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The Grind: Inside Baseball's Endless Season

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  748 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Shortlisted for the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing


“If every era gets the baseball books it deserves, The Grind is definitely one for ours. Svrluga reveals a culture of nonstop stress: a relentless rhythm of scouting odysseys, training routines, travel monotony, injuries—all before anyone gets out on the field. No wonder these guys a
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Blue Rider Press (first published July 7th 2015)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Danny Knobler
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
At the end of my first season covering the Detroit Tigers, I was exhausted. Completely exhausted. I'd gone from city to city, from game to game, from story to story, and I loved it. But wow, I was tired. And I didn't even have to play.

A baseball season really is a grind, and Barry Svrluga's fine new book does a nice job explaining what that grind means to the different people who exist within it. As Barry writes, no one who lives outside it can truly understand, but his book will give you a tast
Many kids dream of becoming a big league ballplayer. It must be the luxurious life – after all, a player makes a minimum of about half a million dollars while flying all over the country to play a game. Their wives must live in the lap of luxury with all that money, correct? Or how about the general manager who signs these players? He’s got it made too, right?

If someone’s answer to any of the questions is yes, that person is a prime candidate to read this entertaining and well-written bo
Matt Shea
Although it's ironic that I should pick up a book about baseball's monstrous, demanding, fabled 162-game season at the start of the shortest season since 1878, I found the window into normalcy that "The Grind" provided extremely comforting in the midst of an extremely uncomfortable time. That said, I wish Barry Svrluga's inside account of the Nationals' 2014 season dug a little deeper than it did.

What I applaud the book for is how many different vantage points from which it presents the standard
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Weak--the scribbling of a fan rather than any deep analysis. Anyone in a Roto league knows this stuff. If this is the talent Bezos hired for the WaPo, no wonder it's losing subscribers. ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While being a fan of baseball is certainly no requirement, it certainly would come as an assist in this made-for-baseball enthusiast's companion piece. The author succinctly acknowledges baseball as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, but what exactly are those parts over the course of the long haul of the season? The baseball season is one of the more grueling in all of professional sports, rarely more than two consecutive days off from April to October. There is a mental aspect ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baseball: America's romance.

I don't know a lot about the Nationals; I live on the West Coast, I'm a Giants fan. Like anyone else with a heart, I was charmed by the Nats in 2019, winning the World Series through the power of friendship and Baby Shark. (Also, fuck the Astros.) But my knowledge of the Nats begins and ends pretty much with what my friends say on twitter and the occasional article that catches my eye on the Washington Post. So I really don't know anything, and don't really care that
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020books
A quick read that takes you behind the scenes into the "workings" of major league baseball -- getting to enjoy the stress (or at least appreciate the stress?) of the complex months-long ballet of logistics related to equipment, families, housing, travel, downtime, preparation, and more.
Fun, light, zippy -- to fill these long months where many of us desperately miss that daily Grind of baseball...
Gary Anderson
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those involved in major league baseball call it “The Grind,” the day-to-day existence in the longest season in professional sports. “A baseball season, stretching from the tail of one winter to the cusp of the next, erodes the bodies and minds of the men who play. How they handle those demands can determine their performance, there for the world to see nearly every single day,” writes Barry Svrluga in The Grind: Inside Baseball’s Endless Season. Svrluga provides insights into The Grind from the ...more
Mark Yellis
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read for all sports aficionados. Book was compiled from stories written regarding various parts of the Washington Nationals baseball organization. This made the book seem a little disjointed to me. I finished the book wanting more insight into the long season and all of its facets.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a student of the game like me, this isn't really anything you don't already know, but it's a fun, short read, and it does a great job of illustrating how the baseball season grinds on those who are part of the game differently than being in-season does for those who are involved in other professional sports.

I particularly appreciated the nods to those who are traditionally forgotten with regard to the efforts baseball requires (wives, clubbies, scouts.) Kudos to the author for demonst
Audrey Stark
I really liked this book. I thought it was well-structured. It is linear, introducing the reader to different parts of an MLB organization as the season progresses. As a Nats fan, I really enjoyed it because the players were familiar to me; their stories and struggles were already known. It's nice to read what goes on behind the scenes for a guy like Drew Storen versus a Ryan Zimmerman.

Also, it was a super quick read. I read it primarily in my uber rides over a week's time.
Rob Neyer
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a small gem of a book, a snapshot of what it's like to be in the middle of Major League Baseball in 2014. So it might seem even more interesting in 20 years than it does now. But well worth reading now, too. ...more
Tim Timberly
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
This book focuses on the human side of baseball. However, all of the people profiled seem one-dimensional, being good people who are working hard and doing their best. The Grind had no grit.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
based on a WaPo series published intermittently throughout the 2014 season. Organized by person (Ryan Zimmerman, Drew Storen, Tyler Moore, clubhouse guys who make the logistics and travel work, wife of Ian Desmond for the family perspective, a scout, general manager, etc. etc.) rather than a chrono recap of season.

If you want to know why the Nats had a good year but ultimately flamed out in the playoffs, this is not the book to read. It's more, as the title suggests, about how the relentless nea
Zach Koenig
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the outside looking in, the baseball life often looks tremendously glamorous. You play three hours a day, have thousands cheering you on, and get to travel the country. What's not to like, right? What author Barry Svrulga does in this book, however, is shed some much-needed light on the tougher side of a baseball player's existence. "The grind", if you will.

Focusing on players from the 2014-2015 Washington Nationals, Svrulga examines a number of aspects of major league baseball life that yo
Matt Ely
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
This is a baseball book, but you won't learn much information you didn't already know if you're a fan. Because this isn't a book about information; it's a book about a feeling.

In the form of several essays, the author examines several figures that made the Washington Nationals 2014-2015 seasons possible. But his focus is not on the specifics of their accomplishments but on the generalizability of their circumstances. So a chapter on the experience of being married to a baseball player is less a
Jul 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: don-t-read-these
What could be better than a book covering the grind of a baseball season?

Except, that's not what this book is about. This book is about a sports journalists who writes short stories on people involved in baseball. The starter, the GM, the baseball wife, etc etc etc...... If you are a baseball fan and don't know anything about baseball, or are a fan of the Nationals, then maybe you might enjoy this quick read.

If you are a baseball fan who was expecting a detailed journey following a team through
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been lucky enough to see the Washington Nationals win a few division titles recently - a few fellow fans have asked, at this point why celebrate? I think the answer is that the accomplishment of clinching a playoff spot over a 162 game season is a tremendous endurance test and represents many hours, days, weeks, months of consistent effort.
Barry Svrluga does a nice job of looking at the grind of a baseball season through a couple of different lenses - a regular, a starting pitcher, a playe
Travis Coverston
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This book grew on me towards the middle of the "story". I didn't like that there wasn't a complete season overview for each of the characters. It seemed to only touch on a small part of the season for each character.

I didn't realize these were simply newspaper articles combined into a book until the end. I might not have read it if I did, but it was worth the time I guess.

The stories could have been extended and made this book comparable to "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" by John Feinstein. This
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Grind is a quick read and provides some really interesting insights about the lives of those who work and live around professional baseball. Naturally, Svrluga focuses mainly on players but also provides some glimpses into the lives of spouses and team support staff. The book is a little limited by the access that he got, though. For one, all of the players he follows are American. I imagine he would have found some interesting stories with different nuances had he been able to follow some o ...more
Dave Allen
Interesting inside look at the operations of a major league team and the rhythms and routines of a baseball season across its entire grueling length. A little overwrought at times, including some classically purple-ish sportswriter prose, and it seems odd to have an entire book on baseball from 2014-15 that doesn't mention social media (especially Twitter), but the details are otherwise really well observed and the underappreciated bits of the game - travel, off-season training, scouting, the ba ...more
Tom Brown
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who enjoys baseball should read this book. Barry Svrluga looks at baseball through the lens of various people involved in the success of a team. Chapters are devoted to the star player, the baseball wife, the general manager, the scout, the pitcher, and others. Each one focuses on one person and how the season plays out for this individual. It was a terrific look at the personal side of baseball.
Craig Andrews
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful little book. There's a little irony in the fact that the author's goal is to highlight the challenges associated of working in professional baseball, that the season, 162 games in 187 days, is a grind the attacks the physical and mental well being alike, but the book itself is only 170 pages. Don't let that fool you, though. The stories captured inside are beautiful, emotional, and human. ...more
I am debating between a two and three stars on this book. Overall, it was just okay but there are some insights to baseball that a fan does not normally think about occurs behind the scenes. We find out a little bit about the family life, training in the off-season, scouting, logistics, and managerial decisions. It would have been nice to less focus on more than just one team, but the Nationals are the team the author has connections.
Amy Stover
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I can’t be watching baseball, I’ll pursue my other passion-reading. This book was great-each chapter focused on a different aspect of the Nationals organization-the wife, the reliever, the 26th man, the general manager, etc. It is kind of funny that it ended with them all so hopeful for 2016 and we all know how that ended. (I’m a massive Cubs fan)
Justin Thompson
Barry is a great writer, but this book just seemed more appropriate as a collection of features. There's nothing wrong with that, and the chapters themselves were well-written. That being said, I had a hard time continuing to read this one, which is rare for any book that's about the Nationals, or baseball even. ...more
Daniel Brown
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. It was very in depth among the different aspects of a baseball season and a team (Washington Nationals). My only complaint is that I wish it had several hundred pages more to read about. What a great background on what takes place every day during such a long season.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read.

Great title. Blessed to have pitched until I was 36 years old in professional baseball. That doesn’t include my 4 years of college. Those 17 years were a blast, but, it was a grind.
Sep 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insightful look into the behind-the-scenes of a baseball season. I enjoyed seeing the life of baseball families and what it was life to have work revolving around such an intense and everlasting sport.
John Elliott
A fascinating little book that certainly changed my perception of what it's like to work in professional baseball. Agree with my friend TK--Barry is one of the best sportswriters in the country. ...more
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