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Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  7,810 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. In his twenty-seven years of managing, ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published April 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  7,810 ratings  ·  318 reviews

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Bob Schmitz
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I like sports but have never been a follower of baseball. It has seemed boring to me. In my one year as a 9 year old little leaguer I would sit down in the outfield because nothing was happening. Baseball lovers have contradicted me on this opinion and this book settles the question once and for all not in my favor. I had no idea how complex, complicated, subtle the game was. 3 Nights in August chronicles a 3 game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs sometimes pitch by pit ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating is more 3 1/2 as while it was great insight into the traditional three-game series, I felt is was a little too rah-rah and that readers who are not Cardinals fans would get a little tired of it. While listening to it, it seemed like even when the Cubs won a game, manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan could do no wrong. If anything did go wrong, it was the player's fault. But for hardcore baseball strategy and action, this book is very good. ...more
Brad Lyerla
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
I write for a blog on the Chicago Cubs sometimes. The blog is owned by a fine writer named Joe Aiello. He recommended H.G. Bissinger's Three Nights in August, a widely admired account of a three games series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August of the 2003 season. It is very worthwhile. There are many reasons why. One is that Bissinger wrote it, in part, as a response to Michael Lewis’ fantastically successful Money Ball. In that vein, Bissinger wrote in his preface:

“In [the aftermath of Mon
Corey Adams
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a warmup read before digging into Tony La Russa's 2012 book on the '11 World Series team. Three Nights in October, meanwhile, was a frustrating read. The book examines three games between the Cardinals and Cubs in the midst of a NL Central race. Its purpose was to get inside the mind of La Russa as he made managerial moves, but we mostly get play-by-play on the events throughout the three games. When La Russa makes a good decision, he's praised. But when something goes wrong, the blame ...more
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
If you are (as I am) a Cubs fan, this book won't be much fun to read. And yet, although I'm sure part of my dissatisfaction with this book stems from the fact that it's an unabashed shrine to Tony La Russa and all things Cardinal, I think we what really bugged me about it was how blatantly biased it is. Certainly, La Russa is a great manager. Any Cubs fan will agree. The problem here, though, is that the author is so genuinely in the tank for La Russa that every move described in the book frames ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Before the glossing over of Tony La Russa's reputation inevitably takes place when he is enshrined in Cooperstown, it is important to note that he was perhaps the most polarizing manager in baseball during his career (with Dusty Baker also being a strong candidate in my mind).

3 Nights in August chronicles a 2003 Cardinals-Cubs series near the end of the season. However, the book does not solely focus on those three games, as it also chronicles La Russa's career with the Carlton Fisk and Tom Seav
Jason Phillips
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
You should buy this book for what it is, and not for what many of these reviews say it is. It is not anti-Moneyball, it is an insiders look at a baseball game in the context of the baseball world and the career of one man, Tony LaRussa. Sabermaniacs have brought a deeper understanding of baseball to the layperson, and have challenged conventional thinking about our great game. This book does not set out to refute ther tenets of sabermetrics, in fact, Moneyball is mentioned only three times in 27 ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, audiobook
Bissinger takes sports writing up a notch. Yes, you can see the typical sports metaphors mixed in here, but there are more erudite ones as well. I enjoyed the stories, but was a bit surprised at how Bissinger jumped around. Some at bats are described in incredible detail over the three game series, while sometimes whole innings are mentioned in a sentence. And a lot of the text is about events that happened prior to the games in focus. While I understand writing some background stories, my only ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, wish-list
I give this 4 stars because the stars are about subjective reaction and I enjoyed reading it. On the other hand, I can definitely see you getting less mileage out of this book if aren't a fan of LaRussa, the Cardinals, or baseball, or even if you know a lot about the game. I also don't see this as having much staying power over time.

That being said, I think I would describe this book as "effectively wild" a term he uses to describe Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. There are plenty of overwritten sentenc
Sep 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tony LaRussa is one of the greatest managers in the history of Major League Baseball. This book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a baseball genius.

"Buzz" Bissinger, the author of the football classic turned box office hit "Friday Night Lights", follows TLR and my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, around during a series against the much-maligned Chicago Cubs towards the end of the Cardinals extremely disappointing 2003 season.

I admit that I am totally biased in giving this book fiv
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
To me, baseball has always been a beautiful game, but I always thought that teams could be managed by Phil in accounting or anybody else who knows even a little bit about baseball, and still be the same.

I was incredibly wrong.

The amount of work that LaRussa put into a Pre-season, a season, and even single games is incredible. It was always reassuring to me, as a Cardinal's fan, that he was never going to be out prepared by the other team's manager. For anybody who thinks they could easily coach
Michael Friedland
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in baseball. As a Cardinals fan I loved it. I really understand much better what the role of a manager is. I don't think that someone who doesn't care for baseball would enjoy it, but I think that even a casual fan would get a lot out of it. Buzz Bissinger's style is easy to follow and entertaining to read. ...more
Joshua Jacobson
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic read. It was made even more fantastic because I started reading it within minutes of putting down "Moneyball." This is a great contrast to "Moneyball" in that it focuses much more on the beautity and historic love of baseball. It's about players and managers and how they go about their daily lives in the game. Just a great read about classic baseball. ...more
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, baseball
Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.
Matthew Ward
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Growing up baseball was never my favorite sport, i was never truly engaged in the game as I was focused on other things. One would say I never truly learned the game of baseball. I had no idea how complex, complicated, subtle the game was. 3 Nights in August chronicles a 3 game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs sometimes pitch by pitch from the view point of the Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. The amount of knowledge, thinking, planning, foretelling, analysis of accumul ...more
i miss baseball and love the cardinals. so i wanted to love this book. however, i couldn’t get over the problematic descriptions buzz bissinger uses throughout, including bi-polar pitcher or a pitcher with “multiple personalities” (and many variations) to describe inconsistent performance, calling someone “profoundly crazy” for attending the university of west virginia, a batter who catalogues every pitch ever thrown to him “like an anal-compulsive librarian.” i liked the structure of this: prof ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My #nonficpick for August. I had been meaning to read this for a while now, and was excited to find it on Hoopla. You have to *really* like baseball to enjoy this book. I learned a lot! Baseball is so incredibly intricate and complicated. I am fascinated by it. This took place in '03 and I became a Cardinals fan in '04, so it was like visiting old friends. ❤ ⚾️
#hoopla #baseball #cardinals #nonfiction #gocards
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Cardinals. I love Tony LaRussa.
I hated when they lost the World Series in a 4 game sweep in 2004.
Learned a lot but oh, so technical.
Perfect for a baseball addict but not so much for me.
I'll stick with peanuts & cracker jacks.
Joshua Rodriguez
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book about the insight of how Tony LaRussa approaches 3 games in August against the NL central rival Chicago Cubs. The book also goes in depth about the passing of Daryl Kyle, Rich Ankiels dissappearing how to throw a strike act and much more funny stories and relationships LaRussa had or didn't really care for as the manager of the St Louis Cardinals. ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction-read
A beautifully written book about a beautiful game. A must read for baseball fans. To quote a line from the book: It was as American as America ever gets.
David Stickel
I have been known to wax poetic about baseball but he takes it to a whole new level in this book. I still liked the insider stories and insight into La Russa's approach to the game though. ...more
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
***Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.***

Growing up in Texas I didn’t pay much attention to baseball. In Texas football is the only sport that matters, see Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger. Once a year my grandmother would take me to an Astros game at the Astrodome, and that was the extent of my exposure to baseball as a young girl. Until I met B. When I first met B and he told me his favorite thing to do was to watch baseball I groaned. Watch baseball? Wasn’t that about as exciting as watc
Matt Mccutchan
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found the book 3 Nights in August, by Buzz Bissinger to be very good. Buzz Bissinger was the perfect person to write this book about the manager of the St. Louis, Tony La Russa. He has written books about different people and La Russa called Bissinger because he wanted him to write the book. They based the book on a three game series in August, but also had a lot more background. Bissinger had permission to go in the club house and talk with all the players during this three game series. He go ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was actually recommended to me quite some time ago in a list of professional development and leadership works. I purposely waited until October to read this because despite what people will tell you, October is about baseball first, Halloween second.

I was never a big La Russa fan when he managed the Cardinals, and he did nothing to help his stature in my mind by disparaging my Yankees early in the book. As he described the rivalry between the Cards and the Cubs, he insulted the Yankee
Joe Hardy
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good book and really gave some insight on what Tony la Russa and any manager has to go through on a daily basis. It shows just how hard some people take losing and what they will do to keep it from happening again. It shows the constant struggle of what to do during a game, like when to put in a pinch batter or when to pull out your pitcher and how sometimes the decision that is made doesn't result in a favorable outcome. How one tiny play, pitch or call can completely alter the course of the ...more
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, which means that I can't really be objective here, but that clearly didn't stop Bissinger, so why should I let it stop me? He's obviously in the bag for LaRussa, which ... well, it is LaRussa's book, so I can't really fault him too much. And yet. It's almost as though Bissinger is throwing his bias in the reader's face, daring us to call him on it. The players he doesn't like, be they Cubs, or just lazy slacker spoiled athletes, are drawn with all the subtlety of Snidely ...more
Adam N.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Three Nights in August
A baseball book
Is baseball really more than a game? Well in the book Three Nights in August you will learn all about it. The author of the book is Buzz Bissinger. The genre of this nook is informational. This story takes place in 2005 right in the heart of the season at the new Busch Stadium. Some of the main characters are the manager of the Cubs, Dusty Baker and the manager of the Cardinals, Tony LaRussa. This book takes you through the joy heartbreak and strategy of a ma
Aaron Sinner
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: baseball
2005 CASEY Award nominee

Briefly: Purple prose

Buzz Bissinger knows how to write, and he wants you to know it. Three Nights in August is Bissinger’s chronicle of a three game series between the Cardinals and the Cubs, as seen through the eyes of legendary baseball manager Tony La Russa.

Well-written baseball books are to be appreciated, and Three Nights in August qualifies—nonetheless, it must be classified as overwritten. Take passages like this one: “[Pujols] makes himself available to his teamma
Zach Herman
Buzz Bissinger is a tremendously unlikable author, and Tony La Russa is an equally unlikable baseball manager. But somehow, Bissinger's book about La Russa is likable -- or, at least, entertaining enough to fill the afternoons of a chilly offseason.

The buzz upon its release pegged "Three Nights" as a fawning tribute to La Russa's tactical and philosophical genius, but this is not a hagiography. Bissinger clearly admires La Russa and agrees with most of his old-school baseball principles, but he
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