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The incredible inside story of power, money, and baseball's last twenty years. In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the playe The incredible inside story of power, money, and baseball's last twenty years. In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation. It is a tipping point for baseball, a crucial moment in the game's history that catalyzes a struggle for power by three strong-willed men: Commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and union leader Don Fehr. It's their uneasy alliance at the end of decades of struggle that pulls the game back from the brink and turns it into a money-making powerhouse that enriches them all. This is the real story of baseball, played out against a tableau of stunning athletic feats, high-stakes public battles, and backroom political deals -- with a supporting cast that includes Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, George Bush and George Mitchell, and many more. Drawing from hundreds of extensive, exclusive interviews throughout baseball, The Game is a stunning achievement: a rigorously reported book and the must-read, fly-on-the-wall, definitive account of how an enormous struggle for power turns disaster into baseball's Golden Age.


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The incredible inside story of power, money, and baseball's last twenty years. In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the playe The incredible inside story of power, money, and baseball's last twenty years. In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation. It is a tipping point for baseball, a crucial moment in the game's history that catalyzes a struggle for power by three strong-willed men: Commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and union leader Don Fehr. It's their uneasy alliance at the end of decades of struggle that pulls the game back from the brink and turns it into a money-making powerhouse that enriches them all. This is the real story of baseball, played out against a tableau of stunning athletic feats, high-stakes public battles, and backroom political deals -- with a supporting cast that includes Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, George Bush and George Mitchell, and many more. Drawing from hundreds of extensive, exclusive interviews throughout baseball, The Game is a stunning achievement: a rigorously reported book and the must-read, fly-on-the-wall, definitive account of how an enormous struggle for power turns disaster into baseball's Golden Age.

30 review for The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    When I picked up a copy of THE GAME: INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S POWER BROKERS by Jon Pessah I expected an exploration of the world of baseball between 1992 and 2010 from financial and labor perspectives. What I read encompasses those general themes, but the book also evolved into a prolonged discussion of Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner’s roles in baseball during that time period, and bringing with it an excellent reporter’s knowledge of baseball and the personalities i When I picked up a copy of THE GAME: INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S POWER BROKERS by Jon Pessah I expected an exploration of the world of baseball between 1992 and 2010 from financial and labor perspectives. What I read encompasses those general themes, but the book also evolved into a prolonged discussion of Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner’s roles in baseball during that time period, and bringing with it an excellent reporter’s knowledge of baseball and the personalities involved. I soon developed an intense distaste for Selig, who was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and the “acting” commissioner of baseball at the same time, a direct conflict of interest; and a greater understanding of Steinbrenner, and a degree of empathy for his at times, outrageous behavior. The year 1992 can be considered a “watershed” year in the history of major league baseball. The owners were at war with each other, the owners were also at war with the players through their labor union, and the steroid era was just emerging. Pessah raises the question; did Bud Selig save baseball, as the former Commissioner of Baseball would like everyone to believe. After reading Pessah’s account I agree with his conclusions that Selig did more to hurt the game he supposedly loved, and his actions were driven by his own selfish agenda and led to some of the most hypocritical actions and statements that I have ever been exposed to. Bud Selig has one belief, what is best for Bud Selig. When it came to his role as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, that belief centered on improving the value of his franchise no matter who he hurt or used by reorienting baseball’s financial structure to meet his needs. Unhappy with the settlement with the players union in 1990 because of what he perceived to be the actions of then Baseball Commissioner Faye Vincent, Selig worked assiduously to have him removed and have himself appointed as “acting” commissioner. Once this was achieved Selig would be in charge of negotiating a new contract with his adversary, Donald Fehr, the head of the players union. The Brewers team debt stood at $35 million in 1990 and throughout the period it would quadruple, if not more. For Selig, a new stadium was needed to replace the antiquated Milwaukee County Stadium to help pay down his debt. The problem was who would finance the cost of this project. As Pessah’s research will prove Selig would blackmail localities into having public funding for stadiums or they could lose their teams to franchise relocation or contraction (having the league fold their franchises). Selig was envious of large market teams with extensive resources because of cable television contracts and other marketing advantages, as a result he sought to pillage those teams through revenue sharing, a salary cap, and possibly, a luxury tax. His target was George Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees and a few other franchises. What was most disingenuous, is that when revenue sharing was eventually implemented, many of the small market teams took the millions of dollars they received, supposedly designated for player development and procurement to make their teams more competitive, and devoted the money to their own profits. In Selig’s case he paid down his debt, and at the same time reduced his payroll. In the case of billionaire owner, Carl Polhand of the Minnesota Twins, he just pocketed the money. The first part of the book analyzes the steps that led to the cancelling of the last month of the 1994 baseball season and the World Series. In meticulous fashion Pessah describes the positions of the owners and the player’s union. What seems abundantly clear is no matter how many times Selig downplayed the idea that the owners wanted a strike, the evidence reflects the opposite. After Selig arranged his coup against Vincent, he also engineered a change in baseball’s voting structure to allow small market teams like the Brewers to veto any settlement with the players they did not like. Pessah places the onus of the strike and the possible use of replacement players on Selig and his supporters, and less so on the player’s union head, Donald Fehr. Along the way the author integrates the story of Don Mattingly, the Yankee first basement who had never been to the post season and whose body was slowly giving way to father time. When Selig ended the season, the Yankees were in first place and were on the road to a possible World Series appearance for the first time since 1981, and it seemed Mattingly’s last chance may have been passed by. Pessah explores Steinbrenner and other owner’s roles as well as Fehr and the union in intricate detail. What one concludes as a settlement is finally reached is that Selig is correct that financial changes needed to be implemented, but other issues facing baseball, like steroids were ignored because for Selig “the homeruns” that resulted from the use of steroids were good for baseball’s bottom line. As a result he and the owners turned a blind eye to the problem. Selig’s methods are a major focus of the book. How he arranges for the Montreal Expos to be purchased by Major League Baseball for $120 million and its sale for over $400 million to a group that moves it to Washington, DC is priceless. Further, his manipulation of the Florida Marlins situation reflects his duplicitousness as he arranges for the former owner of the Expos, Jeffrey Loria to buy the Marlins when he cannot really affords to do so. Another example is how Selig arranges for John Henry to purchase the Boston Red Sox who he hopes will create a small market mentality more to his liking in Beantown. Selig did not overlook the needs of his own team, managed by his daughter Wendy while he was commissioner, a team that was $148.7 million in debt. Amazingly, by the 2007 baseball season that debt has been reduced to $30 million. Eventually Selig would sell the Brewers for $200 million based on revenue sharing and Miller Park, the stadium that was publicly financed by the residents of Milwaukee. In addition, by 2009 Selig earned a salary of $18 million a year, and by his retirement year he had a net worth of over $200 million, not including the $35-40 million he will collect from baseball as a Commissioner Emeritus, not bad for an owner of a small market team that at one time was hemorrhaging from debt. Pessah’s narrative includes a discussion of events taking place outside of baseball, and Congress is a major candidate for his sarcasm. Different Congressional committees and their politicians will use labor issues and the steroid epidemic throughout the period under discussion, grandstanding about the national pastime and making threats to take away baseball’s anti-trust exemption. At the same time they avoid dealing with issues relating to Hurricane Katrina, the lack of proper body armor for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the crisis over Abu Ghraib, and numerous other issues. It seems reasonable to assume that the money that the owners are donating to Congressional campaigns bears fruit. The reader is provided transcripts of Congressional hearings, National Labor Relations Board decisions, intimate conversations among owners, as well as the inner workings of the union. These details are enlightening as we learn of Yankee General Manager, Brian Cashman’s distaste for the arrogance he sees in Joe Torre, George W. Bush’s hope to be Commissioner of Baseball, the inner workings of the Steinbrenner family, and many other interesting items. I assume that Pessah has worked his sources well and he is presenting an accurate account, however, a degree of footnoting might assuage my historian’s sensitivities, though I compliment him on his excellent bibliography and the names of those interviewed. The narrative makes for an excellent read for baseball fans and the public in general who lived through the events and relationships described. Pessah spares nothing in discussing the BALCO scandal and Barry Bonds, the Mitchell Commission and Report that Selig created to help clear his own guilt about how he handled, or better, did not handle the growing steroid scandal in baseball. The “bash brothers,” Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and many others make their appearances as authors or witnesses before Congressional committees. Perhaps the most important aspect of the book reflects the human frailties of all involved as the reader is taken from one contract negotiation to the next, in addition to each scandal or blight on baseball’s reputation. Pessah’s account is almost encyclopedic as his subject matter evolves over two decades. It seems to me as an avid baseball fan he does not miss much and to his credit, his honesty in reporting is a highlight that readers should cherish. THE GAME is more than a baseball book, it is a story of greed, power, and manipulation that in many instances gives our nation’s pastime a black eye. But as most baseball fans realize once spring training arrives after a long winter, they are willing to forgive and forget the actions of the likes of Bud Selig.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Harold Kasselman

    This is a fascinating and comprehensive look at the behind the scenes machinations of the major actors in the MLB from the calculated ouster of Vincent Faye up through the installation of Rob Manfred as the new commissioner. This is a must reference book for any baseball historian or fan of the game. Mr. Pessah focuses on the major labor issues of those days including revenue sharing, a salary cap, building new stadiums, cable television revenue, lockouts, strikes, and PED usage. The story is l This is a fascinating and comprehensive look at the behind the scenes machinations of the major actors in the MLB from the calculated ouster of Vincent Faye up through the installation of Rob Manfred as the new commissioner. This is a must reference book for any baseball historian or fan of the game. Mr. Pessah focuses on the major labor issues of those days including revenue sharing, a salary cap, building new stadiums, cable television revenue, lockouts, strikes, and PED usage. The story is largely centered around the major players of that era; namely Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner, and Don Fehr. The author appears to come down hardest on Selig who is depicted as a self-interested owner who cared more about his personal finances and his legacy as baseball commissioner than the integrity of the game(steroids/amphetamines) or his own ethics.(Owning the Brewers while still in the commissioner's chair). Steinbrenner is the power broker of the game who takes baseball and his team to revenue stardom as well as championships while reluctantly agreeing to the call from small market teams for revenue sharing and a luxury cap to foster competitive balance. Don Fehr, it seems to me, largely gets a pass from the author for the strife in contracts and PED issues because he was just an agent of the players expressing their interests. Well, I'm not as tough on Selig nor as adoring of Fehr or Steinbrenner. But that's up to the reader to conclude. What is more important is the history of the crises in baseball during those years and the motivations and action of its actors in shaping the game to its biggest revenue for all involved in a relatively short period of time. The behind the scene machinations, especially of Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf are totally absorbing. The thinking of the actors are well depicted(some 150 people were interviewed)and makes for great reading. This is a long book but it is simply fascinating stuff and there is never a dull moment. Kudos to Mr. Pessah for his exhaustive efforts that are sure to place this book in the category of the best of the best.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim Fischer

    Good book except too much about the NY Yankees!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tobias

    At first I thought this was a worthy sequel to John Helyar's classic The Lords of the Realm, about how the economics of baseball changed from the 1960s onward. The discussion of the conditions resulting in the 1994 strike certainly picked up where Helyar left off. However, as the book went on, it became clear that a) Pessah is better at simply recording events instead of analyzing and b) there's way too much about Steinbrenner and the Yankees at the expense of everything else. The summaries of g At first I thought this was a worthy sequel to John Helyar's classic The Lords of the Realm, about how the economics of baseball changed from the 1960s onward. The discussion of the conditions resulting in the 1994 strike certainly picked up where Helyar left off. However, as the book went on, it became clear that a) Pessah is better at simply recording events instead of analyzing and b) there's way too much about Steinbrenner and the Yankees at the expense of everything else. The summaries of gameplay are also, oddly for a book about baseball, distracting. I don't really need to know what happened on the field every season. For all the talk about the years of labor peace that followed the 1994 strike, Pessah doesn't actually make a strong argument for why this happened, just says that it did. Another omission is that he says almost nothing about the sabermetric revolution, which certainly helped narrow the gap between big market and small market franchises, a major factor in earlier labor disputes (I found only a single passing reference to Cashman's establishing an analysis shop in the mid-2000s - that's it). Also, for all the words devoted to the steroids issue, he never bothers to spell out what all the fuss was about, why it happened, etc. It's certainly connected to the economics of the game - bigger contracts mean bigger risks for falling behind - but he leaves this unsaid. Informative, but disappointing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Fischer

    I love baseball! I love being at a ball park with hot dog in hand, and although some would say I can not be a true fan because I do not like beer, watching amazingly athletic players warm up. I love the statistics, the scoring, the strategy of pitcher and cathcher, the signs, the squeeze plays, the walk offs...okay! I love baseball! I wanted to read this book and get a true representation of the years I have lived through. I have lived in both New york and Milwaukee, born a Yankees fan, but beca I love baseball! I love being at a ball park with hot dog in hand, and although some would say I can not be a true fan because I do not like beer, watching amazingly athletic players warm up. I love the statistics, the scoring, the strategy of pitcher and cathcher, the signs, the squeeze plays, the walk offs...okay! I love baseball! I wanted to read this book and get a true representation of the years I have lived through. I have lived in both New york and Milwaukee, born a Yankees fan, but because of many moves and a child who grew up a Royals fan, am now a Royals fan...when the Yankees are statisically elimanted from the playoffs! I diverge, there were times reading this book I decided to hate baseball(or the people forming it).....just how could these egocentric people be a part of what is righteous, true and holy? Oh well, I grew up to reality by the end! An amazing research job, a well written and excellent read. Anyone who even likes babseball a little should read this. I will leave my personal opinions to myself so others reading this can learn for themselves all about Selig( a used car salesman, he will remain in my mind always) and Fehr and Steinbrenner and all the other players over the years of baseball that had so many changes and moments of awesomeness mixed with moments of dispair. Please read this and then pass it on!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Montano

    Between 1992 and 2010, baseball went through many changes. This book takes a look inside the men who created those changes, Bud Selig (Commissioner), Donald Fehr (head of the players union) and George Steinbrenner (owner of the NY Yankees). Bud Selig, one-time owner of the Milwaukee Brewers almost lost the job of Commissioner to George W. Bush. Luckily for baseball fans, that didn't happen. Donald Fehr, hero to the union and villian to the owners, clashes with Bud at every turn. Steinbrenner, on Between 1992 and 2010, baseball went through many changes. This book takes a look inside the men who created those changes, Bud Selig (Commissioner), Donald Fehr (head of the players union) and George Steinbrenner (owner of the NY Yankees). Bud Selig, one-time owner of the Milwaukee Brewers almost lost the job of Commissioner to George W. Bush. Luckily for baseball fans, that didn't happen. Donald Fehr, hero to the union and villian to the owners, clashes with Bud at every turn. Steinbrenner, once banned from baseball, returns with a venegance and clashes with everyone, including those who work for him and play on his team. A very interesting look inside the greatest game ever played.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    If you’re looking for a book that relives the great baseball moments of the past twenty years, this isn’t the book for you. The book isn’t about the playing of baseball, it’s about the machinations of the organized sport and the people who pull the strings behind it. The book is all about three men - Bud Selig, Don Fehr and George Steinbrenner. All were essential figures during baseball’s growth in the 90s and 00s and saw the game through its biggest controversies (labor strikes and steroids). Yo If you’re looking for a book that relives the great baseball moments of the past twenty years, this isn’t the book for you. The book isn’t about the playing of baseball, it’s about the machinations of the organized sport and the people who pull the strings behind it. The book is all about three men - Bud Selig, Don Fehr and George Steinbrenner. All were essential figures during baseball’s growth in the 90s and 00s and saw the game through its biggest controversies (labor strikes and steroids). You have to be ready to ready a book much more about business and power dynamics than about the actual “game” of baseball. The story is admittedly fascinating. This book will be very interesting to deep fans of baseball - you relive the moments that shaped these years through a completely different lens. I love Pessah’s present tense narrative style of writing that takes you back to those moments and makes you feel always “behind the scenes” in real time. I also appreciate that he is fair to these three characters - this is not a praise to the three figures, but an objective view of their accomplishments and shortcomings. He lets Selig’s actions, for example, speak for themselves. I give the book 4 stars, not 5, because the book was too long (nearly 600 pages felt entirely unnecessary) and its narrow focus on the 3 aforementioned characters felt repetitive. There was so much else going on in baseball, and so many players’ achievements, that deserved some attention. I thought there were some missed opportunities to discuss in more detail the other things in American life (9/11 and other events) that he spent maybe a paragraph referring to. I don’t think this book would be very enjoyable for anyone who wasn’t a pretty significantly invested fan over the late 90s and 00s. But if you were, you will largely love this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Sinner

    2015 CASEY Award nominee Briefly: The definitive history of an era Jon Pessah’s magnum opus serves as an enlightening examination as to how the game of baseball was shaped behind the scenes throughout Bud Selig’s commissionership, from the 1994-95 strike to the steroids era through 18 years of labor peace and geographic stability. The book tells its story through a tight lens focused on the three men who most reshaped the game: Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and MLBPA executive director 2015 CASEY Award nominee Briefly: The definitive history of an era Jon Pessah’s magnum opus serves as an enlightening examination as to how the game of baseball was shaped behind the scenes throughout Bud Selig’s commissionership, from the 1994-95 strike to the steroids era through 18 years of labor peace and geographic stability. The book tells its story through a tight lens focused on the three men who most reshaped the game: Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and MLBPA executive director Don Fehr. The narrative wisely interweaves off-field happenings with anchor points in the on-field game, both grounding the back room events with their more historically visible counterparts and demonstrating the ways in which those back room machinations reshaped the game. If one “character” is missing from the story, perhaps it is the larger societal forces pushing baseball’s revenues to previously unseen heights. While the telling is quick to spotlight Selig’s and others’ contradictions and hypocrisy, it doesn’t always offer an alternative paradigm for interpreting events. Did Selig’s initiatives help baseball’s revenues soar, or were there other clear forces driving that? Was George Steinbrenner’s spending excessive even for the Yankees, or did it accurately reflect their revenues and climbing franchise valuation? Despite this minor concern, Pessah takes what could be dry labor deals and writes in such a way that they leap off the page, with compelling characters and a narrative that makes The Game a page-turner for all 592 pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    DJ

    Good overall view of baseball from 1990 to 2010. A bit too much of Steinbrenner, even as a Yankee fan.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    "The Game" covers events occurring during the two-decade reign of Allan H. "Bud" Selig over Major League Baseball and might more appropriately be titled "Hating on Bud". The book is an enjoyable read, well-written and researched. But by the end of the book the author's biases become obvious. Bud Selig was portrayed as a schemer, Don Fehr as a saint, and George Steinbrenner as a living legend. I'm no Bud Selig apologist, but the author seemed focused on tarnishing Selig's legacy. Which is fine. . "The Game" covers events occurring during the two-decade reign of Allan H. "Bud" Selig over Major League Baseball and might more appropriately be titled "Hating on Bud". The book is an enjoyable read, well-written and researched. But by the end of the book the author's biases become obvious. Bud Selig was portrayed as a schemer, Don Fehr as a saint, and George Steinbrenner as a living legend. I'm no Bud Selig apologist, but the author seemed focused on tarnishing Selig's legacy. Which is fine. . . tarnish away if that's what he deserves. But at least make it evenhanded. According to the book, Fehr's only sin seemed to be leaving too big of shoes to fill for his successor. Are we really supposed to believe Fehr did nothing shady during his 25 years at the helm? I concur that there is a lot of Yankees talk: Brian Cashman, Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, etc. Even though I'm not a Yankees fan, I didn't mind it. They were the dominant club of the era, so it seemed to flow well with the overall narrative of the book. The conclusion seemed to be that despite the strikes and the steroids, everyone came out of this era richer. Players' salaries exploded, Selig personally went from the outhouse to the penthouse, and the Yankees organization became stinking crazy filthy rich. It's all good for now - I'll be interested to see what happens with MLB over the next 25-30 years as baby boomers pass away. Sure, baseball has become wealthy catering to the older generation, but have they done enough to cultivate American children of today as their fan base of the future? I don't think they have, but it remains to be seen. I think it's International or Bust. I think I'd still recommend the book despite its shortcomings. A good recap for anyone who wants to understand or relive baseball in the 1990s and 2000s. But for anyone who leans to the right, be prepared for the pro-labor perspective and the occasional potshot at the Bush Administration.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The history of Major League Baseball over the last two decades can be boiled down to three stories: the crippling strike of 1994 whose effects are still being felt today, the wide payroll disparity that led to revenue sharing and the luxury tax, and steroids. The Game is a painstakingly researched and riveting portrait of the three men who played the biggest roles in making that history: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Players Union leader Donald Fehr, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Pessah's The history of Major League Baseball over the last two decades can be boiled down to three stories: the crippling strike of 1994 whose effects are still being felt today, the wide payroll disparity that led to revenue sharing and the luxury tax, and steroids. The Game is a painstakingly researched and riveting portrait of the three men who played the biggest roles in making that history: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Players Union leader Donald Fehr, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Pessah's sympathies lie mainly with Fehr (though nobody comes out of the steroid scandal looking good), but the book's main takeaway is his portrayal of Selig as a marginally effective negotiator, skilled at massaging the owners' massive egos, but somehow always one step behind the times, and possessing a desperate need for approval. I also did not realize just how close George W. Bush came to being named the commissioner in the mid-90s, which would have precluded his run for Texas governor and changed modern history. This book's lengthy running time (nearly 600 pages of text) may be a turnoff for anyone looking for a quick primer on recent baseball events, nor does it break any news, but it is never less than engaging and touches on just about every issue facing the game today. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The structure of building the book around the relationship between Selig and Steinbrenner wasn't something I was sure about at the start, but it really showed the complicated nature of both men. Both succeeded in spite of themselves... Selig being the ultimate backroom politician who is able to completely ignore all of his failures and shortcomings with a self-preserving myopia that allowed him to succeed. Steinbrenner agreed to Selig's policies that cost him million I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The structure of building the book around the relationship between Selig and Steinbrenner wasn't something I was sure about at the start, but it really showed the complicated nature of both men. Both succeeded in spite of themselves... Selig being the ultimate backroom politician who is able to completely ignore all of his failures and shortcomings with a self-preserving myopia that allowed him to succeed. Steinbrenner agreed to Selig's policies that cost him millions of dollars to support his competition (while complaining the whole time) that allows him to earn even more on the backend as the value of his franchise soars. I guess one might argue that it's actually a three-way dance with Fehr included. I grew to respect him even more in the reading of this book. He seems to be the one principled person in this whole mess. To him, it's about the players and their rights. After reading this book, I can better understand why he constantly looked like he was suffering--he had to deal with slippery men like Selig and the owners.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A behind the scenes and on the field look at baseball from 1992 through 2015, The Game threads a series of stories and narratives together: the rise of Bud Selig as Commissioner, George Steinbrenner and the Yankees, MLB's labor relations, and the rise of PEDs and steroids. Jon Pessah has written a masterpiece, all the more remarkable for the effortless way he keeps a series of stories moving smoothly and coherently, and for the way he is able to create a collage that allows the reader to better A behind the scenes and on the field look at baseball from 1992 through 2015, The Game threads a series of stories and narratives together: the rise of Bud Selig as Commissioner, George Steinbrenner and the Yankees, MLB's labor relations, and the rise of PEDs and steroids. Jon Pessah has written a masterpiece, all the more remarkable for the effortless way he keeps a series of stories moving smoothly and coherently, and for the way he is able to create a collage that allows the reader to better understand the motivation and misdirections of the many personalities he covers. To be sure, this book is most likely only for the passionate baseball fan, but a reader looking to understand more about big business in America would find much to enjoy in these pages.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    The access and information in this book is incredible, but the execution is somewhat lacking. The author certainly has a disdain for Bud Selig, which is at least understandable, and an obsession with George Steinbrenner. The book reads as much as a biography of Steinbrenner as it does as an examination of the inner machinations of baseball from 1992 - 2010. This book basically focuses on the Brewers and the Yankees while taking shots at George Bush and Jerry Reinsdorf. Steinbrenner is lauded as The access and information in this book is incredible, but the execution is somewhat lacking. The author certainly has a disdain for Bud Selig, which is at least understandable, and an obsession with George Steinbrenner. The book reads as much as a biography of Steinbrenner as it does as an examination of the inner machinations of baseball from 1992 - 2010. This book basically focuses on the Brewers and the Yankees while taking shots at George Bush and Jerry Reinsdorf. Steinbrenner is lauded as a genius, Selig as an evil buffoon, Don Fehr and the players union as victims, and the rest of baseball as irrelevant. A little bit more objectivity and inclusiveness would have drastically improved this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ceil

    One of the reviews I read said this book, while entertaining, had way too much detail about the machinations within baseball during the Bud Selig era (roughly 1990 to 2014). So it probably makes me a geek that I didn't find the blow-by-blow description of labor unrest (I mean, you can't say "strikes" in a review of a baseball book without being confusing) and drug use, home runs, and civic bullying the slightest bit overdone. Terrific book for the baseball geek who wants to relive a fascinating One of the reviews I read said this book, while entertaining, had way too much detail about the machinations within baseball during the Bud Selig era (roughly 1990 to 2014). So it probably makes me a geek that I didn't find the blow-by-blow description of labor unrest (I mean, you can't say "strikes" in a review of a baseball book without being confusing) and drug use, home runs, and civic bullying the slightest bit overdone. Terrific book for the baseball geek who wants to relive a fascinating era in baseball.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    This book is very insightful on the world of Major League Baseball over the last roughly 20 years. It is an interesting perspective from inside baseball discussed from the vantage of the team owners and the commissioner of baseball. It focuses on the stars and organizations, along with the dynamics of what helped baseball grow in popularity and financially over that time period. This is a great read for a baseball fan.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt Schirano

    Best baseball book I've read since "In the Glory of Their Time". Really well researched, pulls no punches. Best baseball book I've read since "In the Glory of Their Time". Really well researched, pulls no punches.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Fantastic book, well researched and pulls no punches. Full review is posted at my blog: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201... Fantastic book, well researched and pulls no punches. Full review is posted at my blog: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Three stars if your not a baseball fan!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom Stamper

    Despite the title this is basically a dual biography of Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner circa 1990-2014. Chapters go back and forth even hitting tangential subjects but it all comes right back to what Bud and George are doing. There is something about Bud Selig I have never liked, but after the opening chapters of this book I think there is a different side to Selig and it’s a side I like very much. That doesn’t last long though as baseball moves through the 1990s. Selig is just a guy who want Despite the title this is basically a dual biography of Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner circa 1990-2014. Chapters go back and forth even hitting tangential subjects but it all comes right back to what Bud and George are doing. There is something about Bud Selig I have never liked, but after the opening chapters of this book I think there is a different side to Selig and it’s a side I like very much. That doesn’t last long though as baseball moves through the 1990s. Selig is just a guy who wants there to be a baseball team in Milwaukee despite the fact that Milwaukee is too small to support such a team. His plan is to have everyone give him money. He wants the Wisconsin tax payer to build him a new stadium and he wants the successful baseball cities to give him their money. To do all this he politics his way into becoming commissioner. Bud Selig made a pretty good corporate welfare queen. The author is all kid gloves with Don Fehr though to the point you wonder if he isn’t married to Fehr’s sister. Because as much as I come to loathe Bud Selig, the strike of 1994 is the brainchild of Fehr because he wants leverage on baseball before their current labor agreement runs out. He knows Selig wants out of the bad deals that owners made earlier when they were outsmarted by Marvin Miller. You may remember that the rest of the 1994 season never was. All of us foolish fans paid real money to see games that were meaningless. By the time the following season’s spring training opens the owners have replacement players lined up so Fehr leans on the NLRB to make baseball owners heel to the union. The big event here is future supreme court justice Sotomayer ruling against baseball owners for what she said was an unwillingness to negotiate in good faith. Now that sounds great in spirit had the players actually played out the 1994 season, but once they struck and ruined the post-season they were the ones who weren’t behaving in good faith. Neither Sotomayer nor the author ever seem to make this very obvious point. The courts basically make the owners give in to the players in every way the players want and cities spend taxpayer money to build beautiful stadiums with luxury boxes that the taxpayer cannot afford to visit. And the union and the owners pretend there is no steroids problem until the problem is too big to ignore and then Selig hires George Mitrchell to say there is a steroid problem after all and the union redoubles their commitment to cleaning up the game as long as you don’t punish the players that cheated. It’s almost like everyone in this story is determined to ruin baseball. The Steinbrenner parts begins with his banishment in the early 1990s through his World Series victories in the mid and late 90s all the way to his death. He doesn’t seem like the changed man the media was so happy to portray. He seems like the kind of boss that can make an otherwise enjoyable job torture. Brian Cashman must have read Marcus Aurelious right before bed every night. George gets a stadium too but unlike Selig actually puts a team on the field that can win. I’ll have to give the author credit for showing a side of Joe Torre I have never seen depicted. The author sees him as a guy burning out his bullpen after the turn of the century and using his office to make his private business deals. Maybe he was too loyal to the players that won him championships and maybe he wasn’t supportive enough of ARod and some of the others that came later. Maybe he bristled a lot more under Steinbrenner than we were led to believe. This was a fun book to read and could have been a lot better had the author been willing to see this story from the viewpoint of the fans rather than the player’s union.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Budd Bailey

    At the start of 2015, Rob Manfred took over as baseball commissioner from Bud Selig, thus ending an eventful run of more than 20 years. It's a natural time, then, to look back on that era. That is the primary goal of Jon Pessah, who takes on the job in full with "The Game." And when I say in full, I mean in full. Pessah checks in with about 600 pages of text, with a long list of interviews and other sources for material. That's a little overwhelming, but almost all of it is interesting. Selig took o At the start of 2015, Rob Manfred took over as baseball commissioner from Bud Selig, thus ending an eventful run of more than 20 years. It's a natural time, then, to look back on that era. That is the primary goal of Jon Pessah, who takes on the job in full with "The Game." And when I say in full, I mean in full. Pessah checks in with about 600 pages of text, with a long list of interviews and other sources for material. That's a little overwhelming, but almost all of it is interesting. Selig took over the job under unusual circumstances. Fay Vincent was his predecessor, but the baseball owners - also known as his bosses - thought that Vincent kept forgetting who was paying his salary. That independence cost Vincent his job. But who should replace him? Selig, who owned the Milwaukee Brewers at the time, seemed to be something of a consensus-builder in the owner's ranks. He was given the job on an interim basis, an appointment that eventually became permanent to the tune of a couple of decades. It was, as baseball fans know, a lively time. The 1994 World Series was cancelled due to labor issues, but the sport rebounded to set records in attendance and revenues. Selig deserves some of the credit for that, even if he and other members of baseball management turned a blind eye to the increasing use of steroids by those in the sport. Selig even is shown to have tried to rewrite history on that last subject, changing his public statements on what he knew and when he knew it. If that weren't enough to fill a book, and it probably was, Pessah made the decision to add a large subplot to the story. During that period of time, the New York Yankees were sometimes hated, sometimes loved, usually winners, and never boring. For the most part, George Steinbrenner took care of that last part while he was still in charge of the team. Steinbrenner may have been the world's worst boss at times, and whether the team's results justified his behavior probably depends on the reader's point of view. But our fascination with his actions remain strong, even a few years after his death. The stories of Selig and the Yankees run concurrently here, and naturally overlap once in a while. Still, it's easy to wonder whether Pessah would have been better off writing two different books. What's in this big book, though, is frequently fascinating. The story delights in putting the reader on the scene of events, whether it's in a meeting room among owners, in labor negotiations, or even with movers and shakers as they hear about the attacks on 9/11. There's plenty of "inside stuff," such as details on Joe Torre's relationship with other members of the Yankee organization (it was rocky), to put the events of that era in perspective. In addition, it's great to have all of the events of this time period put into chronological order. Some developments in the steroid scandals came out immediately, but others dribbled out well after the fact. For example, the government's seizure of drug testing records - held to be illegal years later - didn't receive much publicity at the time. Pessah doesn't shy away from jumping to some conclusions here. He thinks Selig was a little too consumed with his legacy to act correctly in some cases. And, inevitably at this point, Alex Rodriguez takes a bit of a pounding. Most of the time, he seems to be on the right track. "The Game" can be a little overwhelming, and it's easy to wonder if the Yankees' story was a bit overtold. But it's hard to argue that all of this didn't deserve to be read somewhere. Baseball fans seeking a good look at the recent past would be well served to dive into this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julian Douglass

    One of the best books that I read so far in 2016. Mr. Pessah does a wonderful job writing this modern history of Baseball. The book begins in the early 1990's when the game was in a little bit of crisis mode and chronicles the evolution of the game up until today. Fantastic read for all of the fans like myself, who was born in 1993, who don't remember the labor negotiations of the early 90's. Then when you think he is done covering the labor side of the game, he does a wonderful job of painting t One of the best books that I read so far in 2016. Mr. Pessah does a wonderful job writing this modern history of Baseball. The book begins in the early 1990's when the game was in a little bit of crisis mode and chronicles the evolution of the game up until today. Fantastic read for all of the fans like myself, who was born in 1993, who don't remember the labor negotiations of the early 90's. Then when you think he is done covering the labor side of the game, he does a wonderful job of painting the steroid era, trashing everybody from Selig to Fehr to the congressional leaders. I remember so much from this book, from 2001 and on. I found myself laughing my ass off when he includes McGuire's "I'm not going to talk about the past," comment, the Mitchell report being released, which I wrote a mock newscast for in a radio and TV class when I was a Freshman in High School, and when A-Roid was discovered to be a cheater. Other moments in the book, from Obama throwing out the first pitch in his mom jeans in 2009, the national mourning when The Boss died, and even the chapter on baseball after 9//11 also brought back many memories for me. I also loved Mr. Pessah's sharp and witty criticism of George W Bush and the Congress from 2000-2006 when he mentioned many times of all the looming scandals that were ignored when they were pursing the Steroid issue instead of dealing with the countries problems. Fantastic read which I recommend to every single baseball fan alive.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Burkle

    A great look into the inner workings of the MLB, especially the labor agreements and strife there. It's very detailed in it's accounts of the backhanded nature of the owners, and to a far lesser extent, the player's union. It gives the perspective of a small market team, a large market team (the Yankees who else), and that of the players union. While it was a great read and I'm sure (knowing the credibility of the author) it's accurate it's account, it does feel very biased. The story always pai A great look into the inner workings of the MLB, especially the labor agreements and strife there. It's very detailed in it's accounts of the backhanded nature of the owners, and to a far lesser extent, the player's union. It gives the perspective of a small market team, a large market team (the Yankees who else), and that of the players union. While it was a great read and I'm sure (knowing the credibility of the author) it's accurate it's account, it does feel very biased. The story always paints the same side as the "bad side". Even when it attempts to place some blame on one of the other sides, it does so while apologizing or making excuses for them. This made the book seem like a bit of a propaganda piece. All that aside though it is a fascinating story for anyone interested in the reign of Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner and gives a great look into the behind the scenes of professional baseball.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    An interesting look at baseball during the reign of Bud Selig and the "steroid era". The research was well done and detailed. One critique I (and many other reviewers) have is the abundance of Yankees information. While the Yankees and George Steinbrenner in particular are important to the era and background of the story, the detailed stats and figures of the teams during the years discussed are entirely unnecessary. Far too much minute detail about the Yankees front office and players that real An interesting look at baseball during the reign of Bud Selig and the "steroid era". The research was well done and detailed. One critique I (and many other reviewers) have is the abundance of Yankees information. While the Yankees and George Steinbrenner in particular are important to the era and background of the story, the detailed stats and figures of the teams during the years discussed are entirely unnecessary. Far too much minute detail about the Yankees front office and players that really wasn't needed to further the storie(s). Overall, an interesting look for anyone that wants to reminisce about the era, learn more about it, or learn about it for the first time. I'd recommend to any baseball fan, old or young.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A very interesting look at the business of baseball from 1992 to 2010. The key figures in this story are Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner and Don Fehr. This well-researched book takes the reader from baseball's strike through difficult labor negotiations and negotiations over revenue sharing and a luxury tax that divided big market owners from small market owners. Eventually it moves into the Steroids Era of MLB and how that affected clubs and labor negotiations. If you're into both baseball and b A very interesting look at the business of baseball from 1992 to 2010. The key figures in this story are Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner and Don Fehr. This well-researched book takes the reader from baseball's strike through difficult labor negotiations and negotiations over revenue sharing and a luxury tax that divided big market owners from small market owners. Eventually it moves into the Steroids Era of MLB and how that affected clubs and labor negotiations. If you're into both baseball and business, then this is the book for you.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Vasile

    This book gets three stars because it is fairly wide-spanning in its scope and does a decent job at dealing with the complex issues of baseball's transformation under Commissioner Bud Selig. That being said there are some details in this book that are incorrect. Sadly, these are details that are not sourced at the end of the book, so it's hard to tell where they came from. So take some of the fine details with some grains of salt. This book gets three stars because it is fairly wide-spanning in its scope and does a decent job at dealing with the complex issues of baseball's transformation under Commissioner Bud Selig. That being said there are some details in this book that are incorrect. Sadly, these are details that are not sourced at the end of the book, so it's hard to tell where they came from. So take some of the fine details with some grains of salt.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Christiansen

    An enjoyable book. A little heavy on Steinbrenner, Selig, and Fehr. At least in my eyes, the reputations of these three individuals was not enhanced by the book. I was never a fan of Steinbrenner or Selig and this book did nothing to change that. Nonetheless, I found it to be a nice survey of the recent history of the game from the business perspective.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Canale

    a concise and modern history of Major League baseball. Pessah gives us a detailed and well researched look into Bud Selig's ascent and exit as baseball commissioner. Pessah discusses the steroid era and uses facts and not hearsay. He shows how the Yankees dynasty brings success to the entire league. a concise and modern history of Major League baseball. Pessah gives us a detailed and well researched look into Bud Selig's ascent and exit as baseball commissioner. Pessah discusses the steroid era and uses facts and not hearsay. He shows how the Yankees dynasty brings success to the entire league.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Deardurff

    A baseball history of the labor struggles, power struggles, and the relationship between the commissioner, the owners, and the players union. I read this after finishing, "For the Good of the Game" by Bud Selig to understand both sides of the growth and issues of Major League Baseball from 1992 - 2018. Both are great reads and compliments the other. A baseball history of the labor struggles, power struggles, and the relationship between the commissioner, the owners, and the players union. I read this after finishing, "For the Good of the Game" by Bud Selig to understand both sides of the growth and issues of Major League Baseball from 1992 - 2018. Both are great reads and compliments the other.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chaim Wachtel

    Baseball: The Selig years Great look at the twenty years of Selig as commish... from ruining the 94 season to almost tearing down the game over steroids, the author takes a look back. A well written look back, mostly following Bud, Don Fehr and the Boss... Didn’t learn anything knew, but it was a fun ride going back 20+ years

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