REVERSING THE CURSE: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox

Dan Shaughnessy, Author . Houghton Mifflin $23 (260p) ISBN 978-0-618-51748-0

Sportswriter Shaughnessy, whose bestselling Curse of the Bambino chronicled the Boston Red Sox's interminable World Serie drought, now follows the team's happy trails, portraying its colorful characters, false starts, stumbles and eventual triumphs during the 2004 season. The story keeps rounding back to the relationship between the Red Sox and the Yankees, which Shaugnessy compares to the relationship of the "USA-USSR, circa early 1960s." But there's more to the story than just the team's rivalry with the Yankees, and the book maintains a nice balance of on-the-field reports and behind-the-scenes drama. Shaugnessy, a Boston Globe columnist who gained access to the team's players and managers, focuses on some of the main actors in this soap opera: Theo Epstein, the boy-genius general manager; Pedro Martinez, the enigmatic pitcher; Manny Ramirez, the talented-but-lackadaisical outfielder; and Johnny Damon, the "Jesus action figure" center fielder. Shaughnessy's top-notch reporting and dry wit put this honest, entertaining work near the top of the list of this spring's baseball books. Two eight-page photo inserts not seen by PW . (Mar. 30)

Reviewed on: 02/28/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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