cover image Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember

Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember

John Feinstein. Little Brown and Company, $26.99 (544pp) ISBN 978-0-316-11391-5

Though the season-long profile-in which a sportswriter follows a player, team or coach through a single season-grows increasingly familiar, this entry from Feinstein, one of the genre's pioneers (Next Man Up: A Year Behind the Lines in Today's NFL; The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever), delivers rare insight into the minds of two of baseball's most cerebral (and successful) pitchers. Veteran sportswriter Feinstein follows the Yankees' Mike Mussina and the Mets' Tom Glavine during the 2007 season, as they pursue personal milestones and try to pitch their teams back into the postseason. Although they each reach some of their goals (Mussina to 250 wins, Glavine 300), neither team reaches its ultimate goal. The main narrative, of personal and team struggle, is compelling, but the true enjoyment of books like these are in the details, and Feinstein does not disappoint. Not only does he exhaustively chronicle the season on-field, he reveals tidbits of inside ball that even hardcore fans will find enlightening: Who knew that Mussina's best friend on the Yankees is the bullpen catcher, Mike Borzello, or that Glavine helped avert a likely player strike after the 2003 season? This smart season tour makes a treat for both casual and die-had fans.