“Oriole Magic: The O’s of ‘83” by Thom Loverro
Baseball, Orioles, history
April 1, 2004
2 1/2 of 5 stars (so-so)
The Baltimore Orioles were one of baseball’s most successful franchises for nearly 20 years – from their shocking 1966 World Series sweep to the 1983 championship, the team was very successful and this book by former Orioles beat writer Thom Loverro recaps that last championship season from start to finish.
The book starts with a look back at past Orioles disappointments - the 1969 World Series loss to the New York Mets, being the first team to lose a World Series after having a three-games-to-one lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979, to losing the Eastern Division on the last day of the season in 1982 to the Milwaukee Brewers. These were used as motivation for the 1983 team, something Loverro reminds the reader regularly. I thought it was mentioned too often, one of the problems I had reading this book.
I felt the biggest strength of this book was also its biggest weakness. While Loverro does a good job of recapping the season’s games, it was hard to keep up on what series was being played against which team. The details of each game were written up almost like a newspaper article written to be read in the morning edition. That would be logical since Loverro covered the team for a Washington newspaper, but reading a book that is a narrative of the season written in that style was difficult to fully enjoy.
I also felt that when the book left the recap to tell a story about a player, it didn’t seem to be connected with the season at that point. Here Loverro gets a plus for not only talking about the stars like Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. but also other players such as Dan Ford and John Lowenstein. However, no matter who the story was about when it was told, it felt like a distraction to the recap of the season instead of an enhancement.
This wasn’t a terrible book as the details were good, the game-by-game listing at the end was a nice touch, and some of the player stories were interesting. But as a book to read and enjoy – it just didn’t do that for me. Therefore, the rating of this book is right down the middle – 2 ½ of 5 stars.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
It was a fast read, but very choppy as the narrative goes from recapping games to a story about a player back to the games to some other tidbit such as the fate of the manager. This would be fine if they were somehow connected with transition sentences or paragraphs, which were lacking.
Do I recommend?
Oriole fans will enjoy this recap of their latest championship. Other baseball fans may wish to pass on this one as there isn’t much depth or entertainment value in this book.
Book Format Read: