Friday, November 3, 2017

Review of "The Big Chair" - audiobook

Now that the baseball season is over after an excellent World Series, it is only appropriate that the first book I review is a baseball one - and one of the major teams covered in the book was one of the teams in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Ned Colletti spent nine years as the GM of the team, and his years in Los Angeles, as well as those in San Francisco with the Giants and his hometown Chicago Cubs, are covered in this excellent memoir.  Here is my review of "The Big Chair."

The Big Chair: The Smooth Hops and Bad Bounces from the Inside World of the Acclaimed Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager” by Ned Colletti and Joseph A. Reaves. Narrated by Ned Colletti

Baseball, professional, memoir, management, Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, audio book

Publish date:
October 3, 2017

464 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

In the world of baseball general managers, Ned Collletti is well0-recognized name, having achieved success with three of the top franchises in the National League.  He began his career with his hometown Chicago Cubs for twelve years during which the team won two division titles.  He moved on to the San Francisco Giants, becoming assistant GM when they won the National League title in 2002, and then to the Los Angeles Dodgers for nine years.  Those nine years his teams compiled the best cumulative won-loss record despite not reaching the World Series and undergoing extreme turbulence as well. 

Colletti’s career in the game is captured, both the good and bad, in this very entertaining memoir co-written with Joseph A. Reaves.  Listening to the audio version narrated by Colletti gives the listener a very unique insight into the many stories shared by the former GM as he tells about not only the business of baseball, but the personal interactions he has had with nearly every type of person in the game, from the traveling secretary to scouts to players to agents and owners.  The narration is much like how he dealt with a variety of topics – even-keeled without too much drama but a lot of entertainment.

Stories he shares about people whose public persona is less than popular show this even-keeled and fair temperament that helped make him successful.  When Frank McCourt was dealing with a very public and bitter divorce that exposed his improper use of funds from the Dodgers and led to a takeover of the team by Major League Baseball and the eventual sale, not once did Colletti say a bad word about his boss.  Instead, he marveled at the eventual windfall McCourt would receive, praising the businessman side of the former Dodgers owner. 

Colletti has similar kind words for Scott Boras, an agent that makes many general managers and owners lose sleep.  Players who have had negative publicity for various reasons such as Yasiel Puig, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire all receive nice words from Colletti in the book. These illustrate the man’s personality much better than any outside author or story could do.

These stories and so many others give the reader or listener excellent insight into the life of a baseball general manager. One will quickly realize that there is far more to the job than just evaluating players and making trades or signing players that will improve a team. So many of the stories tell of Colletti’s nights of only about three hours (or less) of sleep as he juggles many tasks and sometimes has as many as three cell phones on and in use.  The book is entertaining, enlightening and very informative and will be enjoyed by every baseball fan. 

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  1. He sounds a bit saccharine to me Lance. Like he doesn't want to offend anyone. Sometimes those tid bits make for a good read.

  2. This is really cool. Thank you so much for sharing.. Health and