The book: “A Band of Misfits: Tales of the 2010 San Francisco Giants”
The author: Andrew Baggarly
The vital stats: Triumph Books, 316 pages, $19.95
The pitch: Without any banners flying overhead or fisticuffs in the parking lot, we’ve punched through this one into the rotation much quicker than anticipated — the Dodgers-Giants Reunion Tour to start the season is cause for national focus, with three of the first four games going across the country (or at least not just limited to L.A. or S.F.) by ESPN and Fox.
Baggarly, the San Jose Mercury News’ Giants beat reporter the past seven seasons, author of the popular “Extra Baggs” blog (linked here) and a former Dodgers and Angels reporter for the Riverside Press Enterprise, is as good a resource as any to make this book come to life for Giants fans who’ve waited more than 50 years for a reason to celebrate. Especially, at the Dodgers’ expense.
And you get what you pay for: Great insight, weaving the player bio chapters into the season storyline, and winding up with a great argument as to just how improbable it was for this team to emerge in the NL West, then turn it up a couple of notches with a pitching staff that would make any Dodger fan of the 1960s enjoy.
If you thought the ’88 Dodgers were the real band of misfits, Baggarly gives you reason to reconsider.
Page 133: “Nobody wanted them. Aubrey Huff’s phone had been silent all winter. Another team paid Pat Burrell to disappear. Cody Ross was given away. Andres Torres and Juan Uribe arrived as minor league free agents. The Giants’ lineup was full of former Pirates and Rays. They were a collection of castoffs — players nobody valued.”
Here, it’s all about team chemistry, getting through the grind of a season, having fun and avoiding miscommunications with teammates and other players. Most team GMs should study this when they’re trying to piece together a family of 25 that has to live with each other eight months a year. No wonder Dodgers GM Ned Colletti admitted that he teared up watching the franchise he used to work for finally get over the top.
How it goes down in the scorebook: No worries: It’s not a rip-and-read effort to get something there to capitalize on the World Series hangover (although, it doesn’t hurt). There’s much more depth and insight that you’d often find in other books by this publisher (see, Day 1, Don Mattingly).
Just a spoiler alert: The Giants still win in the end. And Aubry Huff still has his rally thong. And your Giant friends won’t let you forget it. Now, back to the Barry Bonds trial …
Baggarly says he’ll be at the S.F. Saloon in West L.A. tonight at 7 p.m. for a book signing if you’re in the neighborhood and are daring enough to get a copy defaced for your Dodger-faithful friends.