3 Nights in August is a collaborative book between Tony La Russa and Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger. Buzz was granted exclusive access to the Cardinals team throughout the 2003 season and used his time to focus on the three game series against the Chicago Cubs. In the book La Russa reveals his strategy of identifying the point in the game where momentum is poised to swing and influence it to swing for the Cardinal’s fences.
3 Nights takes the reader wandering through a big league clubhouse from peeking in on pitching coach Dave Duncan’s strategy session with starter Woody Williams or bumping into reliever Steve Kline as he strolls around the locker room completely naked two hours before the game (still want that pregame press pass Rox Girl?).The three game series against the Cubs Dusty Baker turns into a chess match. Trying to push Kerry Woods into a high pitch count and force the Cubs shaky bullpen into the game. La Russa opens his managerial thoughts to Buzz and explains why bunting is good for the game because it moves runners into scoring position allowing better hitters to drive him home.
The Cardinals skipper talks about his players strengths and weaknesses nearly gushing with envy over the hitting ability of Albert Pujols. He also agonizes over the apathy of JD Drew who after receiving a big contract is content with playing in only a handful of games instead of using his god given talent to dominate the league. La Russa's tribute to Darryl Kile is moving and it is evident that the Cardinals lost their team leader when he passed away. Overall this book provides a unique insight for a team that was poised to make two consecutive World Series appearances.
HOW IT APPLIES TO THE COLORADO ROCKIES
Not only does La Russa take us into the inner workings of the game he does it with a sense of honesty that is usually missing in baseball. For instance when it comes to throwing at a batter, he believes that a pitcher should never throw at a hitter because he’s hitting well. However when it comes to retaliation the Cardinals skipper has no doubts. Early in 2003 the Cardinals were in Denver when the Rockies Nelson Cruz threw a pitch up and in against Jim Edmonds. At the moment Tony is thinking that a pitcher has to throw inside in Colorado or else the ball gets hit like a tee ball. The next pitch hits Edmonds in the shoulder possibly in retaliation to the previous game when Edmonds went 4-6 with 2 doubles a HR and 5 RBIs. La Russa then directs Brett Tomko to throw behind Todd Helton as a warning causing the umpire to issue a warning to both benches. Later in the game Cruz proves he’s not done and drills Tino Martinez causing himself and Clint Hurdle to be ejected. La Russa blames bench coach Jamie Quirk for the incident and calls his cell phone after the game to leave an angry message.
IF YOU LIKED THIS BOOK, YOU SHOULD READ THIS HISTORICAL EPIC
Long Knife, by James Alexander Thom
An epic tale along the lines of Beowulf and the Odyssey, which covers the campaign of George Rogers Clark during the American Revolution when he successfully defeated the British opening up the American Northwest to future explorers like his younger brother William Clark.