I will be brief: A sampling of baseball e-books samples

January 21, 2015

Submitted for your interest from another semi-regular scan of new titles.

It may seem unfair, but I do tend to judge e-books by their cover, especially when they are offered only in that format. It’s an indication of the time and effort the author/publisher puts into the project. Similarly, I’m basing my opinions strictly on the quality of the sample offered. Some are longer than others; I’m not sure who makes those decisions. Comments here refer only to the Kindle editions (as opposed to other e-book versions); the use of additional information, photos, etc., may or may not be different from the print edition. Prices reflect latest from Amazon for ebook and full price/Amazon discount for print.

https://d1vxgwos21rroi.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/BF15_200w.jpg2015 Baseball Forecaster: An Encyclopedia of Fanalytics, by BaseballHQ.com. I am not a big proponent of fantasy baseball nor sabermetrics. In theory, I find it interesting, but in practice, not so much. What I am is fascinated to learn that this publication is in its 29th year, which means it originated long before the popularity of ebooks. How books like this and Baseball Prospectus, which rely so heavily on statistics and tables, keep things fresh? Kudos to the authors for having the honesty to admit that books like this “can’t project player performances with the level of precision that advanced metrics and modeling systems would like us to believe.”

Sample size: One-plus chapters.
Table of contents? Yes.
Would I read the rest? Probably
Price: $9.98 vs. vs. $25.95/$19.68
Worth the price? Yes.

The Bill James Handbook 2015, by Baseball Info Solutions. I have recently passed the stage in life where I feel I have to have every baseball book that comes out. Whether that’s fatalism or practicality, I don’t know, but this is the type of book that will bear the brunt of my decision. That’s not to say that the book isn’t worthy. Who am I to criticize an innovator and icon such as Bill James? As to the volume itself, this is another in the genre of annuals that presents mostly the same kind of info each year, with an extra “line” added to update the career stats. But I wouldn’t read it for the tables, a difficult feat on my Kindle Fire tablet; I would read it for James’ entertaining commentary..

Sample size: Introduction. Three chapters-plus.
Table of contents? Yes.
Would I read the rest? Probably not
Price: $10.49 vs. $28.95/$23.04
Worth the price? Moot point.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dKBj59AhL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgThe Language of Baseball: A Complete Dictionary of Slang Terms, Cliché’s and Expressions from the Grand Ole Game, by Ryan Grey. Was this trip really necessary when Paul Dickson did is so much better? Comparing Grey’s Language to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (for a lower price) is like comparing a student’s dictionary with the two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language. (By the way, Grey’s book is not to be confused with The Hidden Language of Baseball, another title from Dickson.)

Sample size: Words beginning with “A” and most of “B”
Table of contents? No, but since this is a dictionary….
Would I read the rest? No
Price: $15.99 vs. $19.95/$16.43
Worth the price? Moot point.

1302 Winning Quotes for Coaches, by Bob Bennett. Published by Coaches Choice (the same outfit that released The Language of Baseball), this is exactly as advertised: a collection of supposedly inspirational quotes for coaches to use on their teams. Sorry if I appear jaded, but does this stuff still work anymore? Can’t you just see some neophyte poring over these all night to lay on his charges the next day? The one sample chapter offers no attributions for the scores of quotes on the subject of adversity.

Sample size: One chapter
Table of contents? No.
Would I read the rest? No, but then, I’m not a coach.
Price: $15.96 vs. $19.95/$15.44
Worth the price? Moot point.

http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/images/9780252038754.jpgMarvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary, by Robert Burk. A lot of people have been looking forward to a solid bio of Miller and this seems to be the one. Burk, who has written before on baseball and labor (Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920 and Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921) serves up a thoughtful appraisal for the man who may have done more to change the game than anyone has ever given him credit for.

Sample size: Extensive preface, acknowledgments, and sizable first chapter
Table of contents? Yes
Would I read the rest? Yes
Price: $17.01 vs. $35/$31.50
Worth the price? Moot point.

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