The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers

For baseball fans, there is never too much to read or chew over and debate. With Jon Pessah's The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers, they'll get a cornucopia (656 pages) of information. Written by a founding editor of ESPN the Magazine, and a Pulitzer nominee, it's a gritty and sensational history of America's national pastime from 1992 through 2010. Pessah focuses on MLB commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, readmitted to the MLB after a two-year suspension, and players' union head Don Fehr.

1992 brought a soon-to-be monumental change in baseball when Brewers owner Bud Selig took over after Fay Vincent's ouster. (When Vincent said the commissioner "should represent the players and the fans as well as the owners," Selig decided he had to go.) In opposition to Selig were Steinbrenner, because of Selig's insistence on revenue sharing to help smaller teams (like his Brewers), and Fehr, because Selig wanted to "crush" the union. Chicanery, threats, mendacity, scheming: it's all here in appalling but riveting detail, along with the steroid investigation political posturing.

This struggle for power and billions of dollars makes for a juicy and engrossing story that reads like a thriller, with a star supporting cast: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire and even George W. Bush, who wanted to be commissioner more than president. Definitely not a fan letter to Bud Selig, this is a must-read before 2016 labor negotiations begin. Pessah calls the game perfectly. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

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