During this baseball game-less times, I'm resorting to new things to try and feed my addiction to baseball. That journey led me to Doug Glanville's book "The Game From Where I Stand." It's a book that detail's Glanville's experiences in baseball over his nine year career. It is a fantastic must read. I can't recommend it enough. It's a great book to read a chapter a day to soak it all in, or you can plow through it in a full afternoon.
Doug Glanville is a wise person, gifted with an extraordinary penchant for perspective. Throughout his career, he had a wide array of experiences that allowed him to craft that skill. He went to an Ivy League school, and was a first round draft pick. He then struggled in the minor leagues to round out his game, and was a late bloomer. He struggled for playing time, but then had a great year. He then got hurt, was shifted into a backup role, and was out of the game pretty fast. And he did all of this as an African American man, and during the peak of the steroid era. And also while tragically losing his father from stroke related complications. Glanville's acute awareness of all of his different situations enabled him to write a very detailed and empathetic book that takes the reader through a full spectrum of baseball experiences. Doug Glanville got to stand in a lot of different places.
Throughout the 11 chapters and 250 pages, Glanville peels back the layers of a baseball player. He details the psychology of being in the different situations and different levels of the game, and really helps the reader understand what it was like to be in his shoes. Each chapter peels back a different perspective, while still tying in to the previous experiences. He doesn't write each chapter based off a single year in his career in a strict chronological fashion. Rather, he pulls back the curtain to reveal the inner workings progressively, allowing his stories to resonate. He treats each topic with a degree of equality, allowing a full picture to be painted. This isn't a book about the struggles of a black man in America, nor is it a book about all the cool players a scrub got to meet as he hung on. It is a complete story about the entirety of Doug Glanville's career.
This is the kind of book I wish I had the chance to read as a kid. I've always enjoyed learning about the inner workings of something, understanding all the different cogs that make the machine go. Glanville details all the cogs that go into becoming a baseball player. He answers so many questions that a kid might have about what it's like to be a big leaguer; but also does so in such a way that you really understand. Even when he talks about polarizing topics like racial tensions and steroids, he presents his viewpoints in a clear and logical manner so that some of the heat from controversies doesn't have a bite. You understand his perspective, even if you might not agree with ever last word he has to say. He tries to remain as impartial and respectful as possible, while still detailing his frustrations over things like how mad he could have gotten when likely steroid user Fernando Viña got a bigger deal than steroid free Doug Glanville got in a similar time of both their careers. Reading his book, you are in his shoes. If I had gotten to experience this book as a kid, it would have drastically affected my baseball fandom by giving me a lot more understanding to ballplayers. I wish it was available then, but it has shaped me now, and going forward.
It is quite possibly my favorite book on the game of baseball. It's very informative, both from a cold hard facts standpoint as well as a personal memoir. Doug Glanville is a very good writer, who firmly puts you in his shoes throughout the many different experiences he had. Some of it's funny, some of it's sad. He's a real person, who lived a very real life. His story is much more down to earth than any biography of any Hall of Famer.
100% must read. 10/10. If I ever find a baseball book I enjoy more, I'll be sure to let you know.