SBD/Issue 34/Sports Industrialists

Book Shelf: Agassi's Drug Admission Part Of Revealing Book

Retired tennis player ANDRE AGASSI in his new autobiography, "OPEN," which hits bookstores November 9, admits to using crystal meth during the '97 ATP season several times. ESPN's Rick Reilly writes the book, co-written with J.R. MOEHRINGER, is Agassi's "mea culpa." From the beginning, Agassi and Moehringer "set out to write the most revealing, literate and toes-stompingly honest sports autobiography in history." Reilly: "From the parts I've been allowed to read, they might have done it." "Open" is the story of a "flawed man who sees everybody's imperfections, but none more than his own" (, 10/28). Denver Post columnist WOODY PAIGE said of Agassi's revelation, "I won't say he's trying to sell books because he's got plenty of money. He doesn't need money from selling books. I just think he wants to come clean about all that happened" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/28). 

LEGENDS OF THE FALL: In Boston, Bill Nowlin noted SEAN DEVENEY's "THE ORIGINAL CURSE," "examines the possibility that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series to the Red Sox." Deveney "provides a great deal of circumstantial evidence that suggests" that as a possibility, and his speculation is "not unreasonable." But he "strains to posit a consequential 'curse' suffered by both teams." The introduction of this "notion seems a device aimed at bigger book sales, but weakens the work by trivializing it." Meanwhile,  MIKE VACCARO's "THE FIRST FALL CLASSIC," is a "straightforward look at the 1912 World Series," and its story is "very well told" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/25). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Gerald Eskenazi wrote Vaccaro "makes a persuasive case" for the series being a classic. He "concedes in the introduction that he made up conversations between characters," but he "needn't have bothered -- his mastery of the facts allows him to evoke a bygone world." Meanwhile, Eskenazi wrote LEW PAPER's "PERFECT," recounts Yankees P DON LARSEN's perfect game in the '56 World Series "through the eyes of the 19 players who saw action that afternoon at Yankee Stadium." Paper is "not a sportswriter -- and it shows." But he is "especially good at capturing poignant storylines" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/17).

TAKING IT TO THE HOOP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Adam Thompson reviewed BILL SIMMONS' "THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL," and wrote, "For better or worse -- more better than worse -- the book flows much like Mr. Simmons's ESPN columns but with saltier language. Opinion gushes out of him. But he backs it up with equal parts serious research and off-angle observation" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/26).

FULL MOON FEVER: In Seattle, Bill Kossen wrote Pro Football HOFer WARREN MOON "goes deep" in his new book "NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM: MY JOURNEY." The book is "introspective," and "covers a lot of ground as he moves the reader up and down the field of his life, from the high points to the low, including two 2007 arrests for drunken driving." It is a book "full of insight and wisdom from an African-American man who became successful and wealthy doing something that, until he came along, few blacks playing for white coaches got the chance to do" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/26).

NORTHERN STAR: In Calgary, Richard Helm wrote TERRY MCCONNELL and J'LYN NYE in their new book, "I'D TRADE HIM AGAIN: ON GRETZKY, POLITICS, AND THE PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT DEAL," said that they have "striven for a fair portrayal" of former Oilers Owner PETER POCKLINGTON. The biography "covers Pocklington's earliest adventures as a young entrepreneur," while also discussing his "move to Edmonton, his acquisition of the Oilers, his short-lived political career, his slide in public stature" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/25). In Toronto, Garth Woolsey wrote the combination of McConnell, Nye and Pocklington "makes for a lively insider's read" (TORONTO STAR, 10/18).

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