Off Speed

Off Speed

Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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"A wonderfully informative, exuberant, and entertaining book--part sports history, part personal history--that explores America's romance with baseball through one "perfect game" and the drama of pitching. In Off Speed, Terry McDermott weaves the fascinating story of baseball's 150-year hunt for the perfect pitch. Using the framework of a single game (9 chapters, 9 innings, 9 pitches), he explores the history of every type of pitch, combining the folk wisdom of the players with the enormous wealth of new data brought to the sport by the growing legion of statisticians who are transforming many of the sport's once sacred beliefs. As a lifelong baseball fan, McDermott approaches his subject with the love every fan brings to the park plus the expertise of an investigative journalist, exploring with irrepressible enthusiasm and curiosity both the technical side and the romance of the game"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780307379429
Characteristics: xxvi, 191 pages : illustrations


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Feb 03, 2019

Excellent easy-to-read volume that mixes information on the history & technical methods of the pitches used in Major League Baseball, the author's childhood in eastern Iowa and how baseball played a large role in small town life and how the various pitches were used in Felix Hernandez's perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in August 2012. Well researched, well written and captivating. Recommended for baseball fans, Mariner fans, those that want a deeper discussion of how the various pitches are thrown, why and their history and for a look at life in mid-America of the 1960s & 1970s.

PimaLib_NormS Dec 20, 2017

As I write this, it has been weeks since the World Series, and spring training seems so far away, so it seemed to me that it is a good time to read about baseball. Terry McDermott skillfully weaves multiple baseball stories through his new book, “Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception”. In particular, as a framework, McDermott uses a 2012 game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays, in which Seattle ace “King Felix” Hernandez pitched a perfect game (no runs, no hits, no errors, 27 up and 27 down). In each of the nine chapters, McDermott analyzes an inning of the game as pitched by Hernandez. There is more than just the story of the perfect game, however. Each chapter is titled with the name of a particular baseball pitch, as in, The Fastball, The Curve, The Slider, etc., and in those chapters, he informs the reader as to how to throw the pitch and what the batter sees as the ball approaches home plate. Also, he gives a detailed history of the pitch. And, if that is not enough, sprinkled throughout the text are anecdotes from his youth as a baseball fan and son of a ballplayer/groundskeeper for the hometown team in Cascade, Iowa. McDermott packs a lot into such a small book (less than 200 pages, including notes), but somehow he makes it work.

Jul 07, 2017

A delightfully rambling narrative about a perfect game thrown in 2012, about the different types of pitches thrown in baseball, and about so much more, McDermott's informal tone reminds me quite pleasantly of sitting down to listen to my father or grandfather relate a memory, entertaining while pulling the reader into the nostalgia he has for Cascade and America's greatest pastime.

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