Tag: Field of Dreams

Baseball Book Recommendations for the Long Offseason

Perfection. (MLB Gifs)

We’re in the offseason and it’s already cold and dreary. It’s dark at 5 p.m. and the days just get shorter from here. There’s no baseball on the immediate horizon. The hot stove is anything but.

Therefore, since you might want to think about baseball without its ubiquitous presence for a few months, here are a few book recommendations related to the game.

Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher

Released in May, Full Count is David Cone’s opportunity to recount his career and impart the lessons he learned from his many years around the game. Cone tells his story with the help of Jack Curry, himself New York Times bestselling author previously who you likely know from the very same YES broadcasts Cone often graces.

If you’re just looking for stories of the late 90s Yankees, there are plenty. Cone reminisces about his back-and-forths with the late George Steinbrenner and, of course, goes in-depth on his immortal accomplishment in 1999, his perfect game against the Expos. One of the funnier moments in the book is his recollection of facing Manny Ramirez.

Yet the book is so much more than just a collection of fun stories. The former Yankee and Met details the humbling process of making the Majors and hands down the wisdom he wishes he’d had at a younger age. Cone tackles his time as a Players Union rep and the 1994 strike.

Cone himself reads the audiobook, if you’re interested in that form. The erstwhile starting pitcher interview for the Yankees’ pitching coach vacancy this week, so this could be giving you a glimpse into the man in the ear of the Bombers’ staff.

Split Season: 1981

This book, written by former Cooperstown mayor Jeff Katz, recounts one of the most peculiar seasons in baseball history. The subtitle to the book — Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo and the Strike that Saved Baseball — gives you a strong glimpse.

The season on its own is compelling. A strike in the middle of the season led to first half and second half champions and hundreds of games canceled. For Yankees fans, the Bombers feature prominently as they and the Dodgers marched towards the Fall Classic, stopping in the first-ever Division Series along the way.

Yet I’d also recommend it with its relevance to right now. A little more than 40 years after the events of the book, baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement will expire and MLB and the Players Association very well could find their way to another work stoppage. The work of Marvin Miller and players such as Bob Boone to stand up to ownership was admirable, and some of the same issues (free agency, compensation, rich vs. poor teams) still affect the game.

The MVP Machine

The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh joined forces with FiveThirtyEight’s Travis Sawchik on this contemporary story about the forces changing player development in baseball.

If you can stomach a heavy dose of Trevor Bauer, who features prominently into the book, you receive a strong sense of the modern game. The book goes deep on Driveline Baseball, from which the Yankees signed away Sam Briend, as well as some of the development trends within the Astros’ and Red Sox’s organizations.

For a Yankees connection, the book details Adam Ottavino’s makeshift pitching laboratory. However, the Pinstripers, like most teams, weren’t keen on outsiders getting a view at their private process.

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

If you want to have baseball history woven through the present day, Tyler Kepner is the master. The New York Times’ scribe is a must-read in the paper (or online) and this book is just an extension of his combination of impressive reporting and knowledge.

The book goes through the history of pitching and individual pitchers. Kepner’s passion for the game comes through as he writes about Steve Carlton’s slider or how Madison Bumgarner relates to Ralph Terry.

Shoeless Joe

I distinctly remember this book on the required reading list going into high school and I was the only one in my class that enjoyed the W.P. Kinsella classic. The only fiction book in this post, the novel was eventually adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, and it’s one of my personal favorites.

Figured I’d put this one in both because it’s a personal favorite and the Yankees are going to be playing at the Field of Dreams in August. If you read it, they will come.

Highlights from the Yankees’ 2020 schedule

(New York Yankees)

Major League Baseball released its 2020 schedule Monday, so let’s get to the highlights of the Yankees’ slate for next season.

Charm City Beginnings, Maple Leaf at home

The Yankees open the season in Baltimore on Thursday, March 26 with the customary day off the Friday. The season began on March 28 this season. This is the earliest start to the domestic schedule in MLB history and it is the first time the Yankees have opened in Baltimore since 2009. Therefore, the first game of the CC Sabathia era took place at Camden Yards and the first game of the post-CC era will return there.

When you get to play more games in Baltimore (MLB Gifs)

After three games in Baltimore, the Yankees travel back down to Tampa for a three-game set at the Trop. Fun. After that, they have their home opener on Thursday, April 2 against the Blue Jays. The Bombers last had their home opener against the Canadian rivals in 2015. From there, it’s a three-game series with a Friday day off and a four-game set with the O’s.

Interleague Series

The Bombers have matchups with the NL Central in 2020. They play single series with four of the teams as well as two two-game sets, home and home, with the Pirates.

Home: Cincinnati: Apr. 17-19; Pittsburgh: May 5-6; Chicago: June 26-28
Away: Milwaukee: May 19-21; Pittsburgh: June 16-17; St. Louis: July 17-19

For those looking for a road trip, out of this, both the Milwaukee and Pittsburgh games take place in the middle of the week while the St. Louis series is the weekend after the All-Star break (All-Star Game is July 14). I’ve been to both Pittsburgh and St. Louis. I’d put Pittsburgh No. 2 on my personal list (behind Camden Yards) with St. Louis just outside the top 5. A nice park!

Mets and Red Sox

The marquee games and the most expensive games to attend typically. Here are the four Subway Series games for 2020.

Home: July 7-8
Road: July 28-29

I don’t typically cheer for rainouts, but I really want a day-night, two-stadium doubleheader again. There have been only three of those ever with the last coming in 2008 at each team’s old stadiums.

Meanwhile, here are the Red Sox games, which don’t take start until May:

Home: May 8-10, July 24-26, Sept. 8-10
Road: June 12-14, July 30-Aug.2, Aug. 31-Sept. 2

No London trip means all 10 road games are actually at Fenway Park. I’m still waiting for the Yankees to be the Patriots Day game again as they haven’t played in Boston on that day since 2004. The Red Sox host Cleveland for that 11:00 start in 2020.


  • The Yankees are at home on Memorial Day (May 25) against the Mariners.
  • Not a national holiday, but a baseball holiday, the Yankees are at Texas on Jackie Robinson Day (April 15).
  • In some atypical weirdness, the Yankees are in Canada on July 4 to face the Jays.
  • Yankees are in Baltimore on Labor Day (Sept. 7).
Embed from Getty Images

Reduced Travel

Thanks to not playing the NL West and no trip to Europe, the Yankees should see their mileage reduced in 2020, a big boon to staying healthy or finding peak performance. The Bombers haven’t had many issues with the latter this season.

With that, the Yanks only go to the West Coast twice in 2020 with the following trips:

Apr. 10-15: Oakland/Texas (Yes, I know Texas isn’t on the coast)
May 29-June 3: Anaheim/Seattle

That Oakland/Texas trip takes place after the Pinstripers’ first homestand. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ first series at the new Globe Life Park will be in the middle of the week on a Monday-Wednesday. Another potential road trip otherwise.

In a weird scheduling quirk, the Yankees have no 4-game road series with the AL West and have four 4-game home series vs. AL West teams. They make up for that with four-game road series with the Twins and Tigers as well as two more AL East road games than home games. They play the Rays, Orioles and Red Sox 10 times on the road vs. 9 times at home (vice versa for the Jays).

Field of Dreams

The Yankees play the first MLB game ever in Iowa at the site of the film Field of Dreams on Thursday, Aug. 13 against the White Sox. That’s the last game of a 17-games-in-17-days stretch, the longest of the Yankees’ season. It’ll be an intimate affair with about 8,000 seats at the temporary park, which could make for a tremendous atmosphere. It’ll be an 8:05 p.m. start on FOX.

The Yankees and White Sox have a travel day the Friday before playing the last two games of their series in Chicago. It’ll be another weird Friday off as with before the London Series this season.

Side note: I want that poster of Gleyber Torres as Kevin Costner to hang up on my wall.

Saving the Best for Last

The Yankees have a brutal stretch to end the season. In September as a whole, they play two series with the Rays, two with the Red Sox and one with the Astros, the latter a four-game series in the Bronx.

Better yet, 10 of their last 13 games and each of their last seven are against the Rays and Astros. The Yankees close the season on Sept. 21-27 with a homestand — It will be their first home end to the season since 2017 — against the Astors and Rays. That Sept. 27 ending means Wild Card Games will take place in September, though the Yankees will look to skip right to October baseball.

Quick Hitters:

  • The Yankees have two 10-game road trips. The first is May 11-21 against the Rays, Astros and Brewers, all potential 2019 (and 2020) playoff teams.
  • The other 10-gamer is Aug.28-Sept.7 against the Indians, Red Sox and Orioles. Even with the Sox included, that’s a lot less brutal.
  • The longest homestand at Yankee Stadium is a nine-gamer from Aug. 17-26 against the Rays, Jays and O’s.
  • The Yankees have two wraparound (Friday to Monday) series: May 22-25 with Seattle at home and Sept. 4-7 against the Orioles on the road. Both of the Mondays are holidays (see above). I don’t know why, but I weirdly enjoy wraparound series. Perhaps because the walk-off weekend series in 2009 was one.
  • Lastly, will 2020 be the year the Yankees win 162 games? The saying goes, “You can’t win them all.” However, that’s a lie. You actually can win them all. You’re allowed to. There’s no unwritten rule forbidding it. Still, I figure the Yankees will have settle for quite a few less.

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