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John Feinstein has already taken readers into the inner circles of top college basketball programs in The Legends Club. This time, Feinstein pulls back the curtain on college basketball's lesser-known Cinderella stories--the smaller programs who no one expects to win, who have no chance of attracting the most coveted high school recruits, who rarely send their players on to the NBA.
Feinstein follows a handful of players, coaches, and schools who dream, not of winning the NCAA tournament, but of making it past their first or second round games. Every once in a while, one of these coaches or players is plucked from obscurity to continue on to lead a major team or to play professionally, cementing their status in these fiercely passionate fan bases as a legend. These are the gifted players who aren't handled with kid gloves--they're hardworking, gritty teammates who practice and party with everyone else.
With his trademark humor and invaluable connections, John Feinstein reveals the big time programs you've never heard of, the bracket busters you didn't expect to cheer for, and the coaches who inspire them to take their teams to the next level.
“No one grows up playing baseball pretending that they’re pitching or hitting in Triple-A.” —Chris Schwinden, Triple-A pitcher
“If you don’t like it here, do a better job.” —Ron Johnson, Triple-A manager
John Feinstein gave readers an unprecedented view of the PGA Tour in A Good Walk Spoiled. He opened the door to an NCAA basketball locker room in his explosive bestseller A Season on the Brink. Now, turning his eye to our national pastime, sports journalist John Feinstein explores the colorful and mysterious world of minor-league baseball—a gateway through which all major-league players pass in their careers . . . hoping never to return.
Baseball’s minor leagues are a paradox. For some players, the minors are a glorious launching pad toward years of fame and fortune; for others, a crash-landing pad when injury or poor play forces a big leaguer back to a life of obscure ballparks and cramped buses instead of Fenway Park and plush charter planes. Focusing exclusively on the Triple-A level, one step beneath Major League Baseball, Feinstein introduces readers to nine unique men: three pitchers, three position players, two managers, and an umpire. Through their compelling stories, Feinstein pulls back the veil on a league that is chock-full of gifted baseball players, managers, and umpires who are all one moment away from getting called up—or back—to the majors.
The stories are hard to believe: a first-round draft pick and pitching ace who rocketed to major-league success before finding himself suddenly out of the game, hatching a presumptuous plan to get one more shot at the mound; a home run–hitting former World Series hero who lived the dream, then bounced among six teams before facing the prospects of an unceremonious end to his career; a big-league All-Star who, in the span of five months, went from being completely out of baseball to becoming a star in the ALDS, then signing a $10 million contract; and a well-liked designated hitter who toiled for eighteen seasons in the minors—a record he never wanted to set—before facing his final, highly emotional chance for a call-up to the big leagues.
From Raleigh to Pawtucket, from Lehigh Valley to Indianapolis and beyond, Where Nobody Knows Your Name gives readers an intimate look at a baseball world not normally seen by the fans. John Feinstein gets to the heart of the human stories in a uniquely compelling way, crafting a masterful book that stands alongside his very best works.
Traveling with the golfers on the PGA Tour, Feinstein gets inside the heads of the game's greatest players as well as its struggling wannabes. Meet superstars like Nick Price, who nailed a fifty-foot putt at the seventeenth to win the British Open, and Paul Azinger, who marked his return from a bout with cancer with an emotional appearance at the Buick Open. Go behind the scenes for Davis Love III's unforgettable come-from-behind victory in the Ryder Cup. In golf, Feinstein eloquently relates, the line that separates triumph from disappointment is incredibly fine. "One week you've discovered the secret to the game; the next week you never want to play it again."
Coming into 2016, the Americans had lost an astounding six out of the last seven Ryder Cup matches, and tensions were running high for the showdown that took place in October, 2016 in Hazeltine, Minnesota, just days after American legend Arnold Palmer had died. What resulted was one of the most raucous and heated three days in the Cup's long history. Award-winning author John Feinstein takes readers behind the scenes, providing an inside view of the dramatic stories as they unfolded: veteran Phil Mickelson's two-year roller-coaster as he upended the American preparation process and helped assemble a superb team; superstar Rory McIlroy becoming the clear-cut emotional leader of the European team, and his reasons for wanting to beat the US team so badly this time around; the raucous matches between McIlroy and American Patrick Reed - resulting in both incredible golf, and several moments that threatened to come to blows; the return of Tiger Woods not as a player but an assistant captain, and his obsession with helping the US win - which was never the case when he was playing. John Feinstein's classic bestseller, A Good Walk Spoiled, set the bar for golf books. Now Feinstein provides his unique take on the Ryder Cup, which has clearly become golf's most intense and emotional event...it's 'first Major.'
Taking the reader through contract negotiations, spring training, the ups of wins and losses, and the people in their lives-family, managers, pitching coaches, agents, catchers, other pitchers -- John Feinstein provides a true insider's look at the pressure cooker of sports at the highest level.
On March 18, 1980, the immensely powerful Duke basketball program announced the hiring of its new coach—the man who would resurrect the team, restore glory to Duke, and defeat the legendary Dean Smith, who coached down the road at UNC Chapel Hill and had turned UNC into a powerhouse. Duke's new man was Mike Krzyzewski. The only problem was, no one knew who Krzyzewski was, he had a so-so record in his short time as head coach of Army, and worst of all, no one could even pronounce his name. The announcement caused head scratches . . . if not immediate calls for his head . . . and on this note his career at Duke began.
The table was set nine days later, when on March 27, 1980, Jim Valvano was hired by North Carolina State to be their new head coach. The hiring didn't raise as many eyebrows, but with the exuberant Valvano on board, two new coaches were now in place to challenge Dean Smith—and the most sensational competitive decade in history was about to unfold.
In the skillful hands of John Feinstein, this extraordinary rivalry—and the men behind it—come to life in a unique, intimate way. The Legends Club is a sports book that captures an era in American sport and culture, documenting the inside view of a decade of absolutely incredible competition. Feinstein pulls back the curtain on the recruiting wars, the intensely personal competition that wasn't always friendly, the enormous pressure and national stakes, and the battle for the very soul of college basketball allegiance in a hot-bed area. Getting to the roots of the NCAA goliath that is followed religiously by millions of fans today, Feinstein uses his unprecedented access to all three coaches to paint a portrait only he could conjure. The Legends Club is destined to be one of Feinstein's biggest bestsellers.
In the mighty National Football League, one player becomes the face of a franchise, one player receives all the accolades and all the blame, and one player's hand will guide the rise or fall of an entire team's season - and the dreams of millions of fans. There are thirty-two starting quarterbacks in the NFL on any given Sunday, and their lives are built around pressure, stardom, and incredible talent. Legendary bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein, in his most insightful book yet, shows readers what it's really like to play the glory position and to live that life - mapping out a journey that runs from college stardom to the NFL draft to taking command of the huddle and marching a team down the field with a nation of fans cheering.
Feinstein builds his profile around five NFL starting quarterbacks - Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Doug Williams. With incredible inside access, we get the full quarterback experience...being drafted #1 overall, pushing through grueling injuries, winning Super Bowls, being named a starter on multiple teams, being the first African American QB to lead a franchise to a title. Feinstein shows us exactly what it's like in the locker room, huddle, heat of battle, and press conferences, through spectacular moments and embarrassing defeats. He explores the controversies of a league embroiled in questions of substance abuse and racism, TV revenue, corporate greed, and the value placed on player health. And in the end, Feinstein addresses the ways in which each quarterback - some just a year out of college -- is handed the keys to a franchise worth billions of dollars, and how each team's fortunes ride directly on the shoulders of its QB. This is Feinstein's most fascinating behind-the-scenes book.
The grim reality: If you don't make it through Q school, you're not on the PGA tour. You're out. And those who make it to the sixday finals are the lucky ones: hundreds more players fail to get through the equally grueling first two stages of the event. John Feinstein tells the story of the players who compete for these coveted positions in the 2005 Q school as only he can. With arresting accounts from the players, established winners, rising stars, the defeated, and the endlessly hopeful, America's favorite sportswriter unearths the inside story behind the PGA Tour's brutal all-ornothing competition.
Bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein persuaded one NFL team to lift the extraordinary secrecy that shrouds the sport and let him see how a team operates at the closest level. One team let him join every practice, every coaches' meeting, every players' gathering, every strategy debate. From the give-and-take of draft day, into the grinder of summer training camps, and from 100-degree practice games to the last game in frigid conditions, Feinstein reveals how a football team works -- or fails to work -- as no writer has done before.
Next Man Up unveils rituals (what a coach tells a player at the moment he cuts him); rules (the inanities of league-appointed "uniform Nazis"); conflicts (the scouts vs. the coaches, the general managers vs. the agents, the offense vs. the defense, the special teams coaches vs. everybody); money (how much a journeyman makes, and how his life differs from the multi-million-dollar-a-year star players)-every nuance of a team's life, from the owner's goals to the coach's day-to-day travails to the feeling of the sleet-soaked ball in the hands of a receiver on artificial turf.
The access John Feinstein enjoyed allows him to discuss with equal understanding the owner's management strategy, the coaches' and coordinators' plans for each new game, and how it all affects the players themselves. Anyone who loves football -- any team, in any era -- will savor the thousands of details revealed here for the first time, and the extraordinary drama that goes into following week after week, the most sensational sport in America.
From award-winning sportswriter John Feinstein, a YA novel about a teen golfer poised to blaze his way into Masters Tournament history—and he’ll face secrecy, sacrifice, and the decision of a lifetime to get there.
Seventeen-year-old Frank Baker is a golfing sensation. He’s set to earn a full-ride scholarship to play at the university of his choice, but his single dad wants him to skip college and turn pro—golf has taken its toll on the family bank account, and his dad is eager to start cashing in on his son’s prowess. Frank knows he isn’t ready for life on the pro tour—regardless of the potential riches—so his swing coach enlists a professional golfer turned journalist to be Frank’s secret adviser.
Pressure mounts when, after reaching the final of the U.S. Amateur tournament, Frank wins an automatic invite to the Masters. And when the prodigy, against all odds, starts tearing up the course at Augusta National, sponsors are lined up to throw money at him—and his father. But Frank’s entry in the Masters hinges on maintaining his standing as an amateur. Can he and his secret adviser—who has his own conflicts—keep Frank’s dad at bay long enough to bring home the legendary green jacket?
In Backfield Boys, renowned sports journalist and New York Times–bestselling author John Feinstein tells a thrilling story of friendship, football, and a fight for justice.
Freshman footballers Jason Roddin and Tom Jefferson are a perfect pair: Jason is a blazing-fast wide-receiver, while his best friend Tom has all the skills a standout quarterback needs. After summer football camp at an elite sports-focused boarding school, the boys are thrilled to be invited back with full-ride scholarships.
But on day one of practice, they’re shocked when the team's coaching staff makes Tom, a black kid, a receiver and Jason, a white kid, a quarterback. Confronted with mounting evidence of deep-seated racial bias, the boys speak out, risking their scholarships and chances to play. As tensions ratchet up with coaches and other players, Tom and Jason must decide how much they're willing to lose in a conflict with powerful forces that has nothing—and everything—to do with the game they love.
Teen sports reporter Susan Carol is competing as a swimmer at her first-ever Olympic games. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and her best friend Stevie is both amazed and envious. Usually they cover sporting events together, now he’s covering her. But Stevie can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right. Everyone wants a piece of Susan Carol’s success—agents, sponsors, the media. Just how far will they go to ensure that America’s newest Olympic darling wins gold?
John Feinstein has been praised as “the best writer of sports books in America today” (The Boston Globe), and he proves it again in this fast-paced novel.