The Way of Baseball – Finding Stillness at 95 MPH : A Book Review
- Updated: May 28, 2011
Stillness is not something most people think of when they picture a fastball being thrown in their direction. However, in his new book, former MLB All Star Shawn Green attempts to explain to readers the how they can find meaning in all parts of life, whether they are flipping burgers or stepping in the batter’s box against Randy Johnson.
The former Gold Glove winner tells the story of his career and how his mindset changed throughout it. Green essentially went from a cocky young baseball player who knew he was going to make it, to being nervous about making it, to adapting and creating a quiet confidence about baseball and life.
Not only was Green able to harness his abilities during a low point in his career and change his training habits to make himself into a solid Major Leaguer, but he was able to take what he learned in that process and put it into practice in real life situations. Without his struggles, Green believes, he would not be able to understand the totality of the value of being fully present and involved in a single moment in his life no matter what it pertains to.
One of the more interesting sections of the book is when Green describes his transition to living near, and playing in, Los Angeles when he signed with the Dodgers as a free agent. Even though his early career struggles had initially taught him to maximize all moments in life, Green found himself falling back into his old habits when he arrived in L.A.
The former Silver Slugger Award winner explains how he felt the pressure mount when he became a Dodger due to the responsibility he felt to the team and its fans for signing such a large contract. Not only did his pressing to hit a homerun at every at bat affect his performance at the plate, it affected his life away from baseball as well. Green specifically states that his relationship with his fiancée suffered because of the strain he was putting on himself on the field.
Green credits a visit to Japan as what helped him to rediscover what he had lost. There he picked up on the Zen culture and harnessed his inner Phil Jackson as his life started to improve on and off the diamond. Without this Zen attitude, Green explains, he never would have reached stardom in the Big Leagues. While this may be the case, he also explains how many reporters, and even some teammates, didn’t appreciate his Zen attitude because it kept him so calm and levelheaded at all times, no matter what situation was occurring around him.
It was this levelheaded attitude that helped him to accomplish things like playing over a decade in the Majors and once hitting four homeruns in a single game. Green claims that this also continues to help his relationships with his family and has helped him to raise his children in a much more effective manner.
The book at least attempts to present itself as a guidebook for how to live a meaningful and successful life. However, success, Green explains, is often in the eye of the beholder and only truly matters to the person who is living that life.
Many players who know Green and have read his book claim it is an accurate reflection of who Green is as a person and the path his life took throughout his career. The book isn’t a thriller by any means, but it is a quick read and has some meaningful anecdotes about life that could be true takeaways if understood appropriately.
Green’s book was coauthored with Gordon McAlpine, an author of three novels, and will be released on June 7, 2011 by publisher Simon & Schuster.
Overall Rating: 3.25/5