Book Review: Dealing

Many other books by well-known Northeast Ohio journalist Terry Pluto have been reviewed on this site before and this one is no different in terms of its entertainment value. In Dealing: The Cleveland Indians’ New Ballgame (Inside the Front Office and the Process of Rebuilding a Contender), Pluto takes readers through the steps it took to rebuild the Indians back to the dominant force they were in the 1990s.

The book does make the assumption that greater things were to come for the Tribe as it was published in 2006. Unfortunately for the Indians and their fans, they only saw one season of success when they came one game short of making it to the World Series in 2007 before having to go through another stretch of rebuilds that brought them to their current success of the present.

Obviously, hindsight is always 20/20, but Pluto’s reasoning for upcoming success is sound and many did believe that more than one post season trip was on the horizon for the Tribe as they seemed to climb the ranks of the Central Division bit by bit during the rebuild.

The reader can easily tell that Pluto has the respect of the front office that gives him contacts and information that many others don’t have. This book was revolutionary at the time in terms of the insight Pluto was able to explain to fans of the Wahoo Wonders regarding what was going on with the team they had become so passionate about during the run of division titles not even a decade earlier.

For those who have read Michael Lewis’ famous work Moneyball, this book will remind them much of that in terms of the level of detail available regarding specific trades and discussions in the front office about players and different financial difficulties. Taking place in the time just after Lewis’ book, the reader will be able to see that the Tribe was trying to use many of the same policies made famous by Billy Beane, that hadn’t necessarily become completely accepted at the time of the writing.

This reviewer greatly enjoyed this work and having read most of Pluto’s works, would rate this as his favorite at this time. While the book is relatively short, it covers a lot of information quickly and has virtually no fluff. This is an information filled book that covers nearly a decade of the interworking of a Major League Baseball team. Pluto touches on everything from the front office itself and how its makeup was decided to the payroll dip from 2001 at $96 million to around $40 million just two years later and the decisions that were made to give long term deals to younger yet promising players. This is very similar to the process used by the Indians teams from the 90s when they made bets on younger players under the notion they would turn out to be big contributors.

This book is recommended for all baseball fans, not just those of the Tribe, as it is an interesting look at the process of building a team, regardless of fan affiliation.

The 211-page book was published in the summer of 2006 by Gray and Company in Cleveland, OH. The hardcover version retails for $24.94.

Baseball Reflections Rating: 4/5

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  1. Pingback: Bits and pieces, January 11, 2018

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