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An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history. On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Bi An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history. On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out an illegal amount of pine tar—the sticky substance used for a better grip—on Royals third baseman George Brett’s bat. Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria. The Pine Tar Game chronicles this watershed moment, marking a pivot in the sport, when benign cheating tactics, like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor struggles, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, featuring two diametrically opposed owners, in George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kauffman; a host of bad actors and phenomenal athletes; and lots of yelling. Players and club officials like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz offer fresh commentary on the events along with their take on a rivalry that culminated in one of the most iconic baseball tantrums of all time. Rush Limbaugh, employed by the Royals at the time as a promotions director, offers his own insider’s perspective. Through this one fateful game, the ensuing protest, and ultimate fallout, The Pine Tar Game examines a more innocent time in professional sports, as well as the shifting tide that gave us today’s modern iteration of baseball.


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An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history. On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Bi An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history. On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out an illegal amount of pine tar—the sticky substance used for a better grip—on Royals third baseman George Brett’s bat. Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria. The Pine Tar Game chronicles this watershed moment, marking a pivot in the sport, when benign cheating tactics, like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor struggles, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, featuring two diametrically opposed owners, in George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kauffman; a host of bad actors and phenomenal athletes; and lots of yelling. Players and club officials like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz offer fresh commentary on the events along with their take on a rivalry that culminated in one of the most iconic baseball tantrums of all time. Rush Limbaugh, employed by the Royals at the time as a promotions director, offers his own insider’s perspective. Through this one fateful game, the ensuing protest, and ultimate fallout, The Pine Tar Game examines a more innocent time in professional sports, as well as the shifting tide that gave us today’s modern iteration of baseball.

30 review for The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball's Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This is a very well written book principally about George Brett and the infamous Pine Tar incident. The other larger than life characters were Billy Martin (famously sore loser and manager of the opposing Yankees), Goose Gossage (Yankees pitcher who gave up the home run), George Steinbrenner (the Yankees owner and famously disreputable character) and Ewing Kaufman (beloved owner of the Royals). While not a complete biography of George Brett, considered by many to be the best all around hitter of This is a very well written book principally about George Brett and the infamous Pine Tar incident. The other larger than life characters were Billy Martin (famously sore loser and manager of the opposing Yankees), Goose Gossage (Yankees pitcher who gave up the home run), George Steinbrenner (the Yankees owner and famously disreputable character) and Ewing Kaufman (beloved owner of the Royals). While not a complete biography of George Brett, considered by many to be the best all around hitter of the past fifty years, it was quite insightful. There’s also a touching epilogue on Brett and Gossage’s reconciliation years later. 5 stars. Highly recommended particularly for baseball fans of the 70’s and 80’s.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    I received a republication copy of this book (July 21, 2015) through NetGalley with the understanding that I would publish are review on my blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google + pages along with NetGalley, Amazon and Goodreads. I requested this book because I am an avid New York Yankee's fan and I was interested on how one baseball play could be turned into a book. It is the first book by Filip Bondy that I have read. The book overall is a disappointment. The game itself, of which there i I received a republication copy of this book (July 21, 2015) through NetGalley with the understanding that I would publish are review on my blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google + pages along with NetGalley, Amazon and Goodreads. I requested this book because I am an avid New York Yankee's fan and I was interested on how one baseball play could be turned into a book. It is the first book by Filip Bondy that I have read. The book overall is a disappointment. The game itself, of which there is not much in the book, does not surface until more than halfway through the book. The first half of the book attempts to lay the groundwork of the individuals involved in the controversy. Unfortunately, the author beats this part to death and is repetitive on a number of points as if the reader will not get it the first or second time they read it (i.e. - the George Steinbrenner - Billy Martin relationship). In summary, this is a short story stretched out into a book. I would recommend this to anyone who is unfamiliar with the Pine Tar Game and the various characters connected to it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam Yates

    I'm getting quite unlucky as of late with my choices. Again I got over a third into this book and we haven't yet reached the actual event that we're all here for. The book does to its credit mention that it's a history of not just the Pine Tar game but of the Royal's but I found myself skipping pages out of boredom. Next... I'm getting quite unlucky as of late with my choices. Again I got over a third into this book and we haven't yet reached the actual event that we're all here for. The book does to its credit mention that it's a history of not just the Pine Tar game but of the Royal's but I found myself skipping pages out of boredom. Next...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lance

    This book was almost as entertaining as watching George Brett charge out of the dugout during this infamous baseball game. If you remember the game you want to read this. My review is posted here: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201... This book was almost as entertaining as watching George Brett charge out of the dugout during this infamous baseball game. If you remember the game you want to read this. My review is posted here: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bert van der Vaart

    Relatively readable if long winded recounting of the game between the NY Yankees (Steinbrenner and Billy Martin) against the KC Royals, when George Brett hit what seemed likely to be the game winning home run but where Billy Martin challenged the home run given an apparently technical violation of a baseball rule against adding foreign substances beyond a certain level of the bat. What was interesting was the technical reading of the baseball rules by a KC Royals fan, Dean Taylor (whom the autho Relatively readable if long winded recounting of the game between the NY Yankees (Steinbrenner and Billy Martin) against the KC Royals, when George Brett hit what seemed likely to be the game winning home run but where Billy Martin challenged the home run given an apparently technical violation of a baseball rule against adding foreign substances beyond a certain level of the bat. What was interesting was the technical reading of the baseball rules by a KC Royals fan, Dean Taylor (whom the author labels the "Rules Nerd")--this an otherwise ordinary fan whose reading of the rules was clear and clearly better than the umpires who had to make their ruling on the field of course. The umpires first disallowed the home run (qualifying the hit as the only out by home run), but then were overruled. NY was upset, KC was relieved, and neither team qualified for the playoffs. I kept waiting for why this all was significant enough to read 225 pages. At the end, although I learned some more about Ewing Kauffman (whose foundation does a great job promoting entrepreneurship), Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner--but it probably would have been easier to read their Wikipedia sites.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Greg Miller

    I knew almost none of the backstory which led to George Brett running out of the dugout like a wild man - and certainly didn't know that they had to replay the ninth inning. Like so many other baseball books, it is full of colorful stories and crazy characters. I knew almost none of the backstory which led to George Brett running out of the dugout like a wild man - and certainly didn't know that they had to replay the ninth inning. Like so many other baseball books, it is full of colorful stories and crazy characters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allen Adams

    http://www.themaineedge.com/sports/go... Part of what we find so fascinating about sports is the potential for iconic moments. Due to the unpredictable nature of athletics, you never know when something unforgettable is going to take place. Maybe it’s a brilliant fielding play or a clutch base hit, maybe it’s a big strikeout or a bit of managerial gamesmanship – whatever it is, it’s memorable. Filip Bondy has addressed one such moment in time with his latest book, “The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas Ci http://www.themaineedge.com/sports/go... Part of what we find so fascinating about sports is the potential for iconic moments. Due to the unpredictable nature of athletics, you never know when something unforgettable is going to take place. Maybe it’s a brilliant fielding play or a clutch base hit, maybe it’s a big strikeout or a bit of managerial gamesmanship – whatever it is, it’s memorable. Filip Bondy has addressed one such moment in time with his latest book, “The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy”. For those unfamiliar, the Pine Tar Game was one of the most weirdly controversial baseball moments of the past 40 years. In 1983, the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals played a game that wound up like no other. Royals third baseman George Brett had just hit a home run that put his team ahead when Yankees manager Billy Martin called the umpires’ attention to Brett’s bat. Apparently, the amount of pine tar on the bat was in violation of an obscure rule. The home run was negated, leading Brett to fly into one of the most apoplectic rages that you’re ever likely to see. The call cost the Royals the game, but the on-field decision was eventually overturned, leading to the game being resumed several weeks later to even more wild-eyed publicity. The Pine Tar Game immediately entered baseball lore as one of those wonderful outliers that any institution accumulates if it sticks around long enough. It’s an engaging piece of the game’s history and Bondy treats it as such. The story of the Pine Tar Game would have likely been enough, but what “The Pine Tar Game” does that really elevates itself is provide context. Bondy goes in-depth in his search for details, getting firsthand information about the game from people on both sides. There’s plenty from George Brett, of course, as well as Goose Gossage, who threw the pitch that Brett hit. Other players from both sides include Willie Randolph and David Cone and Sparky Lyle and Ron Guidry. Former Royals GM John Schuerholz is interviewed at length, while talk radio host Rush Limbaugh (a Royals employee at the time) also chimes in. Through these conversations, Bondy reminds fans of something that they may well have forgotten in recent years – namely, that the Royals and Yankees used to have a serious rivalry, and sports fandom is largely built on rivalries. While the good performance of your own rooting interest is obviously top priority, there’s always one team out there whose poor performance is almost as satisfying. For a stretch in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Royals and Yankees filled those roles for one another’s fanbase. The history of Kansas City baseball is rife with reasons for disdain toward New York. For instance, these two teams faced off for the American League pennant three straight times – in 1976, 1977 and 1978 – as well as in 1980, with the Yankees taking three of those four series. These were two organizations led by wildly different owners - on the one side was Kansas City’s self-made magnate Ewing Kauffman, on the other was New York’s bombastic meddler George Steinbrenner. The collision of Kansas City’s small-town inferiority complex and New York’s outsized egotism made for an exquisite – albeit ultimately relatively short-lived – rivalry. Bondy views this game as a turning point for baseball, representing a paradigm shift in the business of the game. In many ways, the Pine Tar Game marked the beginning of the end of the era of benign gamesmanship; spitballs and corked bats and player feuds giving way to soaring salaries and PEDs and corporatization. Baseball is built and rebuilt on the foundations of its own history. “The Pine Tar Game” is a portrait of a bygone era in baseball, a time before the game’s runaway economics eroded its innocence. It is a love letter to one of the weirdest incidents in a sport that has had more than its share of weirdness over the decades. Any fan of the game will welcome the opportunity to take a closer look at this indelible and wonderfully absurd moment in baseball history.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Overall, this was pretty good...well-researched and well-written. It misses the fifth star for me for perpetuating the myth of the sale of Babe Ruth to finance a play and for the failure to employ advanced statistics in discussing players' relative worth. It was entertaining and informative despite something of a Yankees slant (Bondy is a New York writer, after all), which tends to make my flesh crawl. Overall, this was pretty good...well-researched and well-written. It misses the fifth star for me for perpetuating the myth of the sale of Babe Ruth to finance a play and for the failure to employ advanced statistics in discussing players' relative worth. It was entertaining and informative despite something of a Yankees slant (Bondy is a New York writer, after all), which tends to make my flesh crawl.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    So I'm probably the target audience for this book in that I was in high school and college during this era. I have lived in the Greater Kansas City area my whole life so I am of course a Royals fan. Add to this that through connections I spent those 10 years going to Royals games lucky enough to sit behind the Royals dugout about 10 rows back. Add in again that I was a teenage girl through my early 20s when George Brett was hot. See what I mean? Target audience. This was a very fun trip down mem So I'm probably the target audience for this book in that I was in high school and college during this era. I have lived in the Greater Kansas City area my whole life so I am of course a Royals fan. Add to this that through connections I spent those 10 years going to Royals games lucky enough to sit behind the Royals dugout about 10 rows back. Add in again that I was a teenage girl through my early 20s when George Brett was hot. See what I mean? Target audience. This was a very fun trip down memory lane. Some of the names involved I hadn't thought of in 30 years but they all came back to me. The writing style was easy and accessible. The book was set up to explain the background of both teams and all the people involved. It touched on the history of baseball and how the game had arrived at the 1970s and briefly some differences from today. After explaining the whole game and the resulting brouhaha the book touched on fall out and the recent trip to the World Series by the Royals. This should be a fun read for any baseball fan or anyone who followed either team back in the day.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I was considering three stars, but the nostalgia factor is worth at least one. The book takes some weird detours especially the chapter with David Cone. The information about Rush Limbaugh also seemed ancillary. Obviously, some of the participants are dead, but I would have liked to hear more for the people involved.

  11. 5 out of 5

    SoulSurvivor

    Interesting read , esp. with KC in World Series . May not be right for today's youth , since much of the players are long dead or retired . Interesting read , esp. with KC in World Series . May not be right for today's youth , since much of the players are long dead or retired .

  12. 5 out of 5

    Budd Bailey

    When temper-tantrums from professional sports are discussed, George Brett's explosion on July 24, 1983, may set the standard forever. Brett had just hit a home run off pitcher Rich Gossage to give his Kansas City Royals the lead over the Yankees in New York. However, Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Brett had too much pine tar - a sticky substance used by batters for a better grip - on his bat. The umpires determined that the pine tar did indeed go higher than the 18-inch limit, and decid When temper-tantrums from professional sports are discussed, George Brett's explosion on July 24, 1983, may set the standard forever. Brett had just hit a home run off pitcher Rich Gossage to give his Kansas City Royals the lead over the Yankees in New York. However, Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Brett had too much pine tar - a sticky substance used by batters for a better grip - on his bat. The umpires determined that the pine tar did indeed go higher than the 18-inch limit, and decided to call Brett out to end the game. And here came George in an absolute rage, out of the dugout. He had to be restrained by practically everyone on the field who wasn't wearing a Yankee uniform. That single scene is still remembered, and that's probably why Filip Bondy wrote, "The Pine Tar Game." What exactly did happen in that strange episode in baseball history? Before Bondy gets to the game, though, he has some background to cover. The book goes through some history of both teams, eventually concentrating on the rivalry between the two teams during the late 1970s. The Yankees and Royals faced each other four times in five years in that era, and some of the finishes were memorable. There are plenty of tangents here, to the point where the book doesn't arrive on game day until after the halfway point of the book. Bondy's writing is knowledgeable and sharp, but there is a certain amount of "let's get to the good parts" feeling by that point. The story headed into the incident described above, and chaos reigned. The Royals went to work researching the history of calls concerning illegal bats; Supreme Court arguments should receive such care. Kansas City management discovered that there were precedents to rule that the bat should have been removed from the game at some point, rather than affecting the contest's results. Pine tar, it seems, give the batter no advantage in terms of flight. Therefore, penalizing the Royals in that situation was a case of the punishment not fitting the crime. American League President Lee MacPhail agreed with the Royals, and ordered their protest upheld. Baseball's rules are long and complex, supposedly ready to cover every imaginable situation. But every once in a while, something comes along that's not a neat fit and touches a few different areas of the rulebook in different ways. So the rulemakers go back to the drawing board and try to come up with an improvement ... until the next bizarre incident. The Royals had to come back to New York a month later to finish the game, and Martin had one last trick up his sleeve. He saw that the game had different umpires than the one in July, so he ordered appeal plays at the bases - asking if Brett had touched the bases. That could have been more chaos, but American League publicity director Bob Fishel had thought of that. The umpires pulled out notarized statements from the original umpires, stating that Brett had indeed touched the bases. The Yankees went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and took the loss. Bondy does a good job of tracking down those involved in the situation. The comments of Brett and Gossage are particularly interesting as they look back. The two men didn't talk to each other much in their playing days, but they've become friendly now. Perhaps their election to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown calmed them down. When they can go there, they can visit Brett's bat from the game - behind some glass with other exhibits of baseball history. A book-length treatment of this subject, may be more than most will want for this episode. The story goes off on a few tangents, such as stories about Rush Limbaugh and Roy Cohn. A long magazine article might have covered the subject well enough for most. But this is still a good, professional job of storytelling, and moves along quickly. "The Pine Tar Game" should satisfying most people's curiosity about the incident quite nicely.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bridson

    As a Royals fan and a resident of suburban Kansas City for most of my life this book hearkens back to local sports events I lived through. I was born in '75 so I was too young to remember the great rivalry between the Royals and Yankees during the late '70s and early '80s. My first memory of the Royals is their first WS championship in '85 and I'm forever grateful I witnessed that great moment in KC sports history. This book, documenting George Brett's pine tar home run against the Yankees in 19 As a Royals fan and a resident of suburban Kansas City for most of my life this book hearkens back to local sports events I lived through. I was born in '75 so I was too young to remember the great rivalry between the Royals and Yankees during the late '70s and early '80s. My first memory of the Royals is their first WS championship in '85 and I'm forever grateful I witnessed that great moment in KC sports history. This book, documenting George Brett's pine tar home run against the Yankees in 1983, is a great read. The engaging first half of the book gives some history leading up to that infamous game. Things get a little drier towards the end as Bondy describes the fallout from the event. I'm not sure what the David Cone chapter has to do with anything other than he grew up in KC and he pitched for both the Royals and Yankees, thereby adding insight to the rivalry. Those minor points aside, I recommend this title for any baseball fan, or anyone interested in a good human interest story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chaz Weaver

    A Yankees/Royals rivalry? That's adorable! Yankees fans should stay away from this one. This is a Royals love story, not a book about this one game. Everything the Royals do is good; all Yankees are evil. Royals caught dealing cocaine? Well, it was the 80s! That Steinbrenner, though... At one point, Dick Howser leaves FSU to join the Yankees (true). Later, he left NC State (?). A small thing, but these add up. At another we learn that since George Brett's batting average was .364, there is a 63.6% A Yankees/Royals rivalry? That's adorable! Yankees fans should stay away from this one. This is a Royals love story, not a book about this one game. Everything the Royals do is good; all Yankees are evil. Royals caught dealing cocaine? Well, it was the 80s! That Steinbrenner, though... At one point, Dick Howser leaves FSU to join the Yankees (true). Later, he left NC State (?). A small thing, but these add up. At another we learn that since George Brett's batting average was .364, there is a 63.6% chance of getting him out. At this point you really question this guy's actual understanding of baseball. According to the author, Brett's sabermetrics don't tell the real story of his greatness; and neither do his traditional stats - you just had to see him play to understand. Seriously? Altogether, the homer writing, the lack of any new or surprising information, and the constant whining (there are good small-market teams!) was just too much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dan Golden

    I'm a life-long KC resident. As an 8-year old in October of 1976, my hatred of the NY Yankees was cemented when Chris Chambliss homered off of Mark Littell to end the ALCS and send the Yankees to the World Series. Royals fans endured similar outcomes in 1977 and 1978 before finally beating the Evil Empire in 1980 (only to lose the World Series to the Phillies). This book goes beyond the 1983 Pine Tar game and sets the stage by exploring some of this history (rivalry?) between the Royals and the I'm a life-long KC resident. As an 8-year old in October of 1976, my hatred of the NY Yankees was cemented when Chris Chambliss homered off of Mark Littell to end the ALCS and send the Yankees to the World Series. Royals fans endured similar outcomes in 1977 and 1978 before finally beating the Evil Empire in 1980 (only to lose the World Series to the Phillies). This book goes beyond the 1983 Pine Tar game and sets the stage by exploring some of this history (rivalry?) between the Royals and the Yankees. Any baseball fan has seen the image of George Brett going crazy after being called out by Umpire Tim McClelland, most interesting to me are the stories behind the scenes; the actions of the general managers and other front-office staff and some of the hi jinx involved such as Gaylord Perry trying to hide the bat while the argument was underway on the field. An easy, quick read and a fun story especially for fans of the KC Royals.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Being a Cincinnati Reds fan, I have no real allegiance to either the Royals or the Yankees. I highly enjoyed this book as it was a romp down memory lane, with another look and a crazy cast of characters that made headlines in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Most casual fans don’t recall this heated rivalry. Some may even forget how the game was played then. This book selves into it all. Unlike some reviews I don’t think the author was Yankees bad Royals good, he was just drawing the contrast betwe Being a Cincinnati Reds fan, I have no real allegiance to either the Royals or the Yankees. I highly enjoyed this book as it was a romp down memory lane, with another look and a crazy cast of characters that made headlines in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Most casual fans don’t recall this heated rivalry. Some may even forget how the game was played then. This book selves into it all. Unlike some reviews I don’t think the author was Yankees bad Royals good, he was just drawing the contrast between the styles the owners had which permeated their team sand the rivalry. My kids watching baseball today can never understand how intense these games got because current players change teams so much they are all friends (current Astros may be an exception). For anyone who wants to visit this time period in baseball and remember some crazy events and larger than life characters, this book is a fun read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    This is one baseball book that I should have passed on. First about the game and the players I did not learn anything that I did not already know. What I did like about the book was the story of the rivalry between the two teams from the mid 70’s to early 80’s, and for me this really is the story. If not for this intense rivalry Billy Martin would have never challenged the bat used by Brett. Though the ruling was overturned later and the Royals would win the game, this really was Billy Martin Be This is one baseball book that I should have passed on. First about the game and the players I did not learn anything that I did not already know. What I did like about the book was the story of the rivalry between the two teams from the mid 70’s to early 80’s, and for me this really is the story. If not for this intense rivalry Billy Martin would have never challenged the bat used by Brett. Though the ruling was overturned later and the Royals would win the game, this really was Billy Martin Being him. Always looking to get into an opponent’s head, and if it didn’t work he sure got George Brett riled because I remember watching that game and Brett flying out of the dugout. Really the only time I remember him losing his cool. Not a bad book for those who have only heard about the story. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 3 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Sinner

    Briefly: A microcosm of an era Reading 200+ pages on the Pine Tar Incident might sound crazy. Luckily, Filip Bondy agrees. While The Pine Tar Game does include a deep dive on the titular game, it also uses that event as an excuse to examine two significant, compelling—and often diametrically opposed—franchise dynasties and their narratives in the late 1970s and early 80s. Bondy contextualizes the Pine Tar Incident within who the Kansas City Royals were at the time, who the New York Yankees were a Briefly: A microcosm of an era Reading 200+ pages on the Pine Tar Incident might sound crazy. Luckily, Filip Bondy agrees. While The Pine Tar Game does include a deep dive on the titular game, it also uses that event as an excuse to examine two significant, compelling—and often diametrically opposed—franchise dynasties and their narratives in the late 1970s and early 80s. Bondy contextualizes the Pine Tar Incident within who the Kansas City Royals were at the time, who the New York Yankees were at the time, and what kind of relationship the two teams had in this era. It’s a well-written book that benefits from its contemporary publication, which enriches the storytelling at several points. A relatively quick read that’s well worth its time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I loved this book. As a certified Yankee hater I came to look forward to their series with the Royals in the 70's and 80's especially the playoff seasons. This book mentioned so many players I haven't thought of in years. And of course I remember the Pine Tar Game pretty vividly. George Brett always struck me as super intense and a hard man and I was right. But what a hitter. I especially enjoyed the brief back story about both teams and both Georges (Brett and Steinbrenner). All their antics an I loved this book. As a certified Yankee hater I came to look forward to their series with the Royals in the 70's and 80's especially the playoff seasons. This book mentioned so many players I haven't thought of in years. And of course I remember the Pine Tar Game pretty vividly. George Brett always struck me as super intense and a hard man and I was right. But what a hitter. I especially enjoyed the brief back story about both teams and both Georges (Brett and Steinbrenner). All their antics and accomplishments somehow make the game today seem a little tame. Now, when does the season start? I highly recommend this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Gault

    Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated said about this book: "As only Rumpelstiltskin could take straw and turn it into gold, Filip Bondy has turned pine tar into fun, frenzy, and foolishness. I had a ball reading about a bat." I remember the controversy over this game and the annual Yankees-Royals heated competition. Excellent telling of the history of the time, the players and the pine tar game on July 24, 1983. It was a stupid ruling by the umpires at the time under pressure from the resident bas Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated said about this book: "As only Rumpelstiltskin could take straw and turn it into gold, Filip Bondy has turned pine tar into fun, frenzy, and foolishness. I had a ball reading about a bat." I remember the controversy over this game and the annual Yankees-Royals heated competition. Excellent telling of the history of the time, the players and the pine tar game on July 24, 1983. It was a stupid ruling by the umpires at the time under pressure from the resident baseball sociopath, Billy Martin. But, George Brett acted like a fool and should have been suspended for his actions at the very least. A seminal moment in modern baseball history freshly re-told.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I loved this book! I grew up a Royals fan and remember all the stories the author recounted in this book. Even though the author is a New Yorker, he did a fantastic job of presenting the stories in an unbiased manner. He really should have titled the book The Royals vs. Yankees: A rivalry from 1976-1983. While the Pine Tar Game was detailed (I remember watching the game that day on TV) he gave a lot of back story on how the rivalry culminated with this game. I think any true Royals or Yankee fan I loved this book! I grew up a Royals fan and remember all the stories the author recounted in this book. Even though the author is a New Yorker, he did a fantastic job of presenting the stories in an unbiased manner. He really should have titled the book The Royals vs. Yankees: A rivalry from 1976-1983. While the Pine Tar Game was detailed (I remember watching the game that day on TV) he gave a lot of back story on how the rivalry culminated with this game. I think any true Royals or Yankee fan would enjoy this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I became interested in this book when I saw a television program that talked about the infamous Pine Tar Game Scandal, and while I was not disappointed in this read, I have to say that the title is a bit misleading. The fast majority of this book was devoted towards exploring the intertwining histories of the Yankees and the Royals, and not the Pine Tar scandal. So, if you want to read a well researched book about the history of these two teams, this is it. If you just want to read about the sca I became interested in this book when I saw a television program that talked about the infamous Pine Tar Game Scandal, and while I was not disappointed in this read, I have to say that the title is a bit misleading. The fast majority of this book was devoted towards exploring the intertwining histories of the Yankees and the Royals, and not the Pine Tar scandal. So, if you want to read a well researched book about the history of these two teams, this is it. If you just want to read about the scandal, you may be better off reading a Wikipedia entry.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    An enjoyable read, but there apparently wasn't enough information about the game itself to write an entire book about it. Even at only 250 pages, less than half of the book, probably more like a third, deals with the actual game, the protest and resumption of the game 2 months later. It just seemed like there was a lot of padding to get to the length required to call it a book and get it published. There's a whole section about David Cone who didn't play MLB ball until 3 years after the Pine Tar An enjoyable read, but there apparently wasn't enough information about the game itself to write an entire book about it. Even at only 250 pages, less than half of the book, probably more like a third, deals with the actual game, the protest and resumption of the game 2 months later. It just seemed like there was a lot of padding to get to the length required to call it a book and get it published. There's a whole section about David Cone who didn't play MLB ball until 3 years after the Pine Tar game. Why?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Benson

    I really enjoyed this book. Since I've lived in the Kansas City area since 1976 a lot of the information in this book was familiar. There were interesting tidbits of information I wasn't aware of that were fascinating. Obviously I'm a Royals fan and finding out some of the inside stories behind the Pine Tar Game was enlightening. I doubt a NY Yankees fan would consider this book as noteworthy ;) I really enjoyed this book. Since I've lived in the Kansas City area since 1976 a lot of the information in this book was familiar. There were interesting tidbits of information I wasn't aware of that were fascinating. Obviously I'm a Royals fan and finding out some of the inside stories behind the Pine Tar Game was enlightening. I doubt a NY Yankees fan would consider this book as noteworthy ;)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Kopceuch

    The title is misleading, because while the Pine Tar game itself does get about a quarter of the book’s focus, the rest is mainly on the Royals-Yankees rivalry in the 70s-80s and how those teams evolved. While there are certainly interesting tidbits throughout, if you’re not a fan of either team or don’t yearn for baseball anecdotes, this book is probably a waste of time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    An enjoyable romp through a bygone era - the NY-KC baseball rivalry of the 70s & 80s. Author helpfully provides the backstory into what all went into the Pine Tar Game, and how it fits into overall baseball lore. Highly recommended to any baseball fan, especially of the KC Royals or the '60s-80s era. Also recommended for anyone who enjoys the quirkiness of sports. An enjoyable romp through a bygone era - the NY-KC baseball rivalry of the 70s & 80s. Author helpfully provides the backstory into what all went into the Pine Tar Game, and how it fits into overall baseball lore. Highly recommended to any baseball fan, especially of the KC Royals or the '60s-80s era. Also recommended for anyone who enjoys the quirkiness of sports.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joe O'Connor

    Excellent; one of the craziest moments in MLB history, explained well in the context of the game at the time and two franchises, Yankees and Royals, that differed in most any way they could through the years

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Very enjoyable book, reflecting not only on the insanity of the Pine Tar Game, but the Royals/Yankees rivalry, and how baseball teams were constructed back in the day. It's a quick read, but also covers a surprising amount of ground. Baseball fans will enjoy. Very enjoyable book, reflecting not only on the insanity of the Pine Tar Game, but the Royals/Yankees rivalry, and how baseball teams were constructed back in the day. It's a quick read, but also covers a surprising amount of ground. Baseball fans will enjoy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wolcott

    If you're a fan of baseball you will enjoy this behind the scenes look at the Royals vs Yankees rivalry of the 1970s and 1980s. The last decades of old school rough and tumble baseball. It's not just about the infamous pine tar game. If you're a fan of baseball you will enjoy this behind the scenes look at the Royals vs Yankees rivalry of the 1970s and 1980s. The last decades of old school rough and tumble baseball. It's not just about the infamous pine tar game.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    First book that I've finished in 3 months, so it was definitely easy to read and an enjoyable trip down memory lane to MLB players that I remember from the 70s and 80s. First book that I've finished in 3 months, so it was definitely easy to read and an enjoyable trip down memory lane to MLB players that I remember from the 70s and 80s.

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