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Joe Posnanski’s “The Machine”

I mentioned that I’d write something of a review for Joe Posnanski’s killer book on the 1975 Cincinnati Reds – “The Machine”. That’s not entirely true. I don’t have a whole lot to say about the book other than it was excellent, and, if you’re a sports fan, you should read it. It’s hand down my favorite sports-related book this year, but we’ll see how my opinion changes when I get my hands on Bill Simmons’ “The History of Basketball” in a few weeks.

Here’s a rundown:

1) The ’75 Reds were nasty, and, as Posnanski contends, one of the most devastating line-ups in baseball history, rivaling the ’28 and ’98 Yankees, the “Boys of Summer” Brooklyn Dodgers and other teams that I cannot name off the top of my head.

2) Pete Rose was/is a badass who played the game with such a ferocious competitiveness not often seen in today’s game. He’s currently hocking merchandise in a casino while you read this.

3) Joe Morgan should be known primarily for being one of the best hitters of his day, an egomaniacal asshole, and secondly as muse for the much-beloved and now-defunct

4) Dave Concepcion, a Hall of Famer?

5) Ken Griffey Sr. smiled a lot but secretly wanted to take his bat to the head of Reds’ management.

6) Before Pedro Borbon Jr., the mid-90s era Atlanta Braves, there was Pedro Borbon Sr., a shit-talking reliever for The Big Red Machine. Loved him.

7) Sparky Anderson’s adage in regards to friends was an unexpected highlight, and I’m paraphrasing here: “The thing about friends is you never have to say ‘Thank You’.”

The locker room ribbing provides more than enough laughs to keep the read light. This isn’t, as some would think by the book’s cover, another tired story of Pete Rose’s demise from baseball greatness to Preakness. An obvious fixture in “The Machine”, Pete Rose and his gambling issues take a backseat to the story of Doggie, Bozo, the Little General and a team’s emergence into greatness. Solid stuff.