So, Tigers first base coach, Andy Van Slyke, along with Oakland Press columnist, Jim Hawkins, wrote Tigers Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Season. I saw it at a bookstore the other day and dropped twenty bucks to see what 'ol Andy had to say about last year's disappointing season. I don't want to spoil things if you're interested in reading it, but here's my quick review.
It's all here. All the ups (there were a couple) and all of the downs (there were dozens) of last year's season are covered here. It starts with the Cabrera/Willis deal and runs through the entire '08 campaign. It's done diary style, cutting between Hawkins' news-like reporting of the events and then to Van Slyke's point of view. There's nothing ground breaking here and nothing too controversial, but there are many interesting things throughout the book.
You get Van Slyke's opinons on Pudge Rodriguez the player and his thoughts on the Farnsworth trade. You get many stories from Andy's playing days including his fistfight with Barry Bonds. There's several amusing stories, my favorite being one of a naked, soaking wet Brandon Inge jumping into the arms of a fully in uniform Miguel Cabrera (read the book). Hawkins gives multiple amusing, profanity laced comments from Jim Leyland after tough losses. And you get to go through the coaches' confusion of why the team that was supposed to score a thousand runs and win a hundred games was so terrible.
Carlos Guillen writes the Afterword and surprisingly comes out and blames the pitching on last year's team failure. Ryan Braun wasn't as blunt as Carlos is here.
Bad things about the book? It's pretty short, for one. Second, Andy knows where his bread is buttered and doesn't ever seem to disagree with Jim Leyland. The way he talks about Jim, it's like Van Slyke idolizes him...which may be true. He gives Leyland credit for his success as a player as well as being a coach. Also, Andy repeats himself a lot emphasizing that the team has never given up, no matter how bad things are. Could've fooled me...
It's a depressing, yet at times humerous, look at the disappointing 2008 season through the eyes of a guy that was there for every game. If you're a Tiger fan, want a quick read, and can stomach reliving last year, check it out.