After a long wait, baseball is finally back. Well, almost -- pitchers and catchers began reporting last week, and it looks like they're having a great time:
But what did they spend the offseason doing, other than working out a lot? To find out, let's turn to the Pitchers and Catchers (Book) Report. Yes, that's right -- we asked pitchers and catchers what they read over the offseason, and now you can read it too. That way, if you ever run into them, you'll have something to talk about.
Jerry Blevins (Mets)
"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
I re-read 'Unbroken' because I hated the movie so much that it left a bad taste in my mouth. So I had to re-read it. And it's an incredible book. ... I never even thought about the Pacific side of World War II because everybody only hears about Germany. That was eye-opening to me. I don't remember ever learning about the Pacific.
Reporting by Anthony DiComo.
Sean Doolittle (A's)
"The Alienist" by Caleb Carr
I was a psychology major in college, and alienists are what they call psychologists around the turn of the century. The book is set in the early 1900s in New York City, and it's a murder mystery that they're trying to solve using the earliest techniques of psychology. I just really liked it. I thought it was a really good story and it was really well-written. It was one of the first books I read this offseason.
Reporting by Jane Lee.
Jim Henderson (Cubs)
"One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories" by B.J. Novak
It was an easy read. … In the store, I read a couple of the stories, and it was kind of interesting. Some of the short stories, were, honestly, four sentences long, and some of them were five, six pages. It was kind of weird stuff that made you think outside the box a little bit.
Reporting by Carrie Muskat.
Rich Hill (Dodgers)
"Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," a New Yorker article by John Updike
I was sent this article
and, until I read it, I didn't realize that Ted Williams had two stretches in the military, in the prime of his career. The year after he hit .406, he hit .356. Then, he's in the military for three years (WWII), and comes back to hit .342. And he goes back to war [in Korea] and, in his first full year back, hits .345. ... It was an amazing story.
Reporting by Ken Gurnick.
Carson Kelly (Cardinals)
"The Inner Game of Tennis" by Timothy Gallwey
It's in tennis lingo, but it can still relate to what we're doing. It's about doing quality reps instead of a bunch of bad ones in a row. I like these sorts of psychological books, the ones that make you think.
Reporting by Jenifer Langosch
DJ Lemahieu (Rockies)
"Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable" by Tim S. Grover with Sally Wenk
It's about a guy who trained Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and a couple other guys. I just like reading books. I like working out and seeing what other people do, and how other people train and how other sports train. Those guys sacrifice a lot to be who they are, Michael Jordan in particular. You look at those guys and they're the best in the game, but they're not happy until they're on top.
Reporting by Thomas Harding.
Nick Martinez (Rangers)
"The Mental Game of Baseball" by Karl Kuehl and H.A. Dorfman
It was great. I liked the whole thing, from beginning to end. Set goals every day ... sharpen your mind as well as your body. You work on the body in the gym, but a lot of guys don't work on the mental part.
Reporting by T.R. Sullivan.
Trevor May (Twins)
"The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver
It's very similar to how I think. It's very analytical. The art of making predictions is pretty interesting stuff. You can apply it to baseball and analyzing baseball. There's a whole chapter about him creating PECOTA. And analyzing elections was a big thing this year -- I wanted to get a sense for why things are happening.
Reporting by Rhett Bollinger.
Dustin McGowan (Marlins)
"Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson
It's one of those books where you almost can't believe that was real life. It's based on true events. Great book. Then the movie came out -- kind of similar, I guess. But the book was really awesome.
What I took from the book is the way these soldiers go protect us, risk their lives, and everything. One guy survived out of that whole crew that went over there. It makes you feel grateful for what you have.
Reporting by Joe Frisaro.
Colin Moran (Astros)
"The Man Watching: Anson Dorrance and the University of North Carolina Women's Soccer Dynasty" by Tim Crothers
He's a really interesting guy. We had a pretty good dynasty [at UNC] in sports that not many people know about.
Reporting by Brian McTaggart.
Huston Street (Angels)
"A History of Chess" by H.J.R. Murray
There [were] a lot of tactics and stuff that I did understand, but the cool part was understanding how [chess] evolved. It was a pretty cool gift because I love chess.
I would bet my life against somebody who thinks they can play chess. I would bet my life on it. I would play the whole team at once. I think I can beat them all.
Reporting by Maria Guardado.
Chris Stewart (Pirates)
"The Traveler's Gift" by Andy Andrews
Basically, this guy gets in this car accident. You don't know if he goes to heaven or if he's unconsciously dreaming about it, but he goes back in time and meets significant historical figures from the past -- people that played a huge role in how the world was shaped. He gets to talk to them and get their philosophy on life. …
Then he comes back to the present day and wakes up. He didn't know (and the reader doesn't know) if he came back to life or it was just an unconscious dream. … He's able to take those learned philosophies from the people in the past and apply it to everyday life. It's not a self-help book, but it's an eye-opener -- the reader can apply it to his or her own life and learn from the past. It was a very cool read. Quick read, but really cool book.
Reporting by Adam Berry.
Pat Venditte (Mariners)
I read through a couple parenting books. We have a baby coming in April. It's our first one. It's awesome. So my wife brought home a couple general parenting books, how to get them on a sleep schedule and things like that. Mostly general things that I think are pretty self-explanatory and I'll figure out as I go. Of course, in my mind I think I'll be a great dad, but I'm sure I'll be humbled soon.
Reporting by Greg Johns.
Need more books to add to your reading list? The Pitchers and Catchers book report isn't over yet -- two infielders decided they wanted to join in, too.
Matt Duffy (Rays)
"David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" by Malcolm Gladwell
It was interesting the way it presented a lot of people's perceived weaknesses, and it showed how they turned those into strengths. Obviously, building off the whole David and Goliath story.
Everybody thought that Goliath had a decided advantage because of his size. And he wasn't really a giant, just a big man. And this little shepherd boy recognized that he'd get beat in hand-to-hand combat because he was big, but he also was slow. So I'll keep my distance and use these little rocks and knock him out. And the book just gives a bunch of examples on different ways to look at situations and really find your strength.
Reporting by Bill Chastain.
Tyler Saladino (White Sox)
"The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet" by Steven G. Mandis
It's really interesting. It's about Real Madrid's soccer team. And a guy goes in, they give him full access to everything about the team, the community, the business. Everything. …
It's not what you would expect. It's about how much goes into soccer and how much they put everything into winning. It's all based on their fans and what the fans expect and support, and the kind of, like, gigantic family they create out of it.
That's the anchor of their success.
Reporting by Scott Merkin.