I recently finished reading Charles Euchner’s “The Last Nine Innings. It’s a very interesting and different kind of baseball book.

The book covers the 7th game of the 2001 World Series between Arizona and the Yankees. It is broken down, inning by inning, using this as a backdrop for covering more varied topics than most baseball books that you’re used to reading.

Of course, it covers the franchise histories that brought them to the 7th game, the individual players involved in the game, the ballparks, and the course that game took, but it also covers things I’d not seen covered in many, if any, baseball books that I have read.

Mr. Euchner covers the physiology of hitting, fielding, and pitching. He explains what muscles are used, how some of these players work to condition themselves to meet the rigors of a long baseball season. He discusses the philosophy of these endeavors and the science involved. Some of the physiology got a bit tedious (felt like I was talking to my chiropractor for awhile, but it did reinforce what he says to me), but I did learn quite a bit in these areas.

But some of the things were covered more effectively than most baseball books do, if they cover them at all,. Things such as the strategy that pitching is using on the mound. It goes into not only what Schilling was doing on the mound, but why. It does the same with Clemens, and Randy Johnson. The strategies involved in hitting, in setting up your fielders, and how a catcher works a game are also covered.

For the stats geeks among us, there’s some statistical discussion involving not only “new age” hitting numbers, but fielding numbers as well. I think it’s very obvious from reading this book that the author is a “new age” stat guy.

While I wouldn’t describe this book as a “page turner”, I do think it’s a worthwhile read. I can’t imagine anyone reading it and not learning something new about the inside of a major league baseball game. It covers so many different facets of baseball that it seems that there has to be something for everyone, without being covered to the extent that you feel “buried” in detail.

Check this book out, if you don’t learn something new concerning baseball from it, I’ll be very surprised.