Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager


The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Friday Night Lights follows 2004 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa through a three-game series with the arch-rival Chicago Cubs. Bissinger chronicles the process by which the manager leads his players to victory and distills the essence of the game from locker room and front office to dugout and field of play.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Audiobook (CD - Unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hours)
$27.98 price
(Save 19%)$34.95 List Price
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (10) from $5.00   
  • New (3) from $6.99   
  • Used (7) from $5.00   
Sending request ...


The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Friday Night Lights follows 2004 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa through a three-game series with the arch-rival Chicago Cubs. Bissinger chronicles the process by which the manager leads his players to victory and distills the essence of the game from locker room and front office to dugout and field of play.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bissinger eschews the usual method of writing about baseball in the context of a season or a career, choosing instead to dissect the game by carefully watching one three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in late 2003. The Pulitzer-winning journalist and author of Friday Night Lights had unprecedented access to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, as well as his staff and team, and he used that entr e to pick La Russa's formidable baseball brain about everything from how he assembles a lineup to why he uses certain relievers. As the series unfolds, Bissinger reveals La Russa's history and personality, conveying the manager's intensity and his compulsive need to be prepared for any situation that might arise during " `the war' of each at-bat." Typical characters-the gamer, the natural, the headcase, the crafty old timer-are present, but Bissinger gives new life to their familiar stories with his insider's view and cheeky descriptions (e.g., "Martinez's response to pressure has been like a 45-rpm record, a timeless hit on one side, and the flip side maybe best forgotten"). Bissinger analyzes each team's pitch-by-pitch strategy and gets the dirt on numerous enduring baseball questions: What does it feel like to have to close your first game in Yankee Stadium? Who knew about players using steroids before the current scandal hit? Do managers tell their pitchers to throw at hitters? Mixing classic baseball stories with little-known details and an exclusive perspective, this work should appeal to any baseball fan. Agent, David Gernert. (Apr. 5) Forecast: La Russa will make appearances tied in to the book's promo, and there will be a press conference for the book at spring training. Both should help this book rise to the top of this season's baseball book flood. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Baseball writing at its best should not be merely about championship games and record-setting feats. Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) takes in a three-game series between the rival Cubs and Cardinals, with enviable access to the baseball mind of St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa, once a wonder boy among the generation of old-style "gut" managers and now an elder statesman to whiz-kid sabermatricians. For all fans of Bissinger's work and of pure baseball. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Is baseball a game? Not by this first-rate account of a battle of titans, in which a pampered star player insists that he's a "performer" and the manager-hero employs the strategic skills of a warlord. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, writes Vanity Fair contributing editor Bissinger, is "a baseball man" who proudly owns the appellation even though it "has become increasingly pejorative today because of the very stodginess it suggests." There's nothing stodgy about La Russa, even though he has revealed some very old-fashioned leanings against the use of performance-enhancing steroids and for winning performances by free agents who play their own stats-racking games against the better interests of the team. Bissinger's account ranges widely over La Russa's four decades in baseball: He started off as a player but, realizing he wasn't star material, began to badger his managers to tell him their secrets and took up the trade while still in his 20s. The bulk of his story, though, is devoted to a three-game series between the Cards and their nemesis, the Chicago Cubs, in August 2003, as the Cubs were racing their way to a long-awaited bid for the national championship. Bissinger takes care to analyze La Russa's decisions as they're being made on the field, drawing on La Russa's storied command of baseball statistics and history and his uncanny ability to match batters to pitchers, figure out opposing managers' signals, and such. Throughout, La Russa takes on the lonely countenance of a knight errant battling forces beyond his control, especially the unwillingness of players to exert themselves; as Bissinger writes, "La Russa calculates that, for today's players, winning is 'third orfourth on their list behind making money and having security and all that other BS.' "Even so, La Russa turns up results, as readers will discover-and, of course, he took the Cards to the World Series in 2004. A real treat for scholarly baseball fans, and a better management book than most on the business shelves.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565119765
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hours
  • Pages: 600
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Buzz Bissinger

BUZZ BISSINGER is the author of Friday Night Lights, a classic about the obsession for football in Odessa, Texas. Formerly a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, he has won the Pulitzer Prize and the Livingston Award, among other honors. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

JEFFREY NORDLING has been working on stage and screen for 20 years.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      H. G. Bissinger
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 1, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; Nieman Fellow, Harvard University, 1985-1986

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Foreword by Tony La Russa xvii
Prologue 1
1 Fear Factor 17
2 Locked In 26
3 "I'm Gonna Kill You!" 41
4 The Peeker 53
5 The Pitcher's Tale 67
6 Praying for Change 85
7 Gonzalez Must Pay 105
8 Light My Fire 121
9 Whodunit 138
10 Being There 156
11 Under Pressure 175
12 D.K. 199
13 Thing of Beauty 216
14 Kiss My Ass 224
15 Three Nights in August 240
Epilogue 254
Postscript 264
A Note on Sources 269
Acknowledgments 271
Index 273
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    The book Three Nights in August is a book that tells about the preparation and stress to manage a Major league baseball team and have a normal life. Tony LaRussa is the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and one of the best and most respected managers in all of baseball. In the book the cardinals are in a tight Central division race with the Astros and the rival cubs who are in town for a three game series. This series could help a team in the divisional race. If you thank being a major league manager is easy well you tell me that after reading what Tony LaRussa went through. This book is not only a look into what Tony LaRussa does before a big game, but what the whole cardinal club house is doing before a big game. Read this book and find out what one of the best managers I have ever seen. I loved this book and give it 10 out of 10. If you love baseball you may enjoy this unless you are a cub fan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)