Olney is a skilled and lucid writer. He is adept at revealing all the minute elements of chance and strategy that constitute any single baseball game and that make the game such a constantly surprising, frustrating, even excruciating obsession. We learn why so few batters can hit Rivera's cut fastball even when they know it is coming and how it was that a throwback strip of dirt between the pitcher's mound and the plate in the Diamondbacks' home park, and a freak, passing thunderstorm rolling in over the mesas, played critical roles in deciding the outcome of the seventh game. Olney keeps the tension of the game crackling, and his descriptions are often wonderfully vivid: the Yankees manager, Joe Torre, inserting Darryl Strawberry as a pinch-hitter, ''used him like a dagger''; ''a halogen thought'' fills a pitcher's head; another pitcher, after a fielding drill, picks up balls ''like a child gathering Easter eggs.''
The New York Times
Nothing succeeds like success. But human nature being what it is, some people get a thrill when the successful fail. Is it a matter of rooting for the underdog or bringing the haughty and powerful down a peg? Olney, who covers the Yankees for the New York Times, addresses the question in this sympathetic assessment as he selects their seventh-game loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series as the turning point in the team's decline. Recounting the details of the contest, he flashes back to reveal how individuals contributed to the Yankees' accomplishments in recent years. Of course, the one person who demands success, and for whom even victory doesn't seem to be enough, is owner George Steinbrenner. Much of the ill will generated by the legions of Yankee-haters can be traced to Steinbrenner, with his bullying and deep pockets. Olney's work puts the team under a microscope, as if the daily exasperations, disappointments and even boredom suffice to explain why their fortunes reversed. Olney gives a good account: success is hard work that, like prayers, sometimes does not yield the hoped-for result. Agent, Chris Calhoun. (Sept.) Forecast: Both Yankees fans and Yankee haters will find this one interesting. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Love them or hate them, you have to agree that for the last 80-odd years, the New York Yankees have been major league baseball's signature team. And while names such as Jeter and Pettite might not resonate quite as loudly as DiMaggio and Dickey, few can debate that, with four world championships, the 1996-2001 version of the team ranks as one of the finest. Olney, who covered the Yankees for the New York Times for much of that period, offers an inning-by-inning account of the game that he contends marked the end of their dynasty Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. As Yankee players, coaches, and executives all make their appearances, we learn of their contributions to the team and who they are as people; ultimately, we begin to care about them far beyond their performance in this one crucial game. An excellent work of sports writing, this is recommended for all public library baseball collections. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A well-mulled, highly atmospheric, and richly versed story of the Bronx Bombers' great 1996-2001 ride. When you win four World Series out of five, the word "dynasty" understandably begins to take shape. The Yankees were in position to take a fifth in 2001, in the funky, gray days that marked the aftermath of 9/11, but it was to be the end of that dynasty. ESPN sportswriter Olney, whose dispatches for the New York Times were a pleasure to read in the years leading up to the contest with the Arizona Diamondbacks, pivots this around the climactic seventh game in 2001, rolling away from it time and again as a batter might from an inside fastball, but returning to face its consequences. Much had gone into the making of the Yankees by this point, and Olney tracks the arc of the team's great levitation: the truly superb players and the strategic rebuilding of the franchise with high on-base percentage hitters and pitchers with gas and chutzpah. As he moves through the innings of the seventh game, Olney provides crisp profiles of players, from Chuck Knoblauch's dwindles to the ever-sad Darryl Strawberry, Paul O'Neill's pressure cooker to Derek Jeter's self-effacing conviviality and good humor (which will come as a surprise to people tired of his ubiquitous face). George Steinbrenner's odious personality is given a wicked knife job for how he treated those who worked for him, for the uneven playing ground he inflicted on the game, and for the price it took on his players. Joe Torre, by contrast, is rightly credited for his "social genius" in tending to "the minds of his players." In that, he is much like Olney, choosing the right words, keeping pace, moving from frame to frame without jarring thecontinuities. Both subtle and opinionated, a densely layered portrait of the Yankees late-20th-century dynasty and the enduring impact of that commercial and competitive juggernaut. (16-page b&w insert, not seen)Agent: Chris Calhoun/Sterling Lord Literistic
A remarkably prescient work … Olney’s observations are eerily germane to … [2004’s] postseason meltdown.
“Buster Olney... has chronicled the definitive story of the Bronx Bombers at the end of the 20th century.”
“The best contemporary book about baseball in several years. Yankee fans and haters alike will find it riveting.”
“…An astonishing richness of detail here that you simply won’t find anywhere else.”
“Vivid, informed, and gracefully written, The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty is sports writing at its very best.”
"The best and clearest view yet inside the secret society that is the New York Yankees."
The definitive treatise on the great Yankee teams of the last seven years.
“A wonderful story about money, power, and baseball that will keep you reading until the bottom of the 9th.”