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Reversing the Curse

"Shaughnessy's top-notch reporting and dry wit put this honest, entertaining work near the top of the list of this spring's baseball books." — Publishers Weekly

About the Book

In Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox, Dan Shaughnessy, the best-selling author of The Curse of the Bambino and an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe, takes us behind the scenes of the greatest sports story of our lifetime. With access right on the front lines — from the front office to the bleachers — Shaughnessy reveals how a self-proclaimed bunch of "idiots" achieved what eighty-five teams before them failed to do: besting their archrivals, the New York Yankees, and ending eighty-six years of frustration by winning Boston's first World Series since 1918. It was the most remarkable campaign in the history of American team sports, and Shaughnessy had the inside track.

The story of the 2004 Red Sox really began on October 17, 2003, when the Yankees' Aaron Boone homered in game 7 of the American League Championship Series, sending New York to the World Series and sending the Red Sox home, devastated yet again. Boone's shot triggered an extraordinary off-season during which the century-long feud between the Red Sox and the Yankees — considered by many to be the top sports rivalry of all time — reached new heights. No other writer understands this rivalry better than Shaughnessy, and he details the cutthroat backroom moves made by both front offices as they braced to do battle again.

The fierce off-season maneuvering set the stage for an unforgettable, fire-all-your-guns-at-once season featuring dramatic play on the field and equally dramatic moves off of it. Shaughnessy illuminates the whos, hows, and whys of it all, including
    • the strategy of Theo Epstein, the youngest general manager in the history of baseball and the architect of the 2004 Red Sox, who spent spring training '04 in a house (a.k.a. "Phi Signa Player") with eight assistants in Cape Coral, Florida. It was "the real world Fort Myers," Shaughnessy reveals, "a wrinkle-free, smoke-free house where laptops never slept . . . [where] young men who worshipped at the altar of plate approach and on-base percentage hatched their plan to win the 2004 World Series."

    • the fans' perspective. Shaughnessy gives us a close-up look at what it's like for the fans in the stands and for those, like the residents of the Pine Street Inn, a Boston homeless shelter, whose nightly ritual is to gather around the TV at game time.

    • the "Nomar problem," which seemed to weigh down an otherwise lighthearted and fun-loving team. Epstein finally traded the sullen superstar shortstop on July 31, a move considered the most significant player transaction by the Sox brass since Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1920. Shaughnessy assesses the trade and how it changed the complexion of the team, and he examines the post-Nomar surge (the Sox were the best team in baseball from August 10 until the end of the regular season, after playing .500 ball for three months) that propelled them into the playoffs.

    • the magnitude of the Red Sox conquest of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, after being down in the series 0–3. When Boston won the next four games to capture the pennant, it represented both baseball's greatest comeback and baseball's greatest choke, with a most unlikely reversal of starring roles. With a keen sense of history, Shaughnessy shares his insights on the significance of the unprecedented turn of events.
Reversing the Curse does what no other book about the 2004 Red Sox does: It provides the story behind the story. It is a must-have book for readers who not only want to relive the torments and triumphs of the historic season but also want to gain an in-depth understanding of what made one remarkable team tick.

About the Author

Dan Shaughnessy is an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe and the author of several sports books, including The Curse of the Bambino, a best-selling classic now in its twenty-first printing. Seven times Shaughnessy has been voted one of America's top ten sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors and named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year. He has appeared on Good Morning America, Today, The Early Show, Nightline, NPR, Imus in the Morning, ESPN, and HBO.

Praise for Reversing the Curse

"In a sense, Dan Shaughnessy started all this . . . it's only right that he get to finish it. A Red Sox story with a happy ending? It's the end of the world as they knew it, and Sox fans feel fine." — Bob Costas

"Reversing the Curse is riveting, entertaining, and inspiring. Take that, Babe!" — Tim Russert

"How fortunate — the gifted sportswriter who gave us the concept of the Curse of the Bambino now writes the book on how the curse was broken." — David Halberstam

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