“JD” is Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. This short ebook’s subtitle is Building the team that built a winner, and it’s available from Newberg’s website for a mere $2.99. If you’re even slightly interested in how baseball’s front offices work, you want to read this.
While this work necessarily has some biographical content, it’s largely about how Daniels runs the Ranger’s organization–the things he emphasizes, the people he hires, the objectives he sets, the ways he communicates, the methods he uses to collect information, and the reasons behind those practices. Newberg, who’s been writing about the Rangers organization since the late 1990s, clearly knows the material. While I see some room for disagreement about causes and effects, the author’s basic argument seems to be sound.
I need to qualify the recommendation a bit. This book really could have used an editor. Newberg tends to assume we know who the Rangers’ senior staff members are; an editor would have insisted on more explanation. An early chapter is cluttered with lists telling where staff members worked before joining the Rangers; this could have been better handled with tables, or even summaries. There’s far too much repetition in this text–the author sometimes repeats a point on consecutive pages. And there are a couple sentences which just beg for blue pencils.
JD is heavy with quotations, most of which seem to have been drawn from other websites and publications. In-text references–or even a list of works & websites cited–would have helped, even though I’m familiar with most of the author’s sources.
Despite the qualifications, this is an excellent case study. It covers much the same territory as Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2%–but is shorter, and more interesting. Highly recommended.
This review was originally published on LibraryThing.