The Pequod Review:
Being a New York Yankees fan does not seem like very much fun, burdened as they are by the franchise’s storied history and by the not-unreasonable expectation that they compete for a championship every year. It turns out that being a player is not always that much fun either, as Buster Olney documents in The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, an account of the team’s mini-dynasty from 1996-2001. Olney builds his narrative around Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, a game that was lost by the Yankees in stunning fashion after they had won four of the five previous championships. Olney's book is an informative and detailed history of the team, one that traces its roots back to the 1980s and early 1990s. He identifies the key factors behind the team’s success (including the explosion of television money that disproportionately benefitted big-market teams), and he intelligently profiles the key players and club executives. Of course, Olney’s narrative hook is built on an exaggerated construct; the Yankees dynasty wasn’t really ending — they would win their division (the AL East) in eight of the next eleven years, and captured another World Series in 2009. And given the continued lack of a salary cap in baseball, it may never fully be over.