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‘The Big Chair’ by Ned Colletti: A book review

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I have a confession to make: I’m not much of a reader. While I enjoy reading, I often find myself too strapped for time to commit to a book, especially during the daily grind of the baseball season.

I have quite a backlog of books I’ve been meaning to get to, and hopefully will at some point. But I made a point to read former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti’s new book, ‘The Big Chair,’ written with Joseph A. Reaves. and I’m glad I did.

Colletti has been in baseball for 35 years in a variety of roles, starting out in media relations and publications with the Cubs in the early 1980s. He also worked for the Giants before coming to Los Angeles, and has basically seen it all in baseball.

This book does a good job at telling many of those stories, with Colletti sharing several behind-the-scenes details of various points in his career. I read the book just before Thanksgiving and found myself loving the tales so much that I finished it in two days.

Without giving anything away, a few stories I particularly enjoyed included in the book are Colletti’s exhaustive interview with Frank McCourt for the Dodgers general manager position, how Colletti convinced Cubs general manager Dallas Green to hire him, and Colletti’s daughter’s reaction to the Angels beating the Giants in 2002 World Series.

There are details of a few colorful disagreements between Yasiel Puig and former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, plus Odalis Perez and Brad Penny each leaving the Dodgers on not the best of terms. There was Colletti with the Cubs watching Greg Maddux leave as a free agent for the Braves, then nearly 14 years later bringing him to the Dodgers in trade.

Also included in the book is the time in 2011 a Dodgers intern posted a Fan Post on True Blue LA that laid out Colletti’s organizational report, including confidential information on several players, heading into the MLB Draft. That post was eventually deleted, and the author lost his internship.

I was surprised that the signing of Jason Schmidt wasn’t mentioned, but Colletti was otherwise pretty thorough discussing his tenure as Dodgers general manager, hitting nearly all the key points that have been discussed ad nauseum over the years.

Where this book shines is in the storytelling, and with 35 years in baseball Colletti has a lot of stories to tell. That makes ‘The Big Chair’ well worth your time.