In "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Plain Dealer reporter Mary Schmitt Boyer gives a lovingly realistic view of the ups and downs of the Cleveland Indians over the past century. The book, fittingly subtitled "Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Cleveland Indians History," works to fill in the (unfortunately sizable) gaps between Cleveland ventures into the baseball postseason. Covering everything from the only player in Major League history to have died from a baseball-related injury (an Indian) to the root of the ongoing debate of the team's name.
Boyer writes with the self-deprecating humor of any long-suffering Cleveland sports fan who can never help but think that maybe--just maybe--this could be the year when the Tribe goes all the way. In the hands of another writer, the fiasco of the ten-cent beer night riot of 1974 might be a whole lot more embarrassing and not nearly so entertaining of an anecdote. The Yankees may be able to win a World Series, but how many drunken riots have they had?
There is definitely plenty of "good" in Tribe history to counter "the bad and the ugly." The little-known details of the World Series victories of 1920 (vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers) and 1948 (vs. the Boston Braves) may help to soothe those still feeling the sting of the dashed hopes and dreams of the mid-1990's. New readers will emerge from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" wanting to don their rally caps, make a visit to Progressive Field, pay respects at the Bob Feller monument, spare a few obscenities for Jose Mesa, and buy a beer in honor of the ten-cent patriots of years past.
All in all, Boyer covers the very high highs and very low lows of the history of the Cleveland Indians, providing an in-depth look into players and events that even the most diehard fans can appreciate. Presenting her facts via stories rather than statistics, the book is an easy and entertaining read for any baseball fan. Nevertheless, non-Cleveland fans had better beware: Next year will definitely be the Tribe's year.