'The Grind': A Season-Long Hustle for Baseball Clubhouses

Apr 18, 2016

Svrluga's book was shortlisted for the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.
Credit Blue Rider Press

Baseball’s major league season is long, which is a good thing for some, annoying to others and a real grind to the people involved in it.

The Milwaukee Brewers enter this week with twelve games already in the books. If they were a football team that would represent three-quarters of their schedule. But this is baseball, so the Brewers are less than a tenth of the way to the finish line.

A lot transpires over the course of the six months of a baseball season. Barry Svrluga points out that a lot happens in the other six months of the year as well. 

Svrluga is the national baseball writer for the Washington Post. His book, The Grind, tells the less-appreciated stories lives by people in the Washington Nationals organization, but he could just as easily used the Brewers, or the Cubs or any team.

"This is a good book for baseball fans who know everything about the game that they see in front of them, because they'll learn stuff that they didn't know that's outside of the camera," Svrluga  says. "Its also interesting for casual fans because it relates to real life."

Although there isn't a chapter on beat writers, Svrluga says they build relationships with players -  just as a clubhouse manager does. "In building trust with some of these players to try to allow me to tell their stories outside the parameters of what is the normal day-to-day interview," he says. There is a mutual respect for each craft, Syrluga adds,  "it did take some trust there and understanding."