It is usually hard for me to pick up a book and read it right through in just a couple of sittings. Usually I pick the book up and read 10 pages at a time. That tends to end with A) me never finishing the book or B) finishing the book 2.5 years later. With "Deep Drive" by Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford, I finished it in about four sittings.
I was unsure what I would get out of this book before I started reading it. I've read books "by" athletes "with" journalists before, and they tend not to be anything special. They tend to be the typical, "I did this, this and this. Yay for me," type of story. I was pleasantly surprised very quickly in to this book.
As you can imagine, a good chunk of this book is about Lowell's battle with cancer. The book does a fantastic job to help the reader understand how Lowell was feeling during all those moments. There were times when I felt like I was with Lowell when he was given the bad news. Plus there were moments when he had cancer scares and his wife, Bertica, had some personal issues.
On the lighter sides of things, there was a lot on his ability as a baseball player. The man could barely hit the ball for extra bases in high school, let alone a home run. Also to note, do you know who his double play partner was in high school? None other than Alex Rodriguez. Lowell, the second baseman, and Rodriguez, the shortstop, weren't fully developed at that point -- Rodriguez hit eighth in the lineup, Lowell ninth. Think that coach still has his job?
When it came down to the nitty gritty of hitting and defense, that's when I was really intrigued. Of course, there's no one better to learn the art of playing defense at the hot corner than Mike Lowell. He had a section of one chapter just talking about his old glove and new glove. Sounds boring to the casual fan, but I was on the edge of my seat.
On regards of hitting, there was an interesting part about when he was in a slump during spring training with the Sox. At one point he basically told former Sox hitting coach Ron "Papa" Jackson that he wasn't going to keep messing with his stance and stuff because it just wasn't working. Jackson kept making all these suggestions, but Lowell couldn't keep up with them because it just stunted his growth. That lead to Lowell explain when a hitter just knows he's hitting the ball well, despite it being a hit or a line drive or anything else.
There were some really hilarious parts of the book. One part that stands out in my mind was when Dustin Pedroia challenged Lowell to a game of ping pong. And since Lowell can handle himself at the table, he accepted. The result was 28 wins in a row for Lowell. Pedroia finally won a game after Lowell gave him a huge lead to start the game. Pedroia went yelling and screaming in the clubhouse, prompting Terry Francona to say something along the lines of: "What, did they cut the legs off the table so you could see over it?"
Lowell had a lot of high praise for a lot of people. One person in particular was Josh Beckett, who wrote the foreward to the book. Ever since their days in Florida they have been close and the trade even made their bond stronger. Out of anyone, Lowell probably gave more credit to Beckett than anyone else in this book. A lot of it was based off of his attitude and how much of a badass performer he is.
I was worried Lowell wasn't going to talk about the 2007 off-season, obviously something that should have been noted. But I was pleasantly surprised to read the epilogue and find all that information there. Lowell continued to say that he loved Boston and he loved the fans and didn't want to leave, but he was also tempted by other suitors. But what it came down to was that he wanted to stay in Boston because he loved it so much.
What I will take most out of this book is just how great of a guy Lowell is and how much he really does care about the fans. He is a down to earth family man and that's what I appreciate most about these athletes. It's easy to be a jerk and do whatever you want, but guys like Lowell are the opposite. He's the heart of the sport of baseball. He and guys like him are the reason the sport ticks. It's a true pleasure to be a fan of his.
I definitely recommend this book to all Sox fans that cherished watching Lowell succeed through the 2007 seasons. In the end, I give this book 4 out of 5 Bill Muellers (as much as I like Lowell, I still love Bill Mueller).