Author: James Shields, Pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays, as told to Bill Chastain
Paperback, 160 pages, $14.95 (+ shipping & handling)

Pennant races are the essence of baseball. Throughout the history of America’s national pastime, teams have been measured by how they fared down the stretch, when the games mattered most.

September Nights is the story of how the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays handled the heat during the most critical part of the season, as seen through the eyes of All-Star pitcher James Shields.

Tampa Bay entered the last month of the 2010 season knowing they had to fight off the “Beasts of the East” – the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox—if they were going to achieve their goal of winning their second American League East title in three seasons.

The tension mounts as the season reaches high gear. Not only is the team striving to win the pennant, they also know they are running out of time. The Rays players find themselves facing a bittersweet situation: They play for a “small market” team, and the writing is on the wall. The Rays ownership will have to slash payroll in 2011, and many of the team’s players, having outgrown their contracts, will not be back. Can this close-knit team accomplish all their goals in the little time they have remaining as teammates?

Shields is not only a master on the mound, he is also a master storyteller with a smooth narrative style. Along the way, he offers insights into the Rays, opposing teams, the art of pitching, and what is going through his mind at key moments in the Rays’ stretch run.

James Shields was born and raised in the Los Angeles area of California. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted him in the sixteenth round of the 2000 June draft, and he reached the major leagues in 2006. Since then, Shields has been one of the main cogs in Tampa Bay’s pitching rotation and has been an American League All-Star. He resides in Clearwater, Florida.

Bill Chastain attended Georgia Tech and covered the Rays for the Tampa Tribune prior to covering the team for Chastain has penned other books, including Payne at Pinehurst, Steel Dynasty, Peachtree Corvette Club, The Streak and Hack’s 191 (due out in January 2012). He lives in Tampa, Florida.