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home : columns : columns May 28, 2016

8/13/2014 10:42:00 AM
Baseball book review
Our annual trek to Minnesota's north woods always includes an opportunity to spend time in a good book.
The only trouble with reading these days is that my reading time usually comes at the end of the day. Because I seem to be following in my father's footsteps, reading puts me to sleep quicker than it used to - even with a can of Mt. Dew at my side. Consequently, it takes me a little longer to get through a book than it used to.
Still, I did get one book read while on vacation and I'm trying to finish a second.
First, the book I finished.
If you're a longtime Minnesota Twins fan, don't let the book We're Gonna Win Twins by Doug Grow escape your collection. There are 50 chapters in the book that spans the 50 years the Twins have been playing hardball in the state - yes, a chapter dedicated to each year of the Twins existence. Typically, the chapters are relatively short, maybe three or four pages - even less when the Twins struggled.
In fact, in those years the Twins were eliminated early from any post-season hopes, the chapter sometimes focuses on one of the Twins players.
Needless to say, during the Twins championship campaigns of 1987 and 1991, the chapters are longer.
Photos also are sprinkled throughout the book.
What makes this book a great read is how Grow sets the stage for each chapter. He shares a quick sentence or two about each of the following: What was happening in the world, the nation, the state, pop culture of that year (which could include music, TV or movies) and, of course, a quick recap of the Twins season.
Now, the recap of the season in the chapter is not a game-by-game recount. Instead, Grow either focuses on something that was a theme throughout the season, or shares nuggets of history that few fans knew about.
There were countless times that I said to myself, "I did not know that happened that year," or "I didn't know that player said or did that," or "That's right, I forgot about that."
Indeed, each season offered an interesting revelation that made the book a quick read. Best of all, because each chapter was a season unto itself, you could pick up and read the book at any time, without having to try to reconnect the story-line.
As I stated earlier, if you're a true Minnesota Twins fan, you'll want to read this book and make sure it's in your own personal library.
For a Twins history book, I'd give it five stars out of five stars.
No book reviewer
Before I started this column - and before I start any column that involves reviewing a book - I should make a disclaimer.
For me to not like a book, it's got to be a pretty awful piece of work. I marvel at anyone who writes a book. If you read the credits at the end of the book, there's a lot of work and a lot of people who are involved in writing any book, especially a biography, autobiography or a book with any type of history.
Rarely do I find a book that I don't like, especially when it comes to baseball or golf.
Speaking of baseball and golf books, I subscribe to the late George Plimpton's "Small Ball Theory" - the smaller the ball, the better the book. In fact, I think the quote went something like this:
"There are superb books about golf, very good books about baseball, not many good books about football or soccer, very few good books about basketball and no good books at all about beach balls." (If you would like to read more about Plimpton's Small Ball Theory, go to http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/06/08/nnp/26049.html. It's worth the time.)
In short, take my book review for what it's worth, which may not be a lot.
Another from my favorite
One of my all-time favorite authors is John Feinstein. His writing is as if I were sitting in my living room having a great conversation with him.
The first book of his I read was Season on the Brink, the story about Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hooisers. Now, I know Knight was none too happy with Feinstein's work on that book, but Feinstein told me a story simply and to the point, which is what I love about his writing.
Well, he's got another book out titled, Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball.
I'm still early on in the book, but he's got another winner. If he isn't sharing the story of one of the group of minor leaguers he chronicles, he's sharing the joys and pains of being a minor league manager or the joys and pains that go with a 144-game schedule that starts in April and winds up by Labor Day - yes, there are few days off.
If you like Feinstein, this is a book worth reading.
Check out "Fair Cam"
If you want to see what's happening at the Cottonwood County Fair, check out "Fair Cam" at Citizen Online, which is linked from Windomnet.
Thanks to Windomnet, a camera has been mounted above the Cottonwood County Fair office at the Windom Arena and is showing activity along the street between the Arena and these buildings: 4-H Food Stand, Knights of Columbus Food Stand, American Legion Bingo Stand, the American Dairy Association milkshake stand and the corner of Jesse Oleson Pavilion.
Something tells me, there will be all kinds of activity out there starting tonight.

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