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October 31, 2020

9/23/2020 9:15:00 AM
The best of summer reading
A few weeks back I mentioned that I enjoyed a week of vacation in Northern Minnesota and that the best part for me, as always, was hitting the links and reading.
I've already shared my enjoyment on the golf course, now for a little (OK, a big) recap on my book list - and this year it's been quite a list.
I purchased a couple myself and had several others given to me for Father's Day. I'm not an avid reader when at home, but when on vacation there's nothing I enjoy more than grabbing a book and swinging in the Eagle Nest swings overlooking Lake Winnebigoshish. Or, just sitting on a cabin porch and diving into a book.
And, like I said, I had quite a list to read this year.
I'll note that all of these reads were relatively quick and easy. In fact, I don't think any of them were more than 350 pages and most were right at 300 or under. And, as you might expect, they all had to do with sports - five baseball books and one pseudo golf entertainment.
So, let's start with my largely "Twins-themed" vacation reading list.
Carew's story
I started off with a book about one of my baseball heros, "One Tough Out: Fighting Off Life's Curveballs" by Rod Carew with Jaime Aron. I had read a Rod Carew biography some years ago that I actually thought gave me more historical information about one of the great hitters in Minnesota Twins history. However, what Carew gave me in his autobiography, as he should, was more of his personal perspective on events in his life and more information where the biography left off.
Carew also shared his spiritual life, which was very compelling and wasn't included in the biography.
It's a good, quick read. If Sir Rodney is one of your all-time favorite Twins - as he is for me - you'll want it for your baseball library.
Hrbek's story
Staying in the autobiography mode - although I didn't know it until I started reading the book - I devoured "Tales from the Minnesota Twins Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Twins Stories Ever Told" by Kent Hrbek with Dennis Brackin. It's a short book, but then brevity always has been one of the Twins Hall-of-Famer's strong suits.
You can hear Hrbek reading his story to you - and it is his life's story. He has a couple of great stories he tells in the book that I doubt have been shared elsewhere. He also divulges some things I never knew about him, including how much he was hurt by the break-up of his marriage. Of course, he doesn't go in depth about their parting, but you can tell it affected him greatly.
You picture Hrbek as this big, lovable, happy-go-lucky bear cub, but he interjects some real emotion in his story.
If you're hunkered down for an evening and you've always enjoyed watching the longtime Twins first baseman, pick up the book and, if you're a fast reader which I am not, you'll easily finish the book in one sitting.
Bremer's story
Lifelong Twins fans - and those who began watching the Twins in just the past 30 years - have to make this next book a must in your baseball library: "Game Used: My Life in Stitches with the Minnesota Twins" by Dick Bremer with Jim Bruton.
You know the voice, you know his mannerisms and you know what a class act the longtime Twins broadcaster has been. Bremer ranks right up there with Twins broadcasting legends Herb Carneal and John Gordon.
His book is a true gem. He takes you through a little of his childhood and more about how he got into broadcasting. Like Hrbek's book, you'll learn some behind-the-scenes stories that you probably never knew that will leave you busting a gut in laughter.
Something else that makes this a great read is how Bremer broke up the book. The book is comprised of 108 chapters. Yes, most of them are short, but you may ask, why 108 chapters? Well, the subtitle reads "My Life in Stitches" and around what does his life partially revolve? Baseball. And how many stitches are there in a baseball? Yep, 108.
Don't let this one slip by you. It's a must-read - and very well written, as you might expect from such an articulate man.
Caddyshack's story
I wrapped up vacation by finally reading a book that I picked up on the bargain rack at Barnes & Noble and had lying around for a year or two - "Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story" by Chris Nashawaty.
This is not a book for the kiddos. Like the movie, the story of how the cult golf classic was made is rated "R." The language at times and the ridiculous amount of drug use during the making of the movie probably will give you your own mild high.
If you recall, Sports Illustrated ran a story in their annual "Where Are They Now" issue on the 25th or 30th anniversary of the release of the movie. If I'm not mistaken, the author wrote that story for SI, then turned it into a book. Obviously, if it landed on the bargain rack, it didn't sell real well.
But don't sell the book short. If you can tolerate, or at least get past, the stories of the massive amount of cocaine snorted in the making of the movie, the behind-the-scenes stories of the movie are interesting.
For instance, did you know that after all the movie footage was shot, they had like three weeks to put the whole thing together. The guys who were doing the editing had never edited a movie in their life. They ultimately brought in some professionals and, well, it became a cult classic.
Incidentally, of all those who inhaled, ingested and smoke, Bill Murray was not one of them. I guess, he's just a real golfer.

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