Friday, June 22, 2007
Books, Not Baseball... but kinda
The Twins had the night off last night, and I wasn't real sure what to write about today, but it is Friday, so I have to write something, right? Last week, Howard Sinker from Section 220 'tagged' me as one of his six people to answer several questions about books. He had been tagged by the famous Will Young. So, today is the day that you will learn about my reading. I think what you will learn that pretty much all I do any more is read... but I really just read baseball stuff on the internet. It is rare, with one exception that you'll read below, for me to have an actual hard cover or paperback book in my hands. So here are the answers to the nine questions presented and my six tags.
1.) One Book that changed your life
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan. My freshman year at Concordia College in Moorhead, I had to take one semester of a Religion class. The semester was actually broken into three separate classes. We had to read this book in one of them. This book, and the discussions that we had in class, questioned everything that I grew up believing in terms of Jesus and Christianity. It was a historical look at Jesus. One part of it, it tried to explain things such as the the crucifixions of that time not being done as it was told in the Bible, and it said that the resurrection was just a story to bring about believers. It talked about parables and the role of the genders in religion. It basically says that the Kingdom of God is the here and now, not a heaven. Crossan is a Biblical historian and uses many documents from the time, as well as the other gospels that they decided not to use in the Bible. Like I said, this class definitely made me think, and honestly, that is a very good thing. When you're growing up, your opinions or "beliefs" are likely based primarily on what your parents tell you to believe, where you are told to go to church and Sunday school. It is called 'faith', but this book made me wonder if you can truly have faith until that faith is tested, until you have to think about the issues. As the class was coming to a close, I was walking into the library and the professor happened to be walking in at the same time. He said me, "Seth, have I changed all of your beliefs?" I paused for a few seconds before responding, "You know, it has made me think a lot, but in the end, I think it actually has made me much stronger in my own faith." Do I always live my life as I should because of that? Of course not, I am imperfect like everyone else.
My faith is stronger, but how it changed my life is more than just that. I think that I think through things a lot deeper since then. I took that class about eight or nine years before I blogged, but I believe that one of the fundamental purposes of blogs is to critically think about what you hear, and in the end, develop your own opinions on any topic. The topic can be religion, or it can be some of the crap that you hear Dick Bremer, Bert Blyleven or Dan Gladden spout off during a Twins game. I think that it is very important for people not just to believe everything they're told but instead to study, to hear all perspectives and in the end, to develop your own opinion.
2.) One Book that you've read more than once
Kirby Puckett: I Love This Game - I think you'll notice that my favorite reading is autobiographies. How can I not love the autobiography of my favorite ball player of all time. As I said before, my earliest memories of actually following the Twins team were from late 1983, early 1984. Kirby Puckett was my hero. And this is a truly remarkable book! Lucky for me, it is also a fairly easy read and could keep my attention. There have been very few books that I have been able to just sit down and read cover to cover. This, and Bo Knows Bo, are two that I would recommend to anyone! Oh, and Jim Kaat's Still Pitching: Musings from the Mound and the Microphone.
3.) One Book you would want on a deserted island
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley - I don't know. There's just a lot of irony in that response. You know, there won't be any millionaire's next door. There probably won't be any doors. Millionaires probably like buying islands. I wouldn't know. I'm a Thousandairre, and barely! Also, if you survive for a long period of time like my man Tom Hanks and his volleyball Wilson, you better be ready to write a book and become a public speaker and have a movie made about you, and then you will need to know what to do with your millions.
4.) One Book that made you laugh
Catcher in the Wry - The autobiography of the great Bob Uecker is absolutely terrific, and very funny! As I was looking at my bookshelves, as soon as I saw the book, I had this answer. The first chapter's title is "A Funny Thing Happened on my way to Cooperstown." He basically jokes about sitting by the phone each year, waiting to get the call that he has made it into the Hall of Fame. Of course, the irony is that a couple of years ago, he did make the Hall of Fame for his radio work. I've heard him several times and he is entertaining, and obviously knows baseball very well. He talks about how he hit .200 in his career. Not .199 or .201, but .200. He writes (referring to HOFers Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn and Bob Gibson):
In my heart of hearts, I believe my accomplishments were as great as theirs. What did it mean for Aaron or Mathews to hit their .350 or their forty homers? Anybody with ability can play in the big leagues. To last as long as I did with the skills I had, with the numbers I produced, was a triumph of the human spirit.
And the book just continues with story after story, joke after joke, and most of them in a baseball context. Of course, there are stories from his broadcast career, and a very interesting relationship with the late Howard Cosell. This book definitely makes me laugh.
5.) One Book that made you cry
Sounder - William Armstrong and James Barkley - This may have been the first book I read, and I am guessing that if I read it again (I won't), I would probably cry again! I also read while reading Jen-X, but that was for different reasons.
6.) One Book you wish had been written
The Life and Times of Chris Farley, An Autobiography - Maybe if Adam Sandler writes an autobiography, it will include a little glimpse, but I would love to have understand the life of Farley from his own perspective. I wish I could understand the feelings he felt when he was at the top. I wonder what was going through his mind that made him do the drugs and all the drinking that eventually cost him his life. I want to know how he came up with and what it was like to perform characters like the famous Matt Foley, the Gap Girls and the whole Da Bears thing. I would love to read stories of working/partying with David Spade, Sandler and the rest of the SNL cast.
7.) One Book you wish had never been written
150 Ways to Play Solitaire - Alphonse Moyse Jr. - I know like two ways to play solitaire. I used to play solitaire in the bathroom, kind of as a grading system. (Don't ask) I got bored just now typing about knowing two ways to play solitaire. 150! Are you kidding? Why?! Honorable Mention - Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big, and My Prison Without Walls by Pete Rose. People bashed Jose Canseco for writing Juiced, a book that made the PEH situation in baseball a big issue. It seems strange to me that the same people bash those suspected of use. Seems to me that you can't have both. And, Pete Rose wrote this book and finally admitted that he bet on baseball in an obvious attempt to get into the Hall of Fame. Thankfully, it didn't work!
8.) One Book you're currently reading
Well, it has been sitting in my bathroom for about the past year, so I would say that the book that I am currently reading is Ball Four, plus Ball Five: An Update. So many people talk about Jim Bouton's book and how he was ostracized after the book came out. Supposedly he told too many baseball secrets. From what I've read, he wrote about amphetamines, about players and women, and about players and coaches. It is a good book, an interesting book, but it hasn't been as classic as I was thinking it would be. Of course, maybe if I read it in longer time increments, it would flow a little more.
9.) One Book you've been meaning to read
The types of books that I enjoyed the most are 1.) autobiographies and 2.) social history. The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave: Written by Himself have been tow of the best books I've ever read. So, the book I have most been meaning to read is Jackie Robinson: I Never Had it Made. Baseball celebrated Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier 60 years ago earlier this season. I think it is an incredible story, but what is so important to remember is that Jackie Robinson was so much more than a baseball player. He was so much more than an athlete. It is the next book on my list to read. Hopefully I get to it soon.
10.) Six People to Tag:
David Bergner, aka The Baseball Savant
Stick & Ball Guy
Josh Taylor, Taylor's Twins Talk
Brent Hansen, BrentNet
Rich Lederer, The Baseball Analysts
Pat Neshek, Minnesota Twins and PatNeshek.com
Alright, I am guessing that many of you probably got very little out of this posting. You found out that I don't read too much, and much of what I do read our sports/baseball autobiographies, but I can branch out a little bit. I probably just do a little too much reading on the internet, huh? Oh well! I would love to hear your thoughts. If you would like to leave comments or ask questions, please feel free to leave comments below. If you want to answer the same questions, or some of the questions, do so in the Comments, or as always, you can e-mail me as well.
That is it for today, and for the weekend. Maybe I'll read a book or something. I will be back on Monday! Have a great weekend!
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