April 21, 2010

Book Review: We're Gonna Win, Twins!

Since starting this blog, a door has been opened for several great opportunities. One such opportunity has been to review several books. As a college student, I can't tell you how much I hate reading boring material. We've all been there. But thankfully, the books I've had the honor of thumbing through have all been very thought-provoking. Obviously that's coming from a biased opinion as anything baseball-related is thought-provoking in my opinion, but I also think that some of these books would be interesting to you, which is why I'm going to share my thoughts on a few them. I will try to refrain from using cliché phrases like as "must buy" or "readable," but I wanted to apologize in advance because I'm sure they'll find there way into a review at some point.

We're Gonna Win, Twins! is a chronicle of the Minnesota Twins over the first half-century that the club has been in existence. Author Doug Grow provides a fantastic walk through time by discussing events which have unfolded during every season since the inaugural season in 1961.

As each chapter begins, there are several sections leading up to "The Season." These sections labeled "The World," "The Nation," The State," and "Pop Culture" gives the reader a snapshot of the important events outside of baseball, which helps puts things into context while reading. After "The Season," which sums up the year in Twins baseball into a short paragraph, there are pages of great stories, recaps and details of events which unfolded throughout the year in Twins baseball. And what's perhaps the greatest thing about this book is that every season of Twins baseball (from 1961-present) is accounted for in one way or another.

One chapter that I took particular interest to was "Press Box under Siege." Grow gives the reader insight into the Twins blogosphere and puts specific spotlight on John Bonnes (Twins Geek), Aaron Gleeman (AaronGleeman.com) and Anne Ursu (Batgirl). Obviously, as a Twins blogger, I take great pride in the Twins blogosphere and it's great to see other writers get the attention that they're so much deserving of. All three of the bloggers Grow mentions have been instrumental in forming one of the best blogging communities on the web and I'm elated that Grow included them.

What I find very important to note is that I truly believe it suits both younger and older generations of Twins fans perfectly. As a so-called "young fan," there area lot of events in Twins history that I had no knowledge of before reading the book. For the older fan, the events that are written could be a very pleasant to reminisce again and perhaps you'll learn something new as well.

There are some great player profiles that are quite inclusive. Players like Tony Oliva, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Zoilo Versalles and Harmon Killebrew (as well as many others) are given particular attention. Grow also profiles the great World Series matchup between Sandy Koufax and Jim Kaat in 1965 and the chapters which cover the World Series victories in 1987 and 1991 are filled with quotes from players and great stories.

Pictures flood the book with great effect. Seeing pictures of the Met or of the parade that polluted the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul are ineffable. Especially for a fan that wasn't alive (or wasn't old enough to remember) either.

At $25.95, the price of the book may seem steep, but 328+ pages of Grow's writing will not disappoint you and the endless amount of information that you engulf will make the book seem priceless. The nostalgia runs thick and there are plenty of humorous stories to make this truly a fun book to read. We're Gonna Win, Twins! is a book that I truly and sincerely believe every Twins fan should read.

To purchase or to find out more information on the book, check out the We're Gonna Win, Twins! webpage from the University of Minnesota Press. To purchase the book, click here. It can also be purchased through Amazon.com.

Here is more information, including an event this weekend.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
2:00-4:00 pm

Town Ball Tavern
Target Field, 5th Street Gate Entrance
1 Twins Way
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Talk and signing with Doug Grow, featuring Twins memorabilia from Clyde Doepner, curator for the Minnesota Twins.

Open to the Public -- Limited Seating Available

In 1961, the Twins brought major league baseball to the upper Midwest. In We're Gonna Win, Twins! longtime sports reporter and columnist Doug Grow chronicles a half century of Twins baseball, season by season, from the scrappy stars of the Metropolitan Stadium through two World Series in the Metrodome to the opening of a new era at Target Field.

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book's webpage:

Doug Grow covered the Minnesota Twins as a sports columnist from 1979 to 1987, and as a metro columnist he wrote about the 1987 and 1991 World Series as well as the long debates over stadium funding. He is currently a journalist working for the online publication MinnPost.

"Throughout his career, Doug Grow has always found the true meaning in stories large and small. This account of the history of Minnesota Twins baseball is filled with that kind of personal understanding. There will always be people who say that baseball is just a game-until they read this book." - Don Shelby, WCCO-TV

"Doug Grow's writing has always been about the people and lives, not numbers, and that's why We're Gonna Win, Twins! is a winner." - Charley Walters, Former Twins pitcher and St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist.

"We're Gonna Win, Twins! is a winner for Twins fans! Great behind-the-scenes tales from every era of Twins baseball. IT invoked great memories for me and a lot of laughs as well. Stories about the tightfisted ways of Calvin to the 'championship era' started by Tom Kelly in '87. It's a fun read! - Jim Kaat