An Intro to a Baseball Book: “Beating About the Bushes”

Minor League Baseball in the ’60’s by Tim Sommer

Tim Sommer highlights an almost-forgotten era in American baseball.  He gives the reader a candid look at a time when professional baseball players were motivated by the love of the sport and of the simplicity of professional baseball in the 60s and 70s.  He tells how his family circumstances, personal  persistence, and his boyhood dreams impacted his entry into an eight-year career in professional baseball.

“Beating About the Bushes” gives in insider’s perspective and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of professional athletes, their loyalty to one another even amid the competitive nature of achieving the major leagues.  Sommer also points out the human faults of the sports heroes created by the media.

Sommer’s writing is humorous, entertaining, informative, and sometimes controversial.  Although he pulls no punches, his allegiance to Orioles, the players, trainers, coaches, managers and fan are all a part of who Tim is.  He relates stories of dozens of professionals who are now professional baseball legends as well as those who have become members of the Hall of Fame.

Tim Sommer talks about his own unique experiences during his eight years in professional baseball.  He gives play-by-play accounts of games that were important to him in his drive to attain personal success.  He shows another side of his personality as he describes a road experience, “Always it was a wonderful opportunity to experience the size and diversity of America while traveling…opportunities to absorb the many flavors of life along the way.”

Sommer provides the reader with a broad overview of professional baseball.  He gives insight into racial tension, contract negotiation, free agency, pensions and the player strike of 1969.

The format of the book is ideal for today’s busy sports fan.  The forty-five short chapters are fast reading, entertaining and contagious.  Each chapter highlights an incident, a celebrity story, or a funny expose of one of Tim’s peers.  Chapter titles are made up of catchy titles which draw the reader in compelling them on to the finale chapter “One Last Hurrah.”

Tim Sommer is articulate, witty, and is a veritable encyclopedia of baseball trivia, history, statistics, and first person vignettes.

Baseball enthusiasts, from little league coaches to professional fans, trainers and managers are destined to bond to the persona who is Tim Sommer.  “Beating About the Bushes” is a book for all sport fans.

Beating About the Bushes:  Minor League Baseball in the ’60’s
By Tim Sommer
Infinity Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9780741449818
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (11/09)

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