SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: It starts with a book

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 04:05 PM.

In recent years, I haven’t taken as much time to sit down and read good books as I once had. So this summer, I’ve tried to do some reading.

I recently finished reading books about Michael Oher, the football player of “The Blind Side” fame, and former Major League baseball player Roger Maris, whose 61 home runs in 1961 broke Babe Ruth’s single-season record. Maris was one of my first baseball heroes because, like him, I bat lefty and throw righty.

Sometimes, I’m so busy writing that I don’t want to spend a lot of time reading. So I’m a binge reader. I’ll read three, four or five books in a few weeks — and then not read another book for several months. The summer is usually when I find the most time to read.

As an elementary school student, I developed a love for reading biographies of famous athletes. I believe reading those first books about Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Knute Rockne and others helped steer me toward being a sports writer.

The first sports biography I bought was John Devaney’s “The Baseball Life of Mickey Mantle.” I purchased it through the Weekly Reader’s Scholastic Book Club.

That was one of at least a half-dozen books on him that I’ve bought and read. I’m reading another biography, Jane Leavy’s “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood.”

I once got in trouble in a high school algebra class for reading a book about Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson. I should have been paying attention in class, but baseball was always more interesting than trying to solve for x.

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