Book stuff

I am preoccupied with finishing the book I am working on about the Halstad ball teams. It is due September 8th. I am on track to finish; however, I would like to be able to go over it a few times, perhaps read it aloud, before handing it over. Thank goodness it will be edited by a professional. Grammar and all that ain't my strong suit.

Ate a wonderful meal today at Passage to India in Fargo. Their lunch buffet is tops. If some of you tried the restaurant three years ago when I was rhapsodizing about it on this weblog, it has been under new ownership for the past 15 months or so and you should try it again, even if you didn't like it the first time. The people who took it over are from a different part of India. The flavors are more vivid. The buffet is just tops. I wish I could eat there daily. Every time I go, there is something different. It is healthy food, and it is imaginative.

I particularly like their kheer, the classic Indian dessert. They use angel hair pasta in the sweet custard sauce, which adds a good texture and a little wholesome wheat flavor. Pasta should be used more often in desserts.

Passage to India is just northeast of the Wal-mart on 13th Avenue south. It is in a strip mall just north of Conlin's furniture. The storefront faces north.

Tonight is the last night here for Renato, the Brazilian student who has been living with me and working at the nursery since April. We went out for supper and had a nice visit. I think Brazil will be the next country on my travel list. Renato is going to help me choose the good places to visit. If I merely visit the Brazilians I have met here at the nursery, I will see several different parts of that huge, varied country.

KENT HRBEK: I wasn't quite hungry enough at noon for the Passage to India, so to work up an appetite, I went to Barnes and Noble and read through Kent Hrbek's book. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Some points:

--Hrbek and Puckett were never close. Hrbek objected to Puckett's fraternizing with players from other teams on the field before games.

--When Gary Gaetti got religion in 1988, it ruined the friendship between Hrbek and the Twins third baseman, a friendship which had been bathed in beer and "heaters," Hrbek's term for cigarettes. About ten years later, however, Gaetti had gotten off his high horse and the two went hunting and, according to Hrbek, downed some beer and even had a few "heaters."

--Hrbek thinks Torii Hunter talks too much. So do I.

--Hrbek doesn't think he'd survive playing today. The players work out all year around. Hrbek never did that, as we all know. He ate a lot, drank a lot, and didn't care to do much exercise off the field. I often wonder what he could have done if he had taken care of himself a little bit. He had as much natural talent as Joe Mauer does today.

--On an issue which only long-term Twins zealots will remember, Hrbek had interesting comments on Ron Davis. Davis was the Twins' reliever who gave up so many game winning home runs in the mid 1980s that he became identified in the press as a "cancer" on the team. Generally speaking, the fans agreed. As did the players. When Davis was traded, the team had a bizarre celebration on the plane on the way home. It was like an exorcism, Hrbek said. Harmon Killebrew was on the plane, too, as an announcer, and he said it was the strangest scene he had seen in all his years in baseball. Hrbek said, "we didn't do ourselves proud that night." He liked Ron Davis, said he had a heart of gold, and argued that the criticisms of Davis were unfair.

--Frank Viola had to take anti-diarrhea medication before every one of his starts he got so nervous. Hrbek was his roomate for exactly one night. At every noise outside, Viola had to get up and look out the window. He didn't sleep a wink.

--Tom Kelly's intense dislike of his second baseman Steve Lombardozzi led to the trade of Tom Brunansky for St. Louis second baseman Tom Herr in 1988, according to Hrbek. The trade was a disaster. Herr hated Minnesota, made now bones about it, and then, to top things off, he converted Gary Gaetti, at which point Gaetti's approach to the game changed completely. No more swearing at the other team from the top step of the dugout. No more throwing his batting helmet after strikeouts. No more smoking heaters. From Hrbek's point of view, Herr took his best friend away from him. "It was as if he had died," Hrbek says in his book.

--During the seventh game of the World Series in 1987, Brunansky, Hrbek and Gaetti--who knew that PA announcer Bob Casey always went to the bathroom during the fifth inning--locked Casey in the bathroom while other players put shaving cream on his phone, his earpiece, as well as in the towel he would use to clean himself off after getting covered in shaving cream using his phone and his earpiece. Keep in mind, the Twins are at this point trailing in the final game of the World Series. Yet, the boys in the dugout devoted the first half of the bottom of the fifth to laughing their heads off watching poor old Bob Casey clean up from the shaving cream.

Hrbek's book is a good read, for those of you who love the Twins and who remember the 1987 and 1991 teams.