Baseball Book Review: “Chasing a Dream” – By CJ Boerger
Saturday December 15th, 2012
“CHASING A DREAM” – BY CJ BOERGER, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen (Baseball Writer and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
The most popular question I receive at this time of year? Typically centers around Christmas coming around the corner and the need to buy a gift. Lots of them. For the baseball fan that has everything, what is one to buy?
I go through this list seemingly every year. With spring training still a whole 3 months away (along with the World Baseball Classic this upcoming year), baseball fans need some sort of outlet to satisfy their baseball thirst. Baseball dvds are always a good source- as all the classic games are forever enshrined in the video archives. But after having watched ball for the spring/summer/fall, sometimes it is nice to get away from the television. That is when you curl up to a good book and enjoy a baseball read.
There is nothing finer than getting lost in someone else’s world. Reading a story about another person’s hopes, goals and dreams. Where they go and how they get there. All of us have dreams. We spend our entire lives chasing them. Some are attainable, while others elude us. But sometimes it is nice to take a break from our own pursuits and live in another pair of shoes. For 300+ pages, I got to be an outsider in the world of Charlie Becker and learn about his dream.
When you first pick up “Chasing a Dream” and turn it over to the back, here is the description that you find:
Charlie Becker’s once promising baseball career was not supposed to go this way. By age 33 he was certain he was going to be a Major League veteran, not a pitcher struggling to hang on with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats. Unfortunately, his past has left him with some scars and demons that he just can’t seem to shake. Even with a loving wife and adoring son, Charlie lives with a constant feeling of emptiness and regret that is difficult to escape.
Now, Charlie’s professional baseball career is almost over and he has some decisions to make. Who does he want to be? What does he want to do? What would his Dad think about all of this? What is really important in his life? These are the questions that Charlie can’t stop thinking about, and that he needs answered to feel at ease.
Let me start off by saying that Boerger accomplished a strong feat in this book. He was able to place me in the mind of “Charlie Becker”, a professional pitcher for the duration of the book. It is one thing to interview a player. It is quite another thing to actually be inside their mind. I have spent countless hours at ballparks watching games, thinking many random baseball thoughts: “What is that pitcher thinking on the mound?” “What the heck are the pitcher and catcher talking about?” When I finished this book, I actually felt like I could answer questions like these better. While not all players are the same, jumping into Charlie Becker’s world, one really gets a better sense of what happens behind the baseball scenes.
It wouldn’t do “Chasing a Dream” justice by trying to place a label on it. I’m not going to call it a “Field of Dreams” or “Bull Durham” type book. It is more unique than that. Boerger went out on a limb but keeping his story raw and real. He wasn’t going for cheap tricks or storylines. Rather Boerger kept the story realistic and I appreciated his honest approach. Baseball players are not appearing out of the sky. Managers are not coming back from the dead. “Chasing a Dream” is truly about a real guy trying to make his dream come true. A meat and potatoes type of book – down to basics.
There is always a fine line in baseball. Some guys retire too early, while others hang on just a little bit too long. Dale Murphy on the Rockies? It happened. Andre Dawson on the Marlins? True story. Tales of baseball vets that hung around a year or two much too long are littered throughout baseball history. What about though hot-shot prospects that never broke through? Or career minor league journeymen that never get their chances? If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it thousands of times. I wondered out loud when I picked up “Chasing a Dream” which category Charlie Becker would fall into. Did he hang around the game too long, or simply never fulfill his ultimate dream?
I won’t be cruel as to ruin that part for you. The good news is that you will get to find out for yourself. Need a good stocking stuffer? A gift under the tree? Or what about a little something for yourself? If you love baseball, do yourself a favor. Grab a copy of “Chasing a Dream”. A strong addition to any baseball library, I give this one “two bats up!” I can’t tell you that “Chasing a Dream” will replace live baseball for you. But in a long offseason spent speculating on free agent signings and trades, it is always nice to get a good baseball groove on. Charlie Becker lives through one heck of a baseball roller coaster life. Get ready to experience it for yourself.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Posted on December 15, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged baseball, book review, boston red sox, charlie becker, chasing a dream, cj boerger, minnesota twins, mlb, new britain rock cats, spring valley. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.