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The Inside Track

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June 16, 2004|Larry Stewart

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

What: "Eric Gagne: Break Barriers."

Author: Eric Gagne, with Greg Brown.

Publisher: Positively for Kids.

Price: $15.95.

This 8-by-11, 48-page book is one of 24 Greg Brown has written with athletes in the Positively for Kids series, but it can be enjoyed by adults.

Gagne delivers insight into his own insecurities as a youngster and the barriers he had to overcome to become possibly the best closer in baseball.

He writes about being poor, about his parents' divorce, about being so shy he would freeze when he had to speak in class, and about coming to the U.S. from Montreal without knowing a word of English.

"My hope is that this book will help you break through barriers you face, real and imagined," the Dodgers' Cy Young Award winner writes.

Gagne played one year of junior college ball in Oklahoma before signing with the Dodgers. He lost the first six games of his professional career, then suffered an elbow injury that sidelined him for two months.

He also confronted a problem he had been hiding for two years -- an eating disorder.

"I wasn't overeating," Gagne writes. "I wasn't eating enough. That probably sounds strange for a guy 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, but it's true. I'd go through a day and eat only a cookie and drink a glass of milk. I didn't feel like eating."

Gagne writes about the courage it took to seek help and how baseball motivated him to eat.

As one might expect, Gagne closes on a positive note: "Like me, you can find ways to work through, over, or around your problems. You too can break barriers."

-- Larry Stewart

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