Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, Baseball!

Even with the World Series having been won by St. Louis and the Major League Baseball season officially over for this year, I didn't want my own personal baseball season to end.  

The 2011 version of the fall classic was an exciting series, to be sure, particularly the eleven innings of game six.  This year, I was off in a far-flung part of the world and could not watch any of the games, so I listened on ESPN radio.  Thanks to the great announcing and hearing the roar of the crowds along with the muted inaudible words of the ballpark announcer, I could picture the game action in my mind.  Not at all hard to do.

I grew up watching and playing baseball, as do so many kids in America, parts of Canada and a few other places in the world.  Just looking at where the many very good international players at the Little League World Series come from gives you a good idea where they play baseball.  Growing up, I saw some fantastic baseball, much of it played by young people.  I saw some incredibly skilled kids playing some amazing baseball.  Some of them were the inspiration for my main character in Playing the Baseball Card.  I regret I was not very coordinated myself, and became more of a spectator, but that has never stopped me from grabbing my glove and enjoying a pick-up game from time to time, as a kid or as an adult.

For me, today, the best way to watch baseball is at a minor league park, or at a high school, or a neighborhood field, where I can be right next to the action to hear it all as well as see it.  The drama of baseball is amazing, either at a local little league game or in the major leagues.  The more you know about the players and what’s going on behind the scenes, the more you get out of each game.  There’s a story behind every single pitch, and every swing of the bat.

So, given my love of baseball, I often have a hard time when the official season is done.  This year was no exception.  So, I watched a baseball movie, The Final Season, about small-town high school baseball in Iowa.  The DVD cover has a reviewer from Seattle's KIRO TV calling it, “Friday night lights meets the Field of Dreams.”  I agree. It is a great story, and a terrific movie, and I enjoyed it.

Then, I re-read my own book, Playing the Baseball Card.  (You can find it right here, in multiple formats, at Smashwords, for free.)  I enjoyed reading it once more, although I again picked out a bit of word usage I didn’t like.  I’ll have to send the book for spring training before next season, to update and edit it a bit.  

I also looked for other baseball fiction.  In looking for ‘Baseball’ on Barnes and Noble, I discovered that my book, Playing the Baseball Card, is the top-ranked fiction book when sorting by best sellers using the search wordbaseball,’ behind four non-fiction books.

However, I did find a lot more Baseball fiction further down the list, and some of the books look very good.  I read one called, High Heat, by Carl Deuker, and I liked it.  I sometimes refer to reading fiction for Young Adults as ‘checking out the competitors’ to see what other YA authors are writing.  But, that’s the nice thing about reading.  You don’t have to stop at one book.  You can read many more, as long as you have the time, of course. 

Now, a few days after the celebration of the World Series victory in St. Louis, I will now admit my own personal baseball season is finally over.  The best thing is, however, that it’ll start again next year.  I can’t wait.

In the meantime, happy reading.


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