Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter


   Rating: *****
   Genres: Sports, realistic fiction
       Pages: 216
I am not a baseball fan. When my parents drag me to one of my brothers' games, I bring a book. But that didn't stop me from loving The Boy Who Saved Baseball. Dillontown has always been a dusty old town in the middle of the California desert, completely unremarkable aside from the way town life revolves around baseball. But as soon as Doc, the baseball field's owner, sells his land to developers, Dillontown will become just another urban sprawl. None of the kids want their beloved baseball field cleared, so Tom tries to talk Doc out of selling. Doc agrees  to keep Dillontown as it is-if the baseball team can win their next game. That would be a good plan, except
1: The other team has a lot more practice
2: And better equipment
3: Dillontown's team sucks (especially Tom)
4: Everybody blames Tom for the impossible odds
5: The game is in exactly one week
That means Tom has seven days to put together a brilliant training program, convince a reclusive former baseball star to coach his team, work up the courage to talk to his crush, and defy an ancient Death and Doom prophecy hinting they might lose the game.
I have to admit that when my parents first popped in the audiobook, I thought, so what if their old baseball field gets the bulldozer? They can build a new, not-so-broken one. But as the book went on, I was able to see what made Dillontown so special, why the rugged, barren landscape mattered. And, most importantly, why a team of ten kids are willing to fight so hard for their town and field.
 Tom is a shy, quiet protagonist. There were times when I was so preoccupied with Crux, a mysterious stranger who rides into town (literally) and brings his superb baseball skills with him, that I almost forgot Tom existed.
If I can be so completely drawn into a book about a sport I don't particularly care about, I think you will enjoy it, too. 

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