I have this younger sister who is totally cool. Aside from the coolness factor, we are a lot alike. We love music, though our musical tastes are admittedly different: think heavy metal vs. classical. We love reading and often talk about books. We value family big time. We think it's important to treat others with kindness.
But there is one area we are so totally opposite that I can't believe we are related. Sports. And right now, that means baseball.
Me? I watch almost every single Giants game unless it's a day game and I'm working. I root for my team no matter the standings.
Her? Not so much. She will often call and ask me what I'm doing. I'll say, "watching the Giants." There will be a little silence, and then she'll ask, honestly, "is that basketball?" I'm serious.
But lately a change has come over my sister. It started with a text from her a few weeks back: "Great game."
Then a phone call a few days later: "Buster's home run was great."
And then one Sunday afternoon she was visiting while I was watching a game. She asked, "so what do those numbers mean in that little box up there?" I started explaining baseball to her. Baseball 101, if you will.
I've taught her a lot, but I know there's still quite a bit she (and I, probably) could learn about America's pasttime. So I think I'll check out a good (but easy) book all about baseball: Play by Play Baseball by Don Geng. Even though this book is a tad bit old, it has great information that is still helpful for the beginning baseball fan. A glossary section at the end entitled "Baseball Talk" explains a lot of baseball terminology. For example, a balk: An illegal motion by the pitcher when there is at least one runner on base. If the pitcher is called for a balk, the runner or runners advance one base.
It's really amazing how much information is contained in the library. Now I'm all ready to teach my sister everything she could ever want to know about baseball!
And if you're already a fan like me, there are some great teen fiction books celebrating baseball:
John Feinstein's Change-Up: Mystery at the World Series tells the story of sports journalists who interview the hot new pitcher in the series, and discover some major discrepancies in his life story. There's lots of baseball trivia, and cameo appearances by many baseball legends. A fun and exciting read!
I just read the blurbs about this next one and can't wait to check it out and read it tonight: Matt de la Pena's Mexican Whiteboy. I've always liked this author, and this book has every plot element I like: coming of age, family, searching for identity, and baseball!