Friday, August 29, 2008

The Big Field by Mike Lupica

"To Hutch, shortstop is more than a position - it's a way of life. Not only is his hero, Derek Jeter, a shortstop, but so was his father, a former local legend turned pro. Playing shortstop is in his blood." (from flyleaf)

Hutch is playing second base because D-Will is playing shortstop even though he doesn't live and breathe baseball like Hutch does. Hutch doesn't talk to his dad about baseball or much else. The championship games are approaching and the news media is circling. Will the story be about the rising team, winning or losing the big game, or a single super star?

Lupica gives a non-playing reader a glimpse of the anxiety, mutual support and smack talk, fragility and egos on the line in a teenage boys' summer baseball team. The writing is smooth despite the potentially limited scope (for a non-sports reader like myself) of interest in the topic and keeps a good pace. There are human interest aspects, twists to the action and background info that help bring along an uninformed reader. Lupica acknowledges parental roles in the life of players and teams and seems to capture teenage slang without going overboard. Lupica presents a mostly likeable protagonist and the friendship between Hutch and Cody is solid and enjoyable, contrasted with Hutch's relationship with his dad. Mom is sort of buffer/observer/reassurer but otherwise plays little role in the tale. An enjoyable, solid sports book about team, but not exemplary for TU. NAY


Elizabeth Norton said...

I'm with Kathy on the NAY. This is a good book, but nothing all that special.

Katie said...

Make that three!
nay from Katie