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The Ballpark Buster

The Ballpark Buster by Don Shearer tells the story of an average kid, Buster, who lives an ordinary life like everyone else, with just one difference: he’s well over six feet in height by the time he’s twelve years old. Buster strives to have a normal life, hanging out with friends, going to school, helping his parents at home, and playing sports, despite this unusual medical condition that rapidly speeds up his growth rate. Instead of focusing on the challenges of his record-breaking height, Buster Logan uses it to his advantage to become an athlete. He quickly learns how his size can work for him, not against his pursuits, transforming his life from ordinary to an extraordinary nationwide sports hero.

This fascinating story is set in the 1940’s, imbuing this sports fiction story a unique historical fiction feel. The story explores the golden era of major league baseball, a simpler life, and the nostalgia of this decade. Shearer writes a rousing story which feels like a classic with a clear and lighthearted tone throughout, making this an easy read. It’s a fun book for children and young adults. It conveys the importance of living your life to its fullest potential and using any attribute you have, including an unusual height, to your advantage.

Shearer adds creative and unique characteristics into a tale that could otherwise be considered ordinary. It’s a fantastic story for baseball fans as there are pictures of ballparks included, and the descriptions give the reader a decent visual of the author’s love of the game. It’s an inspirational and feel-good story that makes a great light read. I recommend The Ballpark Buster for its creativity and simple but profound writing that makes a fun story for all ages.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0B7QP7V9X

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When Baseball Was King the New York Yankees Were King of Baseball

When Baseball was King The New York Yankees were King of Baseball recounts some of the greatest baseball players ever. Author Dr. Len Bergantino is able to recount many of their stats, from how fast pitchers could throw and how fast the greatest players could hit! From Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Jackie Robinsons, we get to read about how great each player was. While mostly discussing great Yankee players, Dr. Bergantino also discusses some of the other great players from other teams, such as the Cleveland Indians and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I enjoyed reading about some of baseball’s greatest players in this enlightening book. The author is correct about baseball not being such a loved sport anymore. Most people seem to enjoy football now. While I have personally heard about most of the players mentioned, I didn’t know their stats. Reading about the batting averages from back then compared to the players now was eye-opening. It makes me wonder what has changed in the players between then and now.

I enjoyed reading the letters that Dr. Bergantino wrote to Carl Erskine. It was nice to see that Mr. Erskine replied to his letters as well. He even sent a copy of his book. While he originally disliked Carl Erskine because he was a great pitcher for the Dodgers, he realized he did like him in the end because he was such a great player.

There are scans of other books that Dr. Len Bergantino wrote inside this book. There are excerpts from those books as well. They are printed multiple times as well leaving the actual story to be about 45 pages. The rest is from the other books.

This is an illuminating book that conjures a nostalgic feeling while providing readers with interesting facts about great baseball players. I enjoyed this story, especially when the author talked about watching baseball as a kid. This is a great read for any fan of the New York Yankees and anyone interested in baseball history.

Pages: 98 | ASIN: B085WMX5P6

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A Universal Fantasy

Mike DeLucia
Mike DeLucia Author Interview

Born for the Game follows a man that has worked hard for all he has in life, now he wants to create the perfect baseball player. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The original idea grew from a story I heard in the 1970’s about a blind man who tripped over his dog’s dish, hit the wall with his head and was able to see. I thought that there are tremendous possibilities within the brain. I played a lot of ball as a kid, so I originally thought of a baseball player who hits his head in a car accident and becomes the greatest ballplayer of all time, even though he was well past his prime. The story changed over the past 40 years, but the concept of being the greatest of all time and the challenges accompanying that lofty goal, remained the crux of the story. What does it take to be the greatest at anything? This is a universal question and dreaming about it is a universal fantasy. Someone has to be the best. Why not me? Why not you? The possibility of it, albeit slight, exists, and that’s what makes it so much fun to imagine.

Ryan Stone is the result of Phineas’s plan for the perfect player. What were some driving ideals behind her development?

When I was looking at a story with all-male characters, I thought it was in desperate need of a strong female presence, so I thought that the challenges facing a female to be the greatest baseball player adds so much more fuel to the story’s fire. Once I decided on that concept, I began thinking what a female would have to do to be better than men. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Those who lived before the Wright brothers could have never imagined that a ton of steel and fuel could fly through the air to deliver people and goods all over the world or that picture and sound could be transmitted through airwaves into space and then shot down into your phone or TV. Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it cannot be done. I had to build a story where this idea was feasible.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The pursuit of dreams, love, betrayal, gender roles, and how choices drive our life’s journey.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

It’s hard to say at this point because I decided to work on getting a literary agent this year. I’d like to see my books as films. First, I write the screenplay and then I write the novel. Writing one book for me is writing two. I have several ideas for other stories and none of them are in the sports genre. I’ve written four books and a short story in the sports genre… although I really do flip genres during my stories, so this next one will be a whole new platform. I have seven or eight ideas scribbled on a piece of paper, but I won’t even begin until at least a year from now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What do a 4 foot 5 inch eccentric billionaire, a Japanese karate master, and a rogue Hall of Fame pitcher have in common? They create the greatest baseball player of all time… And her name is Ryan.

Multi-award-winning author Mike DeLucia is back with new and exciting characters, and a story about the pursuit of dreams, love, betrayal, and how choices drive our life’s journey.

Phineas Stone’s life as a dwarf and a product of the foster-care system mold his dogged determination to rise above his meager circumstances and build a financial empire. But even his magnificent wealth and influence cannot buy his lifelong dream of playing baseball for his beloved Los Angeles Greyhounds.

Together with Rollie Rollins, a former Major League knuckleballer with a penchant for mischief, and his longtime friend, Ito Hachi, Phineas effects a brilliant, yet unorthodox plan of creating an elite athlete under a veil of secrecy and pretense.

The characters in this story are driven by their dreams, but ultimately realize that chasing them brings with it the possibilities of both rapture or insufferable tragedy.

Born for the Game

What does it take to become the greatest of all time? Mike DeLucia’s new book, Born for the Game, presents a well-crafted and riveting premise where a bit of cleverness and hard work is all you need to achieve the impossible. Phineas Stone has big dreams, he’s trying to build a big, successful life for himself, and there’s nothing that can get in the way of reaching his goals. He creates a successful and profitable business through pure will, yet he knows that his biggest dream is one he can’t actually accomplish: getting the chance to play in the major leagues. Nevertheless, his immense determination and his inventiveness lead him to craft a plan through which he intends to create the greatest baseball player of all time.

Readers will find Phineas’ plan exciting to experience, from design to execution. He made sure to keep close people with talent and MLB connections to pull it all off. The plan involved the creation of the perfect baseball player from its conception, where he chose two of the most talented people as parents and only left one thing to chance: the gender of the baby. With this, we finally meet Ryan Stone, a girl and possibly the perfect player that Phineas had envisioned. Readers will have the fantastic opportunity of seeing Ryan’s unique career from the moment she was just a child, and it’s such an exciting and intriguing idea that readers absolutely will enjoy.

The book is structured in short chapters, each gripping and with a new, adventurous idea to present. DeLucia is an incredible storyteller. From the very beginning, readers will be hooked, flipping through every page to find out more, learn about Ryan’s experience, and finally see if she was going to prove herself. Phineas Stone was able to turn his plan from fantasy into reality, which will immediately captivate readers. There’s so much to love in this book, the writing, the story, the characters: everything is perfectly structured. It’s also fascinating getting to explore the idea of a girl trying to become the greatest baseball player of all time, demolishing sexist notions on her way to achieving the most significant success.

Born for the Game is a story about hard work, talent, and family. There are so many lessons hidden in this fiction story, making it entertaining and inspiring. Ryan is such a unique character with a fierce personality and unstoppable attitude that will leave readers asking for more. This riveting and enthralling story will entertain readers of sports fiction, women’s fiction, and baseball lovers of all kinds.

Pages: 179 | ASIN : B09KF6GCGN

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Who We Are and Who We Become

PAUL BURGOYNE
Paul Burgoyne Author Interview

Two Seasons relives the two years that shaped the narrators life and explores questions of identity and belonging in a quickly changing world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

One thing we all share is the need to belong, a need which is especially acute in childhood. I have uncomfortable memories of trying to fit in, believing I could make that happen through sports accomplishments. The story grew out of the sense of disappointment when my best efforts failed to produce the desired results.

Boone is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Boone is not simply a sports-obsessed child, he is an observer. He notices when things aren’t going right but he has no outlet. He is a reader, and as an only child, books are his companions. They open his eyes to a bigger world than the small town where he lives. He is also curious and resourceful. When adults won’t provide answers to his questions, he keeps prodding for and assembling the scraps he receives into a coherent version of “the truth”. This question emerged: would Boone become insightful enough to take the steps that would help him cope with his life-situation?

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important theme was identity. How do we develop our sense of who we are and where we fit in the world? Does our sense of identity shape our choices or do our choices shape our sense of identity? By observing the life of a young boy struggling with a confusing family dynamic, I hoped to consider how family, friends, mentors (in person or in print), along with our own mental processes, help shape who we are and who we become.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on another novel this time focused on a young adult. I want to examine the idea of character change. My protagonist will be a fault-filled person beginning to recognize his failures and working hit-and-miss on becoming a better person. He will need a great deal of help along the way! It’s still early but I hope to have the first draft finished by summer 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Is it like father, like son?
His father is growing more erratic every day and 11-year-old Boone Martin wants to know – is it true? Like father like son? As his twisted family breaks apart, Boone clings to baseball, his one foothold in life. But it’s winter when his father moves out.
In summer, his best friend Rocky expects him to pitch Omak Little League to a third straight State championship – no pressure there – and former big-leaguer Lou Debrunes shows Boone a way out, the perfect curveball. His mother becomes more friendly with Coach as each game passes – is it Boone’s job to keep her trust issues from messing up a good thing?
Set in the fruit-growing town of Omak, Washington, Two Seasons is narrated by an adult Boone Martin reliving the two years that most shaped his life. More than a baseball story, Two Seasonsexplores the questions of identity and belonging in a shifting world rocked by the assassinations and anti-war movement of 1968.

Through Hard Work and Tenacity

Will Hallewell
Will Hallewell Author Interview

Driven follows a young man who fights to achieve his dreams while trying to pull his dad out of his depression. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was asked to participate in the Legacy Series of teen sports novels by my publisher and gladly accepted. At that same time, my wife and I were on the phone with my stepson who had played high school sports, and I asked him to help me develop a theme. He had gone through what Gabe had to go through with the rich kids in school getting playing time over those who had played hard for their four years and felt thrust aside because of wealthy parents. The theme was established.

The depression arc with Gabe’s father was based on my depression and the struggle I encountered to even get up off of the couch some days. Even though I didn’t drink my way through it, the struggle is very hard. Whenever I get the opportunity to talk about it or help others through it, I do. The white fleece jacket that Gabe’s father wore was the same one I wore each and every day of my depression. It was my security blanket, keeping me mentally safe.

Gabe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Every story has to have conflict and a hero to fight through it. Realizing what was going on in his town and that he was the only one who could help himself achieve his dreams, I wanted to use Gabe to bring focus to teenagers the concept that life isn’t handed to them, they have to go out and get it on their own through hard work and tenacity. In today’s world where so many young kids fall into that “me” mentality, I also wanted to stress the importance of family. No one is more important than family. And although I realize that not everyone has the same core family of mother and father, they still have parental role models. And, good or bad, we all need to be there for our families and friends.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The fact that money can’t buy you everything, the importance of family and helping those in need, and the possibility that life can be lived and conflict can be resolved with “No Hate in the Heart”. Those were the main themes.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have written a series of mid-grade books called The Gazore Series, which is an older kid’s tribute to Dr. Seuss, and am currently working on turning that into a podcast with 9 episodes completed so far. My current sports book is a hockey book entitled Blindsided. The Gazore Series and Podcast are available now and Blindsided I hope to get finished soon. I am approximately two-thirds of the way through that.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Good or bad, money can be a major factor in everyone’s lives. In the lives of Charlie Shaw and his family, however, it’s what makes them happy and what makes them popular.
When they move into the small town of Falls Creek, divisions of people who have known each other for years begin to occur, and the town becomes split by the creek that bears its name. On the north side resides the Shaws and those who have latched on to their money to try and better themselves, their social status, and their baseball team’s bottom line.
On the south side, there is no influence, only layoffs at the factory. Layoffs and sadness and depression.
Gabe “Honus” Wagner is a senior at Falls Creek High school, and his family is feeling the crunch of the layoffs, his father slipping deeper and deeper into depression. All Gabe wants is a chance to get to the regional game where he and his senior friends will get to display their talents for the scouts of the nation’s biggest schools, but Nate Shaw – Charlie Shaw’s freshman son – has other ideas.
Can Gabe overcome the misguided lure of money as well as help his father out of his depression, or will he lose his chance at a scholarship and his dreams? Driven to succeed, he has to do whatever it takes with no hate in his heart.

BEING BROTHERS

BEING BROTHERS by [Mike DeLucia]

If you’re looking for a heartfelt coming of age story, you should definitely read Mike DeLucia’s Being Brothers. This book takes readers through the life of Jackie, an 11-year old boy growing up in the Bronx in the 70s. It specifically focuses on his relationship with his brother Sal and how their mutual love for baseball brought them together.

The fact that the brothers’ story is told as a screenplay written by Mark Marino, a writer who digs into his own life to birth the character that is Jackie, makes it even more intriguing. The story within a story narrative allows us to be in a unique position where we are both an insider and an outsider, creating an intimacy that is hard to replicate.

Moreover, the author’s knowledge of baseball is so vast that the game scenes could be mistaken for real-life events. But if there is something that truly warms the heart, it is the part of the story where Jackie realizes that despite appearances, his brother always had his back, from birth in fact. Needless to say, this story has a strong family theme to it, with the love and comfort of Jackie’s being at the foundation of the narrative.

The book also succeeds in bringing to life the realities of male bonding and friendships, especially those formed in childhood. With the 70s as a backdrop, it almost feels like this narrative was set in simpler, sweeter times. The music titles the author adds to his scenes also add a subtle realism to them.

Honestly, the only minor thing I could complain about would be that sometimes the jump from scene dialogue to prose can be disorienting especially when Jackie is in dialogue. The jump between Jackie talking in the first person and then referring to himself in the third person is a little odd.

Otherwise, Being Brothers is extremely well written and easy to read. Moreover, the perspective of Mark Marino adds a layer of reality that many writers can relate to. For instance, when he catches his own grammatical errors and talks about all the rules that govern writing, he pulls any writer in. Ultimately, the author has done a great job at making us care about Mark and Jackie and even clearly see the Jackie in Mark.

Being Brothers is an thoroughly entertaining story that expertly integrates sports in a compelling coming of age story with a literary prowess that only author Mike DeLucia can pull off.

Pages: 162 | ASIN: B08LGJB71H

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The Conman: A Baseball Odyssey

The Conman by Mike Murphey is based on a true story of the life of professional baseball player, Keith Comstock. The story follows Conor Nash a professional baseball player. His sole mission in life is to pitch in the major leagues. He has been released from his baseball contracts ten times within his 16 year career. After being forced to retire due to an injury he is not able to recognize the person he has become. He goes on a journey to discover who he is now that he can no longer pitch.

Mike Murphey has done a fantastic job portraying the life of a professional baseball player and the struggles they deal with. You begin to understand Conor and his tenacious attitude towards baseball. Conor has gone through so many challenges from being fired, dismissed, kicked off the team, traded multiple times but he still persevered. The portrayal of Conor’s wife Kate is admirable, she is a strong and loving woman and supported Conor throughout his baseball career. The author seamlessly switched between third person narration to first person. Murphey displays his sophisticated writing skills by smoothly transitioning between a memory and what was going on in the present.

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball to truly appreciate this story. The dialogue is funny and witty and keeps you entertained from beginning to end. Not only does the author discuss the obstacles that Conor went through he also brings forth Conor’s accomplishments. You are taken on an emotional roller coaster right alongside Conor. At times I did get frustrated with some of the decisions Conor made but I was still rooting for him.

The Conman is a witty, complicated and inspiring read that gives the reader hope that no matter what you are going through in life, if you never give up, you will reach your dream.

Pages: 379 | ASIN: B07ZJNDSHD

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