Rave Reviews Log: Sports Stories

May 18, 2010

The Batboy

By Mike Lupica
Rating: 3 3/4 stars
Sport: Baseball

Brian is thrilled to get his dream job at the age of 14--being batboy for the summer for the Detroit Tigers.  It even leaves him enough time to play in his baseball league's travel team.  Brian's mom is a little less thrilled since his dad, a one-time major league pitcher, had left the family to follow his career and she isn't excited about Brian becoming absorbed by the sport, too.  Then even more exciting news happens--Brian's all-time favorite player, the aging Hank Bishop, the superstar hitter, is back on the Tigers as a designated hitter.  Okay, so maybe Hank had been caught up in the steroids scandal, and maybe he didn't quite have the same slugging percentages, but him being back on the Tigers had to be great, didn't it?  But Brian has a rude awakening when his hometown hero wants nothing to do with him.  And Hank's hitting seems to be in a real slump.  Is there anything a humble batboy and an end of his rope player could have in common to spark a comeback?  There aren't many surprises in this story, and Lupica pulls out enough stops to start the waterworks flowing at the end, but the real strength is the behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the clubhouse and dugout, and the solid characters.  Sports fans, especially of Lupica's other books, will find plenty to make them happy in this solid baseball outing.


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