Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Play Ball! (Fenway Fever)

Ritter, John H. Fenway Fever.
Philomel, 12 April 2012

"Stats" Pagano has a life that is closely tied to the fortunes of the Boston REd Sox. His grandfather started a hot dog stand (Papa Pagano's Red Sox Red Hots) and had two season tickets which he gave to Stats' father, who now runs the stand. The Sox are not doing well, and people are afraid that the "Curse of the Bambino" has returned. Stats takes it upon himself to try to figure out if there is something about the stadium or stadium atmosphere that might lead to a bad season, and seeks out information from several people, one of whom thinks that the curse might be tied to the rats in the stadium and the hawks (or lack thereof) brought in to keep down the population. In addition to trying to break the curse, Stats has his own problems-- he has always had a weak heart, and needs a pacemaker, and his father is in a huge amount of debt since the death of his mother. His father's answer to the problem is to sell the hot dog stand and the season tickets, but Stats doesn't want that to happen. Can he figure out how to solve his family's problems AND the problems of the Red Sox?
Strengths: This book had a ton of local color. I don't follow baseball, but this book clearly portrays a neighborhood where baseball is everything. It almost makes me want to go to a baseball game. There is also enough baseball and baseball lore to keep sports fans interested.
Weaknesses: While the solution to Stats' family problems in very heart warming, it's also a tad deus ex machina.

Adamson, Thomas K. Baseball: The Math of the Game.
I must admit that I was able to follow neither the math of this book nor the baseball. A whole lot of math is covered, from the geometry of the field and angles of... stuff to numbers of earned runs and other statistics. Will give this to our algebra teacher to read to see what he thinks. Can't opine on content, and my only wish about format is that the print weren't so tiny. Lots of pictures of players and stadiums, so is otherwise visually appealing

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