Baseball, gratis

We went to a Nationals game yesterday afternoon, our first game at Nats Park (thank you to Angie, my generous neighbor and loyal reader, for the tickets!). The Nats won! They always do when Leo goes to the game; it's been five games now, and counting.  I hope we make it to a few more this summer; the Nats could use his help.  And Milly likes to run the bases after the game.

free%20baseball.jpgEven though we didn't have to pay for our tickets (thanks again, Angie! We had a great time), this wasn't free baseball. That's a term for "a game that gives fans more than they technically paid for--extra innings or the second game of a doubleheader," as defined by Sue Corbett in her middle grade novel Free Baseball (Dutton, 2006).  I checked this book out of the library for Leo and I to read together because it's about baseball (obviously), and because the main character, eleven-year-old Little League player Felix Piloto, is Cuban-American (so am I).  I was hoping it would give us more than we technically paid for--more, that is, than just baseball.  And it does; it's a fine novel about Felix's search for the truth about his father, a famous baseball player in Cuba, that also deals with the immigrant experience in general and the situation in Cuba in particular (where nothing, including baseball, is free).  It was well-reviewed by Jen Robinson and Camille at BookMoot.

N.b., I was bothered by the mistakes in the Spanish words and phrases that appear in the book and its glossary.  Some mistakes were idiomatic, others grammatical.  In a few cases the constructions were just too formal.  But each time I came across one, I lost confidence in the story and in Corbett's otherwise sensitive telling of it.  It's true that most readers won't know Spanish, let alone the Cuban dialect, but I don't think that's an excuse for getting it wrong.  Free Baseball deserves better.

Next up:  Mike Lupica's Heat.  Baseball book recommendations most welcome!